Dark Matter, by Brett Adams (40:00)


Today I am reminded that when the writing is really good, you find evidence of it on almost every page.

What I gleaned about the story: All Rasputin T. Lowdermilk wanted to give himself was a “beautiful suicide,” but what he got instead was a violent head injury and a constellation of freakish new abilities. And he’s going to have to figure them out quickly, because now that he wants to live, somebody out there is trying to kill him.

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Kudos #1: A writer’s sentence

Details: Despite having read almost 250 IOD books now, it is surprising how seldom I come across passages that make me think, “Now that there is some fine writing.” Today’s adventure presented me with such prose on the very first page. The protagonist is planning his suicide, and we get this line: He would not so much shuffle off this mortal coil as sublimate from it.

As I said, I’m only on the first page, so I can’t be sure the quality will hold up, but finding something on page one to be delighted by is way better than finding a WTF there, so I forge on, bubbling now with hope.

Kudos #2: Great twists

Details: The story if fascinating and keeps taking me in entirely unexpected directions. With some stories, that’s bad, because the plot changes seem random and unrelated to what’s happened earlier. In this case, though, they’re unexpected, but once they’ve happened, they seem completely sensible. And if there’s one thing that makes a plot hold my attention, it’s surprises that don’t feel bolted on. I am completely enthralled.

Note: I am noting a more-than-casual occurrence of echoing headwords, but I’m so fascinated by what’s going on in the world that I’m too busy to pay them much heed.

Follow up: I finished the book the very next day, and all I can say is, “Wow.” This has everything I look for in fiction: intelligent ideas, surprising twists, mystery, and all delivered within a steady matrix of confident, evocative prose. I somehow feel smarter for having read it.

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About the author

Jefferson Smith is a Canadian fantasy author, as well as the founder, chief editor and resident proctologist of ImmerseOrDie. With a PhD in Computer Science and Creativity Systems compounded by a life spent exploring most art forms for fun and profit, he is underqualified in just about everything. That's why he writes.