Teaser Tuesday: “The Gone-Away World”

So this week I was reading The Gone-Away World, by Nick Harkaway:

Not to be confused with the Offspring song

Now apparently The Gone-Away World takes place after some manner of apocalypse occurred, known as the Go-Away War, which seems to have involved corruptions to people and animals, and after which human civilization is confined to a narrow band of terrain surrounding a world-straddling pipeline that delivers and emits some sort of, uh, chemical, I guess, that keeps the corruption at bay. The book starts out with the narrator and his group of let’s call them roughnecks being called to respond to a leak and subsequent fire along the pipeline, then immediately jumps into an extended flashback of How We Got Here wherein the main character is five years old, thereafter following him through his martial arts training, during which he learns Secrets (maybe):

“No,” Master Wu says now, “there are no Secrets. None at all. Would you like me to teach you one?”

“One what?”

“A Secret.”

Nick Harkaway, The Gone-Away World

Because of the extended flashback, we don’t find out immediately what the Go-Away War entailed, but we do find out eventually. I won’t explain what it was, because, in my opinion, that would involve

and I don’t generally truck in spoilers around here*; but I will say that I was expecting something along the lines of invaders from another dimension, and it turned out to be a lot more interesting than that.

Speaking of Secrets, another one is the existence of vampires, which is relevant because the Gods of Randomness for this post decreed that the teaser from one of my own books should come from Long Before Dawn:

It’s always darkest …

Now Long Before Dawn was of course infamously (around here, anyway) categorized as “vampire-busters” in a rejection letter from an agent who thought it should be more like Interview with the Vampire. But my vampires don’t do the whole “oh we’re so tormented poor us we hate being vampires” thing. They do the “let’s have human blood for dinner and like it” thing. (Note however that the people in the following dialog excerpt are not vampires, at least, not at this point in the story; they’re actually just discussing getting together for dinner, with no murdering of humans involved.)

“Listen, why don’t you and Irving come over for dinner tonight?  I’ll invite Barry, and you can get to know each other.”

“I thought you were going to the movies.”

“You can come along.”

“Ha.  You know what Irving thinks of Hollywood.  Anyway, Barry isn’t going to want to hang around with your friends on your first date.  I can’t believe you want to.”

“It’ll be fun.”

“Fun.  Right.”  Ryan looked at her for several long seconds, then said:  “Well, if you’re sure.”

“I’m sure.  I want you to meet him.  In person, I mean.”

“Okay.  Just dinner, though.  For the movie, you’re on your own.”

“We can handle that.”

“Mm.  I’ll be judging him, of course.”

“Of course.  Why do you think I want you to meet him?”

James V. Viscosi, Long Before Dawn

Funnily enough, despite being “vampire-busters”, this book is my highest rated on Goodreads. Of course, it only has four ratings, which probably explains it. The more people read your book, the more likely someone is to hate it. (We won’t get into its single two-star rating over on Amazon.com …)

* Except for ones involving Timothee Chalamet’s hair of course.

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