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No Dogs in Philly: A Lovecraftian Cyberpunk Noir (Special Sin) (Volume 1) Paperback – August 10, 2014
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"This is one of the most enjoyable books I have read in some time. It is in the running for one of the top 5 books for 2015. I know the year is not even half over, but the book is that good." -Word Refiner
"One cannot help but feel drawn to Saru; such compulsion towards Saru mirrors the compulsion a reader will feel throughout the book...It's a compulsion to devour the book, to read more about Saru, a compulsion to then reread No Dogs in Philly over and over again." -The Young Folks
From the Author
The goal of No Dogs in Philly: A Lovecraftian Cyberpunk Noir is to serve readers craving something different and surprising. No Dogs in Philly combines metaphysical horror with gritty cyberpunk and science fantasy elements. A strong female lead replaces the male lead in classic hardboiled noir. The futuristic dystopian setting follows the rules of absurdism. The alien invaders are truly alien. The monsters are truly monstrous. The Gods are truly God-like. And underneath it all is the sense that humans might not be so powerful.
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To really summarize the plot, it’s basically about stopping killers offing blue-eyed girls. There’s some gods involved, different classes of people, and dark forces.
First and foremost, I didn’t like the main character. I didn’t like her voice, her actions, or her approach. I don’t mind a rough around the edges character. Matter of fact, the more flaws the better. I like a strong, kickass female lead. I don’t mind if she’s got a mouth on her, enjoys sex, and is rebellious. But Saru takes all those to an extreme, verging on just raunchy, unlikeable, and immature. It was her tone that set me off. So without having a remotely likable character for me, I just didn’t get into it.
Character aside, the world was—for me—extremely confusing in the beginning. A lot of terms tossed at me with little to no explanation. I got it soon enough, but it threw me right from the start. However, the world was not without some fun. Her car could drive itself home without her and there was a fun story that went along with that tidbit. Another cool part was that most people had implants that put the internet in their heads, basically. They could search and stream stuff without any computer. She could tune her body so she looked like she was interested in a conversation when she was really watching television in her mind. I found that incredibly fun, though it took me a bit to understand that was what was happening. Other than that, I’m not sure I ever got a good feel for the world. No big picture. However, this could be because of my lack of imagination. The classes of people were interesting, and how each viewed the other was intriguing. Definitely added some depth to the story.
The first chapter was a job Saru had finished. It was long and since all we’re given of it is merely a recap, it was fairly boring. I didn’t find it was all needed. Especially in the beginning. These recaps happened a few more times, all of which I had a difficult time plugging through. They slowed down the pacing and I found it hard to push through quite a few sections. Especially since some internal thoughts seemed really drawn out. I ended up skimming a bit.
The writing had some moments, but more often than not, I just didn’t connect. I’m a woman. And our main protagonist is a woman. And I can say with absolute certainty that when I’m scared, my breasts have never, ever tingled. Nor have I ever wanted to jam knitting needles in my breasts when I hear a grating sound. It’s not that I find this offensive, it just ... well, it just didn’t make sense to me. I don’t know, maybe my breasts are sleeping on the job.
I always felt at a distance with the book. The pacing was on the slow side with—for me—entirely too much internal ramblings that added little to the story and felt too long. A few fun and interesting moments along with some of the ideas were all that kept me going. This review sounds really negative, but the world had fun, intriguing nuances which is why I didn't give up on it.
Overall, it was the tone of the main character that kept pushing me from loving this story. Again, I’ll remind potential readers that there’s a lot of good reviews for this book, so I suggest checking out a sample (Futuro has a few on his website as well as Amazon's preview options).
The Gaespora will not be refused, however, buying out the building where her office is and changing all the locks. When she consults her lawyer about possible legal action, they send a pair of thugs to haul her off to their local office, a "skyneedle" that dominates the Philadelphia skyline. Offered a huge potential reward and faced with no real choice in the matter, she agrees to find a young woman working as a street prostitute who has uniquely beautiful blue eyes. As her investigation unfolds the reader is dragged through an awkward cast of odd-ball characters and half a dozen brutal murders involving prostitutes with blue eyes. The prose often drags as the writer struggles to mimic Lovecraft's elegant Victorian prose and fails miserably.
The story does have a few redeeming qualities. For those with a taste for macabre, dystopian fiction cast in a world where the line between reality and cyberspace is so thin it might as well not exist, all of the features of your favorite genre are here in excruciating detail. The style and pacing truly is a blend of Lovecraft and Philip K. Dick, even though it lacks both the elegance and power of these masters. The characters are reasonably unique and distinct from one another while neither falling into stereotype nor rising to archetype. Sexual imagery, allusion, and depiction float through the pages in a way that keeps it front and center at all times even though it is neither tantalizing nor scandalous. There is so much of it that after awhile it becomes little more than background noise.
Unless you have a deep fascination with dystopian cyberpunk writing, you're probably better off passing this one up. If, however, dystopian cyberpunk is your favorite genre of them all then you will find everything you crave buried in these 168 pages including a cosmic narrative climax that features a battle between three beings who are neither aliens nor gods but hold characteristics of each.
Most recent customer reviews
enjoyed the story and writing.