Mark Henry and I share an editor at Kensington and while I've never read any "urban fantasy," Henry's debut Happy Hour of the Damned just seemed too intriguing to pass up. (Lucky bastard has a deal with Showtime and part of me wanted to know just what the fuss was about.)
Amanda Feral (no symbolism there) is a recent revenant (zombi(e), undead, ghoul, etc.) trying to make it in Seattle's crazy undead scene. Amanda parties, dresses like she's going to a Sex in the City wake and chows down on human viscera. But life isn't all fun and grisly games, there's a evil(er) force at work -- something epic, diabolical -- that has everyone in undead Seattle freaked. I should mention that we're not just talking zombies here. Succubus? Yeah. Werewolf? Why not? Vampire? Of course.
There is no line Henry is unafraid to cross. The man leaps around like Spring Heeled Jack -- when you think he's outdone himself, turn the page you'll be stunned with what he comes up with next. He also packs the novel to the brim with all manner of assorted information, ephemera, jetsam, etc. There are footnotes, quotes from fictional books, drink recipes, DJ set lists -- the style is an intriguing mash-up of semantic game and fashionista manifesto. I love that Henry let's his freak flag fly.
In the end, the plot comes together a bit haphazardly but it actually fits with Henry's convulsive style. Amanda was a bit too bitchy for my tastes, perhaps all supernatural vixens in urban fantasy are snarky to the hilt? But that wasn't the appeal for me in the first place. I was there for the monster melees and Henry certainly delivers in spades. He also crafts a funky and downright atmospheric undead Seattle that’s quite grounded and (despite the apparitional subject matter) gritty.
Clever, bloody, funny, Happy Hour of the Damned is a whip-crack ride into a sexy underworld. This will appeal to a lot of people and I can see why Showtime snapped it up.
Saturday, February 09, 2008
Pinball warriors vs. Space Invaders. From 1982, this played on HBO's Short Takes between films. It is the ending segment of a 25 min British doc on video games by Mike Wallington. The doc revolves around two game champs - Geoff Harvey (pinball) and Stephen Highfield (Space Invaders). They argue and at the end it comes to life in animation. Great synthy arcade music.
Here is a longer version with more of the documentary bits: