Kirkus Star


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Wildly original first novel encyclopedically merging the superfuture with shadowy Forties film noir actors and rainy camerawork. Yggdrasil, the World Tree of Eddic myth, is now an artificial intelligence so powerful that it runs mankind as the Dream. But Yggdrasil has been invaded by Truro Daine, a master criminal and hacker who has created a cancerous dream in Yggdrasil called the City. Still only a pinprick in the flank of a whale, the City--with Truro Daine as its God--is gobbling away at Yggdrasil. Famous dreamwriter Susan Bishopric, whose dream romance Vanessa Vail is up for a Rodney, is sent into the City to join forces with fellow writer Tom Tunney, creator of the Richie Quick detective series, and wipe out Truro Daine. The City is peopled with mugs like Mike Mazurki and Dan Duryea; cabbie Elisha Cook, Jr.; thuggish Chief of Detectives Barton MacLane; good-natured bumbler Ralph Bellamy; Gloria Grahame and songbirds Julie London and Cleo Laine (backed by the Ramones); and archvillain Otto Kruger, who runs a psychic scare at the Temple of Turhan Bey--while Edward G. Robinson strangles Joan Bennett with a string of pearls, Jimmy Cagney lies bleeding to death in a running gutter, and little Mickey Rooney hawks the news on every comer. In the City you can kiss tomorrow goodbye. Tunney, as Richie Quick, thinks totally in Chandlerese; but Susan is the genius. Although the City is Truro Daine's dream, Richie and Susan have free will within it and create their own dreams and dreamware as they track down Daine. Who died. Is the dead Daine now the ever-present falling rain and alive in each raindrop? Is he the telephone wires? Well, before dying, he was the City's Night Mayor, but now he's Barton MacLane, for a while, and smashing Richie Quick into ketchup pulp throughout densely imagined dreamgambits and antigambits where spilled shotglasses refill instantly and gunshots never kill. Great fun in high style--but may Newman's next strive for real blood.

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 1990
Publisher: Carroll & Graf