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Smoking Mirror Blues, by Ernest Hogan Book Review | SFReader.com
Smoking Mirror Blues, by Ernest Hogan Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Wordcraft Published: 2001 Review Posted: 4/23/2005 Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 0 out of 10
Smoking Mirror Blues, by Ernest Hogan
Book Review by Jack Mangan
Have you read this book?
A critical book review ought to use a better descriptive term than,
"cool", but it's simply the most appropriate word to describe Ernest Hogan's
2001 novel, Smoking Mirror Blues.
Just in time for the annual Dead Daze festival in El Lay, Beto finds himself
possessed by the software-construct Aztec god, Tezcatlipoca: the Mirror that
Smokes. The swaggering trickster god uses Beto's body and quickly becomes
the star of Dead Daze, assuming command of a street gang, connecting his
mind to the net, taking hits of the drug called Fun, entrancing Beto's
girlfriend, and rewriting and performing the song, "Smoking Mirror Blues",
with a local band, while either pissing off or catching the attention of
psychic investigators, the Mexican designer of his own software,
mondomentary filmmakers, Beto's friend from Arizona, Christian
fundamentalists, and Beto's girlfriend's girlfriend, to name a few.
Variations of sex, drugs, and rock n' roll all follow.
But then it really starts to get weird.
I defy you to categorize this book.
There are hints of Cyberpunk style and sensibility here, even a few common
Cyberpunk devices, but Smoking Mirror Blues simply won't sit in one genre.
And who says it has to?
This is one of the hippest, most unique science fiction novels published in
the new century. Weird at (many) times, but never alienating. Fragile
readers beware, though: Hogan comes right at you with graphic depictions of
sex and the occasional violent sequence. At times, Smoking Mirror Blues
has the feel of an 80s B-movie -- but a B-movie crafted with intelligence
and exciting, interesting characters. Appropriately enough, references
abound to icons of alternative science fiction culture (I especially got a
kick out of the Repo Man reference). The book employs a schizophrenic
narrative, where over the space of two pages you may come across as many as
five different viewpoints. But as strange as the trip gets, the reader never
gets lost or overwhelmed, and the threads all remain relevant and tie
If Smoking Mirror Blues is any indication of Ernest Hogan's future
writings, then he is certainly a name to watch. I can't recommend this book
enough; it's totally sumato! May God have mercy on all our souls.
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