Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Fictional Man - Al Ewing

Book Details

Book Title: The Fictional Man

Author: Al Ewing

: Solaris 2013

Source: Library

Page Count: 308

Format: Paperback

Genre: Fantasy/Science-Fiction

Audience: Those who enjoy pop culture and stories about identity.

Summed up in one word: Hypothetical!

First Impression: I fell victim to another awesome book cover. Thankfully what was contained within was worthwhile reading, which is always a bonus. The Fictional Man is a story of identity, neurosis and pop culture. I enjoyed my time within these wall and I related to the main character quite a bit as I am also an introvert who wishes he was more assertive!

Summary Of The Book:

Niles Golan is an author, he was a half decent one but now he is sliding away from the public view after sending out one embarrassing novel after another. Golan's main novel series is about Kurt Powers, an ex lawyer turned non-nonsense private investigator. After 17 novels under his belt Golan wants to revitalise his character on the big screen and in real life. Golan lives in a world where cloning technology exists and it is quite an established and almost common practice. Society rejects the idea of cloning real-life people as it would lead to problems and most likely increase crime rates. They do however believe that it would be acceptable to use this cloning ability to bring to life fictional characters. Golan wants to invigorate his career and his life by bringing Kurt Powers to real life to be his best friend and his meal ticket.

As Golan has let himself and his career slide he isn't able to just create Kurt Powers by himself, he needs a studio to fund the project and eventually his first movie. After approaching a studio he is offered a project, not the one he wants but he is led to believe that this may be the first step on the journey to a freshly made Kurt Powers. The project is to re-imagine his favourite childhood movie 'The Delicious Mr Doll', a cheesy parody of James Bond with the smuttiness and silliness turned up to 11. Armed with his incredibly introvert personality and his fictional friend Bob, Golan must get to the root of this movies origin and write a box office smash so he can get what he really wants.

Set in a world where pop culture literally walks the streets and the line between reality and fiction is blurred to the max, The Fictional Man is a fun, neurotic and odd novel that will make you question if you really want to meet some of your heroes or just leave them within the pages of your favourite book.

My Review:

The Fictional Man is a book that pulls a lot of separate concepts that appear across literature and pop culture and amalgamates them into an amusing, semi-complex story of a man's undoing. The author takes cloning, espionage, sex, internal monologues and fiction and splices them together, I enjoyed this book and not just because I am a dork just like Niles Golan...

First the positives...The story was original. I found the concept of an author chasing the origin of a story that has been so stretched, mangled and warped that you can't believe how the end result came about vastly enjoyable. Also the undoing of the introvert, uptight, dorkish and unpleasant Niles Golan was probably the best part of this book. The author set up this unbearable and frustrating character and then picked him apart slowly over the course of this episode and left him almost reborn. Niles is a funny character, he's a part of all of us at some point in our lives. He is the bad choices we make, the silly decisions and the internal voice we all wish we had the courage to fulfil (well myself at least). The other cast members all have their place and they add plenty to this story, Bob the fictional best friend who tries to settle the argument that 'Fictionals' are real people. The ex-wife who tests Golan every step of the way and makes him question himself. The various and absurd characters that make the reader smile or think WTF i.e his douche bag agent or the woman who pretends to be fictional. This book made me laugh!

Dislikes...there was not much I didn't like in this piece, it is not perfect by any means but I didn't find myself frustrated, bored or unchallenged. There were a few themes and parts that I did not find interesting, the whole no sex between Fictionals and real people was a bit phoney. The concept of cloning fictional characters is questionable but it was core element of the book so i embraced it. I found it hard to care about Niles to begin with, but once his character started to break apart I found myself rooting for him. This book is cheesy, disturbing and weird, but it is also charming and everyone can relate somehow.

The main themes included are identity, cloning, culture and humanity. The author conveyed these themes well and I think the only weak theme was the cloning, but cloning is always abused in books and television as it is a versatile and shady practice. The authors development was superb, I genuinely saw Golan change and peel of his undesirable characteristics and leave him as a blank slate, taking life one day at a time.

Overall The Fictional Man is a decent and highly readable piece of fiction that all fantasy or science fiction readers at least will appreciate. This novel is grimy, warped and a lot of fun!


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