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The Devil's Alphabet Paperback – November 24, 2009
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About the Author
More About the Author
His first novel, PANDEMONIUM, appeared from Del Rey Books in 2008 and won the Crawford Award for 2009. It was also a finalist for several other awards, including the Shirley Jackson Award and the World Fantasy Award. It's a romp that takes in Jungian archetypes, superheroes, and demonic possession.
His second novel, 2009's THE DEVIL'S ALPHABET published by Del Rey Books, was named one of the best books of the year by Publisher's Weekly and was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award. The novel combines murder, quantum evolution, and religion in a small mountain town.
RAISING STONY MAYHALL, his third novel, also from Del Rey Books, appeared in 2011. It was named one of the best SF books of the year by Library Journal. It's a coming of age tale about the most polite living dead boy you'd ever want to meet.
Many of his stories are collected in UNPOSSIBLE AND OTHER STORIES, which was published by Fairwood Press in 2011. The collection named one of the best books of the year from Publisher's Weekly. Most of those stories appeared in Asimov's, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and a variety of "year's best" anthologies and foreign editions. His story "Second Person, Present Tense" won the Asimov's Readers' Choice Award and was a Sturgeon finalist. The stories run the gamut from neuroscience to religion to superheroes.
Daryl lives in State College, Pennsylvania with his wife, a couple of teenagers, and a passive-aggressive dog. He's online at darylgregory.com.
Top Customer Reviews
I found something from Gregory himself in an interview he gave to Locus Magazine, and not surprisingly it describes the book well:
START QUOTE "I turned in my second novel, and it's totally unrelated to Pandemonium. Instead of a fantasy that feels like science fiction, it's a hard SF book that feels like fantasy. It's got a working title of Oh, You Pretty Things, a riff on the David Bowie song. It's about quantum evolution running wild in a tiny Tennessee mountain town. I'm calling it a Southern Gothic/science fiction/murder mystery." END QUOTE
I would've rather seen Gregory's suggested title and a less creepy-looking cover for the book, because I think that would have portrayed the book more accurately (plus, David Bowie). There is definitely enough suspense in the book (its biggest mystery is a whodunnit), but it isn't a fast-paced thriller, and it comes across much more charming than it does frightening. Yet its premise is a sufficiently weird SF/F one, and I mean that as a compliment. It's not a story with nice shades of grey.
The book reads like a rich literary work, especially, I think, toward the beginning. As the book goes along, I thought the pace picked up some and there is a bit less description.Read more ›
I was expecting a sci-fi/horror story, but I was surprised to discover that Daryl Gregory's second novel is really neither of these things. Sure, it's sci-fi in that the story takes place in an alternate reality with some pretty fantastic characters unlike anything I've ever encountered. But beneath all that, The Devil's Alphabet reads more like a gothic southern mystery akin to something Charlaine Harris might dream up.
The plot is too complicated and rich to sum up effectively in a short review, but here's it in a nutshell: Paxton Martin is the prodigal son returning to his hometown of Switchcreek, Tenn. to attend his childhood best friend's funeral. But Switchcreek is not your average small town --it's the site of the TDS crisis, an unexplained epidemic that swept through the community 15 years ago and left 30 percent of the town dead, and nearly everyone else changed in some way. His best friend, Deke is an "argo" -- the result of the first wave of the disease, which left people gray-skinned, sterile and more than 8-feet tall. His friend Jo, recently deceased, was turned into a beta -- the spontaneously-breeding, bald, burgundy-skinned victims of the second wave of the disorder. Paxton's father, Harlan -- a former pastor -- is a "charlie" -- the morbidly obese clade that emerged in the final stage of the Changes.Read more ›
The emphasis placed upon the premise meanwhile overshadows other aspects like character and plot. These aspects do still exist, of course: Pax rides the edge of antihero, making him at once deeply flawed and sympathetic, and the distinctly human, uniquely alien individuals and societies of Switchcreek offer significant interest and depth; together, this makes for a strong cast of characters. The plot, built on the mystery of Pax's friend's death, is solid but unremarkable. It goes through the motions of beginning, middle, and end; the problem comes when the plot ends and the mystery of the premise, which has capitalized the reader's attention, continues.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is an interesting idea, but the awkwardnesson top of awkwardness gets in the way of the character's stories. As a result, I didn't really care about any of the characters. Read morePublished 5 months ago by SKI
I'm convinced that Daryl Gregory is a warlock. His protagonist, Pax, is very difficult to like; he's uncomfortable, passive, and an addict, but if you can resonate with him like I... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Kit M
This is more of a drama than anything else. Loved Pandemonium. The idea is not bad but the book takes it to the wrong direction for me. The characters are depressed and sad. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Nati M.
This isn't brilliantly written, but the ideas are fresh and the book is quite entertaining. The author also does a good job of capturing the flavor of East Tennessee and the... Read morePublished 13 months ago by PJ
This book was very odd in the beginning, but one I got into the odd characters I was hooked. I recommend this book to anyone who does not have a problem imagining things that are... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Frank
I loved Raising Stony Mayhall and purchased this book on a recommendation from Frank Ignagni III, who wrote the highly entertaining Riding the Apocalypse. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
I loved Pandemonium so I decided to give this book a try. The story line is definitely original but doesn't flow as easily as Gregory's first book did. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Ronni Copeland