cover image The Night Mayor

The Night Mayor

Kim Newman. Carroll & Graf Publishers, $17.95 (186pp) ISBN 978-0-88184-642-3

This quirky first novel by the author of Nightmare Movies: A Critical History of the Horror Film Since 1968 bludgeons the reader with a slew of references to crime movies, character actors and film cliches. In futuristic England, Dreamer Susan Bishopric is summoned for Conscription and brought to Princetown Jail, where she is asked to channel her Talent (which she uses to create entertainment for Dream subscribers) toward flushing out Truro Daine, master criminal. Daine has had access to 1940s and '50s ``flatties'' (films) to distract him from his foul deeds, but, with a dreamset smuggled into prison, he has leeched onto Yggdrasil, the world computer, and borrows elements from the movies to Dream his own universe--in the meantime absorbing critical file space in the computer. Susan is dispatched into Daine's Dream to reshape and ultimately destroy it. Newman's sci-fi gimmicks are inadequately explained and, like the heavy-handed movie pastiche, likely to annoy mainstream readers. (Sept.)