The Oversight: conspiracies, magic, and the end of the world
The clever blendings of history and imagination in Charlie Fletcher's new novel are satisfying enough to make resolution of its loose ends worth waiting for, writes Cory Doctorow
The Oversight, Charlie Fletcher's new novel, ships today. It's a dark and glinting book set in Victorian London, a fat and aggressively readable novel about a secret society -- the Oversight -- charged with the policing of all the magical and supranatural (yes, supranatural) elements of Britain. The Oversight are nearly extinguished, having collapsed in a great Disaster a generation before, and now they may be at their final moment.
Fletcher's alternate Britain is a perfectly creepy and mysterious place, where conspiracies nest within conspiracies and haints and grotesque monsters lurk in the hedgerows and the shadows and the gables, abetted by lunatic scientists, cruel witchfinders-turned-solicitors, circus showmen, and other romantic and sinister persons.
It's full of clever blendings of real history and imaginary embellishments, of artifacts that sound real but aren't and artifacts you'd swear were made up but turn out to be real. It's beautifully researched, and told in a kind of compelling and hypnotic poesie that I just lapped up.
In The Oversight, the world is on the verge of ending, though most people don't know it. The hordes of cruel, magical beings, pushed to the brink by burgeoning modernization, are ready to devour humanity and all its works. All it takes is for the greedy and ignorant normals out there to abet their work, and the Oversight will drop below its critical strength and vanish.
It's the first volume in a series and it has a very satisfyingly frustrating ratio of loose ends tied off to loose ends left flapping. I'll certainly be reading the next one.
It’s been seven years since we previewed Theft: A History of Music, a comic book that explains the complicated history of music, borrowing, control and copyright, created by a dynamic duo of witty copyright law professors from Duke University as a followup to the greatest law-comic ever published: the book was due out years ago, but the untimely and tragic death of illustrator Keith Aoki delayed it — until today.
The fabulous Shelly Bond, former DC Vertigo editor and head honcho, just launched a kickstarter for an anthology called Femme Magnifique that she’s doing in conjunction with Kristy and Brian Miller at HiFi Color.
The Science Fiction Writers of America has released the ballot for this year’s Nebula awards, nominated for and voted upon by the organization’s members; the ballot lists novellas, short stories, novelettes, YA novels (the Andre Norton award), dramatic presentations (the Bradbury award), and novels — including two debut novels I reviewed in 2016: Nisi Shawl’s […]
Although there will never be a consensus about the best way to make coffee, any coffee connoisseur will agree that controlling the grind of your beans and balancing water temperature are the keys to a tasty cup. Since your plastic coffee pot doesn’t really allow for that kind of customization, going back to the French […]
Not all hackers are malicious information thieves—white-hat ethical hackers work with technology companies to ensure the security of their computer systems and user data. With all of today’s high-profile data breaches, ethical hackers are in considerable demand. To learn these critical skills and break into the high-paying cyber security field, try taking the courses in this […]
Making people aware of goods and services in the digital age requires an array of new strategies from social media and email to number-crunching tools like Google Analytics. To get a handle on the techniques used to capture attention and convert traffic into dollars in a crowded online environment, the Full-Stack Marketer Bundle offers 22 hours of training to get […]