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Mortarville

Grant Bailie, Author
Grant Bailie, Author . IG $14.95 (248p) ISBN 978-0-9788431-1-3
Reviewed on: 11/12/2007
Release date: 01/01/2008
Ebook - 248 pages - 978-1-935439-55-4
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Bailie works his ripped-from-the-comic books premise and dystopian stylings to mostly muted effect in his second novel (after Cloud 8 ). Government agents rescue narrator John Smith from a fire in the mad scientists’ laboratory in which he was created, but when tests prove John to be devoid of special powers, he is shipped off to the subterranean Secret Government Home for the Products of Mad Science. Bailie peppers his account of John’s wardship there with wit and occasional grace, but the experience is mostly mundane: the boys study from discarded textbooks and old sit-coms, and are nourished on a steady diet of macaroni and cheese. In the second half of the novel, John is released to an adult life in the dreary city of Mortarville, where he works as the security director at the last remaining downtown mall and fills his days writing reports and presiding over a team of incompetent employees. John finds love (or at least sex), but he is dogged by the feeling that he is not quite human. John’s disaffection provides the through-line, and while the book has its share of intelligence, wit and snatches of imaginative writing, neither John, nor his narrative, comes fully to life. (Jan.)

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