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Reviews by Dara

Move Under Ground

by Nick Mamatas

Despite the summary atop this page, Move Under Ground isn't a parody, so if you're looking for a sendup, you won't find it here. The conceit of the novel arguably lends itself to that misinterpretation, but set that aside, and read Move Under Ground for the book it is, rather than the book one might assume it to be from a casual glance at the summary. When you do, you'll find a nicely-constructed novel written in Kerouac's voice, invoking the Cthulhu mythos as both overt plot actor describing an encroachment of the Old Ones into the universe we know, and as metaphorical plot actor describing the collapse of both Beat culture in general and of Jack Kerouac personally. The story is one of deeply personal tragedy and sacrifice exactly as much as it is about cosmic horror; block out either story with preconceived notions, and you've read less than half the novel.

In short, there's quite a bit more going on than you might expect for a slim volume like this - so much so that it's one of the very small number of books I've purchased in paper form (pre-Creative Commons hardback release) more than once in order that I could give copies to friends. So give this one a go; it's interesting, and you won't have wasted your time.

Reviewed on 2009.01.13

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Elin Barnes
Elin Barnes has done many different things in her life, like being a flight instructor, working for a criminal appeals lawyer and working for many big name technology companies in Silicon Valley (Microsoft, Google etc.). But the one thing that she never thought would actually happen is to write (and finish) a book. Her debut novel, Justification for Murder, has, in the meantime, earned rave reviews and grown into a series. As our author of the day, Barnes reveals why she picked Silicon Valley as the backdrop, her inspiration behind writing a biomedical thriller and how she went for ride-alongs with the San Jose Police Department.
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