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.
On the infrequent occasion I am asked for life advice I refer folks to Mr. T: The Man with the Gold: An Autobiography. It has all the answers.
There’s still time to pre-order your signed first-edition hardcover of Walkaway, my novel which comes out on April 25 (US/UK), and while you’re waiting for that to ship, here’s chapter one of the novel, “Communist Party” (this is read by Wil Wheaton on the audiobook, where he is joined by such readers as Amanda Palmer […]
There’s 25 stops in all on the US/Canada tour for WALKAWAY, my next novel, an “optimistic disaster novel” that comes out on April 25 (more stops coming soon, as well as publication of my UK tour).
The Lightning port has thus far resisted the cruel fate that befell the headphone jack, and despite rumors that it may be disappearing come iPhone 8, for the present and foreseeable future, Lightning cables are a hot commodity for iPhone users. As such, we must make do in this strange time in which long, glorified […]
All the filters in the world won’t save your smartphone pics from a shaky hand. To really step up your mobile photography game, you’ll need some kind of mount to hold it steady. You could buy a smartphone attachment for a conventional camera tripod, but who wants to carry that kind of gear everywhere they […]
The forced transition from analog to digital TV signals was probably met with relative indifference from people with Netflix subscriptions and the “I don’t even own a TV” snoots. But anyone living in the vast swaths of the country that don’t have guaranteed high-speed internet, broadcast TV is a perfectly valid (and 100% free) way […]