It is not just the effects on the soul that Dundass has got right, it's also the othering and dislike of disability from society. At the heart of HellSans is the unspoken question that all those with disability come to ask themselves sooner or later "Is it me who is disabled, or is the real disability societies inability to cope with differnece."
Science Fiction and crime fiction make extremely potent mix, best exemplified in China Mieville's The City and The City. The combination of working out what has happened in the crime, and also unravelling world building to understand the culture and history of a future or different universe, means that a readers synapses will be firing more than normal, and the satisfaction of finding the solution to the crime, while understanding the implications of the sometimes extremely unusual context means the dopamine hit at the end is higher.
Many writers, even those native to the Highlands can imbue their descriptions with a sense of twee kitsch and a paint by numbers version of what is a beautiful, but highly complex, part of the world. Writing the Highlands is easy, but writing the Highlands well, with a sensitivity to the land and it's deep history is a feat that only those with a unforced empathy can complete.
Ivy, is very much a woman of her time, and as culture is currently obsessed with rewriting every historical woman as a "badass," there is something refreshing in finding a woman who operates to actively find the answers she needs within her times restrictions rather than creating a fabulist narrative of the ease of societal change.
This kind of elitism and snobbishness has always existed in the arts. However what the many who tightly cling to this sense of superiority do not realise is that it is only very recently that realism has crept into literature - think about Homer, Beowulf, Shakespeare with his Wyrd Sisters, Titania and Oberon. Human beings have always enjoyed a good dose of the mysterious, miraculous, mythological and the unexplainable in our stories.
By trying to inhabit both the best of true crime and crime fiction Chizman displays an admirable amount of creative ambition and playfulness. Of course some of the best work in true crime comes is in the first person, and to truely inhabit that position he has to write as himslef. There is the added bonus that this lends great authenticity to the time and place, but this is perhapse at the expense of the telling the story, and it feels to me that in this novel at least everything should be in greater service to the story.
As someone who does not believe in an afterlife with punishment editions, and also would not strictly adhear to conventional ideas of reincarnation, death to me has always appeared to be a release from suffering. So the obsession with death as a punishment, the ultimate punishment, has always puzzled me, surely if punishment is really what you want then creating a worse life on earth is what is called for - and as we can see throughout history, we are really, really good at doing that.
Availible to pre-order through the TCF Bookshop. Profits go to support independent retailers and True Crime fiction Death's Kiss, by Josh Reynolds is published on 1st June by Aconyte and is a crime novel set in the fantasy world of the Legend of the Five Rings role playing game, which is losely based on feudal …
Since Ted Bundy's death by electric chair in 1989 a veritable industry has grown up around him. One I am sure he would be pretty pleased with as he was an inveterained antention-monger. Most of what the recent Bundy circus has thrown up is the realisation (yet again) that really, really good looking people can …