SELECT * FROM uv_BookReviewRollup WHERE recordnum = 565 Smoking Mirror Blues, by Ernest Hogan Book Review |

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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 together brilliantly.

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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