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This is Hodgson's best work, or so critics generally agree. His creation, Carnacki, arrogant, cynical, rude and opinionated, is the most memorable character in his books.
The stories themselves are a mix of detective stories, where fake ghosts and hauntings are uncovered, and some truly horrifying stories of real ghosts. Hodgson is not a major literary figure, but these stories will live on for the sheer force of his imagination.
Imagine a world where government and society as we know it has gone. A place where money no longer exists - instead people trade in kudos, the amount of kudos someone has determining their status and influence. Imagine the dreams of open source communities and community driven projects (such as Mozilla or Wikipedia) stretching across society - where even businesses like Disney are taken over by adhoc communities running the park for the love of it (and the whuffie.) Where death is curable by simple backup.
Cory Doctorow invites the reader to explore such a world. Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom is such a story. And as surreal as it may sound, he draws you in. Murder, revenge, underhanded deeds and tiredness with the world dominate this story.
It is at the same time lighthearted and a somewhat dark reflection on life and the human condition. Take the chance and read it, you might be surprised.
It may sound strange, but this was one of the best books I have read in a long time. With a title like, "Snarleyyow", I was somewhat mislead. For starters, the book is so well written. It reminded me of the type of sea stories that Rafael Sabatini does so well. This book is filled with adventure, treachery, and a good mix of humor. Snarlyyow, the dog, a cur, is the focal point the story revolves around. He belongs to the captain of the Yang Frau, a British cutter that regular sails between Portsmith and Amsterdam. Of course, the captain loves Snarlyyow, but the dog is disfavored by the crew. The crew schemes to get rid of Snarlyyow, but every attempt to do so ends in failure. Of course, the Captain is greatly angered at the crew for this and he plots revenge on the crew members.
Now this is only part of the story and there are many other exciting things going on. There is much treachery as the captain is tricked into committing treason against the king, Willian of Orange, and he ends doing the bidding of the followers of exiled King James. But I don't want to give away the story so I will leave it at that, but just know there are many amazing twists in this wonderful book.
This book is not to be missed. It is as good as it gets, and so funny. I am thinking you will be glad you found it, too.
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