Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Review: Marco and the Red Granny

Since they say a writer should read as well as write, I thought maybe I'd drop the occasional review of what I've been reading here. So here's one-

Marco and the Red Granny by podcaster and writer Mur Lafferty (http://www.murversre.com/ and the excellent I Should Be Writing podcast), was serialized on the Hub, a weekly(ish) sci-fi broadcast. It’s also short, and easily read in a day or so. None of that is to say it’s a bad story. Far from it.

The Marco in the title is a down on his luck graphic artist and writer. Much of the artistic content being produced is under the control of aliens based on the Moon. They have developed a way of integrating art and sensory experience. So it is possible to now have a dress that makes you taste apple pie, or a sculpture that encompasses the plot of a story. The aliens have resurrected the practice of artistic patronage, bringing various artists from Earth to the Ride Lunar Base to help them create. Marco’s ex-girlfriend accepted one such patronage and left him for it. One morning, Marco gets the call that he, too, has been chosen for a patronage. He sets off for the Moon, and on the way meets the Red Granny, an older woman who is the reigning star of a bloody, to the death reality fight show. Once he arrives on the Moon, Marco soon discovers that the coveted artistic patronages are not what they might seem, and that everyone, the Red Granny included, has secrets.

The story is interesting, with a neat take on alien invasion. If you’re looking for space battles and laser cannons, you won’t find it here. But the danger is no less threatening. There is some violence, though it is fairly minor. The characters are well-drawn, especially the Red Granny, who, although not the main character, is probably the most interesting. The aliens are alien, and enigmatic, and dangerous, a good combination in aliens. The plot kept my interest, with enough twists and a surprise or two to keep it moving along.

This was the first thing I purchased for my new Kindle, and it was a good choice.

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