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Billy Moon Hardcover – August 27, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (August 27, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765321726
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765321725
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,466,507 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Lain proves himself adept at dramatizing such decidedly non-whimsical matters as autism, parent-child estrangement, and the quest for individual identity amidst political upheaval. (James Morrow, author of The Last Witchfinder)

The mark of great writing is how it seeps into your everyday life without you even noticing and becomes part of your reality. This book is all about that spooky, enchanted place between fictions and worlds, and it will seep into your reality too. (McKenzie Wark, author of A Hacker Manifesto)

Doug Lain's genius is somehow both uniquely American and international in flavor--alienated, obsessive, strange and touching all at the same time. The surreal emotional landscapes he explores in Billy Moon are simply astonishing. (M.K .Hobson, author of the Nebula Award finalist novel The Native Star)

"Douglas Lain has a great brain. I am hugely impressed with his prospects..." (Jonathan Lethem, New York Times bestselling author)

I don't know anyone else doing quite what Lain is doing; fascinating work, moving, strikingly honest, powerful. (Locus)

Doug Lain's Billy Moon is postmodern SF, powering past mere science and into a cubist world of strange. It's a mash-up of Phil Dick, Francoise Sagan, and Winnie the Pooh, with a jaded Christopher Robin at the heart of the 1968 Paris student revolution. Billy Moon is moving and profound, with a radically evanescent style. Just the thing for our new century. (Rudy Rucker, author of the WARE Tetralogy)

Billy Moon is a beautifully told story gathering within its pages the original Christopher Robin, the Paris strikes of May 1968, the power of dreams, Guy DeBord and children's toys. In Mr. Lain's hands this unexpected and truly remarkable combination works in ways I'd not have imagined. Highly recommended! (Jack Womack, author of Elvissey)

Doug Lain melts reality into this compelling, complex novel of the year the political got personal and the personal got weird. 1968 is today. Read it. (Eileen Gunn, Nebula award-winning author)

Douglas Lain makes his desires literature. Billy Moon whips the Spectacle into amusing shapes, shaking out cultural icons, political renegades, philosophical bomb throwers, and time-tripping love bandits. In a world ruled by lies, fiction is a basic truth. What better time to turn words into revolution? (Dennis Perrin, author of Savage Mules: The Democrats and Endless War and Mister Mike: The Man Who Made Comedy Dangerous)

About the Author

DOUGLAS LAIN's short fiction has appeared in many magazines and journals here and abroad. Since 2009, he has produced the weekly podcast Diet Soap, interviewing a wide range of fascinating, engaging people with insights for the new millennium: philosophers, mystics, economists, and a diverse group of fiction writers. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and children.

Customer Reviews

It almost felt like it was each chapter or vignette.
fredamans
I said on Twitter that this was not only the best new genre novel I've read in a few years, it's the best new novel, period.
Robert N. Lee
I hope that posting my honest reaction qualifies, even if it's not in the traditional review format.
Kriti Godey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kriti Godey on September 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover
BILLY MOON is Douglas Lain's debut novel, and it's one of the most original fantasies I've read recently. We follow an alternate version of the grown Christopher Robin Milne, who is still coping with the fame thrust upon him by the success of Winnie the Pooh. Things aren't helped by the fact that he occasionally runs into things that are just plain impossible, and his son has been diagnosed with autism. As he struggles to connect with his son and make sense of his life in, he receives an invitation to Paris from student Gerrard Hand to join the May 1968 protests. The ensuing events form the meat of this book.

I had the constant feeling that I was missing something while reading BILLY MOON, but I also had the suspicion that this feeling was what the author intended me to feel. The themes of the book make sense, the prose is lyrical and flows beautifully, the magical realism is expertly done - sometimes delighting, but often frightening. If you're expecting a linear story where you know exactly what's going on, or even which reality you're on... this is not the book for you. I was left with a whole bunch of confusion at the end, but even though I was confused, at no point did I actually want to stop reading the book.

I wasn't quite sure whether I should even attempt a review of BILLY MOON, since I don't really have a clear verdict on it. I hope that posting my honest reaction qualifies, even if it's not in the traditional review format. I did read other reviews, and they seem universally glowing (I was tempted to write a similarly glowing one myself rather than admit to not quite getting everything in it), so I'd definitely recommend giving it a shot!

I plan to do a reread in a few months to see if I can get more from it, though, and I'll update this review when I do!
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Robert N. Lee on August 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Billy Moon is one of those rare...not just books, works of any art that...is perfect.

I don't know how to begin describing it, exactly, beyond what you'll be able to read in cover and promo text and, I assume, in piles of glowing reviews forthcoming. It's about Christopher Robin Milne, yes that Christopher Robin, and how much he came to hate his father's work and how he figured in it. It's about an alternate world version of that Christopher Robin. It's about Situationism and The Spectacle. It's about not hating Winnie-the-Pooh. It's about Paris 1968. It's about Young Love and Old Love. It's somewhere on the fantasy spectrum between The Man Who Was Thursday and Gabriel Garcia Marquez: there is allegory, here, there are messages, there is magic, none of it asserts itself and yells at you.

This is a novel that isn't so much about magic as it is magic itself. I said on Twitter that this was not only the best new genre novel I've read in a few years, it's the best new novel, period. I meant it. You will be the poorer for it if you don't read Billy Moon. There aren't many things in life I'd say anything that bold for.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are looking for a book of "faction"(a novel based on the biography of someone) on Christopher Robin Milne, the son of Winnie-the-Pooh creator A.A. Milne, this is not the book. Although some facts of Christopher Robin's real life are woven in here (and some turned upside down), it is not frequently germane to this surreal labyrinth, a unique story of identity, dreams, reality, and time. It isn't just "Who am I?" but, more, "Who am I", relative to a personal and social world in flux, and a life trying to forge an identity outside of a character in your father's books. This tender, compassionate, genre-bending novel is more imagination than a re-imagining. History, childhood, philosophy, revolution, memories, dreams, identity --and the memories and history that fold up in time--that is what this story is about.

In Part 1, we are introduced to Christopher Robin, his wife, Abby, and his autistic son, Daniel (in truth, Christopher had a daughter with cerebral palsy). The title Billy Moon comes from Christopher's childhood nickname. As an adult, he owns a minor bookstore in Dartmouth, England, but he is loathe to sell Winnie-the Pooh-books. As a child, he was mercilessly teased about being Christopher Robin. He desperately seeks liberation from the fake Christopher Robin that his father created. In 1959, he is 38, and at a crossroads of purpose. He takes long walks and straddles the line between reality and fantasy, where, for example, a stuffed cat becomes animate. In 1961, a poster mysteriously appears in his store, with Pooh as a symbol of protest against the French authorities, of a Paris uprising six years into the future, 1968. Between the poster and a letter from a Parisian college student named Gerrard Hand, Christopher is compelled to take his family on a trip to Paris.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sandra Kirkland VINE VOICE on November 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Billy Moon follows the life of a grown-up Christopher Robin Milne, better known as the little boy in the Winnie the Pooh books. While his father made him famous with the books, as Christopher grew to an adult, he found himself disconnected from life and the expectations others had of him. They didn't see him as he was in reality; they saw the little boy from the books and expected him to be the same. When he was a small child, he called himself Billy Moon. As a man, he was married and ran a bookstore. This quote from the book demonstrates his remoteness from the life he led:

"Christopher had received scores of fan letters since he's opened the bookshop. Six-year-olds wrote him to ask about his bear. Adults who'd read his father's books when they were young wrote to ask the same questions. Everyone wanted pretty much the same thing, and Christopher couldn't give any answers. He didn't know how to find the Hundred Acre Wood, and he didn't know where childhood went to over the years, or why it was so difficult to feel real joy. He threw almost all of the letters away because they weren't for him at all, but were rally addressed to a boy Christopher's father had made up."

Gerrard Hand was a young revolutionary student in Paris. In 1968, he writes to Chris (as Christopher chose to be named) and asked him to come to France. Chris isn't sure why, but makes the journey. He arrives just in time to be caught up in the student revolution of 1968, where schools, factories and government offices are taken over by the students, who wish to create a more liberated world. Chris gets caught up in the revolution, almost by accident, and it allows him to define the difference between reality and expectation in his own life.
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