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The Last Hot Time by John M. Ford
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Author:  WillinNewHaven [ Sun Nov 07, 2010 5:08 pm ]
Post subject:  The Last Hot Time by John M. Ford

My problem with this book is that there isn't quite ENOUGH of it. And, what with John being gone, there will be no more.

This is a coming-of-age novel and there are those, critics and readers both, who profess to find flaws in coming-of-age novels. Some people just don't like them and they prolly won't like this one either.

The setting is a place where cultures meet. Of course, every REAL place, except a tribal village, is a place where cultures meet but THESE cultures are meeting at a somewhat even score and at breakneck speed. Three of these cultures are Urban near-future Chicago (which is more than one culture, itself, needless to say) the culture of the rural Midwest (which is ALWAYS engaged in meeting Chicago and vive versa) and, lastly, an Elfland returned from the mists. This Elfland is related to the returned Elfland in the Bordertown/Borderlands setting but the exact relationship isn't clear.

Oh, you say, you don't READ fantasy. Well, go to Hell, he said politely. There are many characters who border on caricature. In fact, they blow right past caricature and come out on the other side as archetypes, teaching things about the soul. There is a romance subplot involving the coming-of-age protagonist and I find it HOT but I am like that. There is a cliche or two involved but they resonate, make the subplot stronger rather than weaker.

And, finally, the novel is other than a coming-of-age novel. Oh, it IS that but it is also a novel about power and society and warlords and what happens to you outside the rule of law. And the novel says powerful things about those issues and about healing and love and killing and vengeance and forswearing vengeance. And those ARE the things the apes-on-the-ground do most and often need to know the most about.

And Ford lets you see this happening without knowing it is going to happen. You are in the middle of this farm kid's coming of age and you are also in the middle of what Machiavelli and Sun Tzu and Heinlein talked about.

And the title is so much like _The Last Good Kiss_ that I wondered. And, as I read the book it was clear. No plagiarism, obviously, but Ford has read Crumley and he SAYS so, right here:

"It shouldn't be possible to forget, given all the strings around our fingers: Hammett, Chandler, Crumley, Macdonald and McDonald. Not to mention Oedipus the King."

Add the late, lamented, John M. Ford. And read this book.

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