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Adam Roberts is the author of a growing number of science fiction novels, short stories, essays and other writings. This site contains not just his blog, but everything you could ever want to know about everything Adam has ever published. And more...

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Black Static on Scrooge

By Adam Roberts | January 2, 2010
Categories: Book News

Black Static is a fine magazine. Here's what Peter Tennant says about I Am Scrooge in the latest ed:

For his latest trick, respected critic and SF author Adam Roberts has great fun producing a pastiche of Dickens's seasonal classic, A Christmas Carol, and the horror afficionado and more general reader will find much to enjoy between the covers of I Am Scrooge, not least the tasteful line drawings of Zom Leech.

I'll pass those words on to Zom. He'll be chuffed.

At first I found this book rather forced and the language slightly stilted, with an uncomfortable tension between the scenes of graphic violence and the spirit of the source material, but the story grew on me as it progressed, the lilting cadences of the mock-Dickensian preose insinuating themselves into my consciousness and soon all objections were swept aside. Roberts ... [is] not a writer to engage the emotions, but he does delight the intellect with a wealth of invention and incidental detail, along the way having huge fun with the tropes of the zombie genre. ... A particular pleasure is Roberts' reinvention of the Christmas story, gifting us with a version in which the Slaughter of the Innocents had to do with stopping a zombie plague and Christmas puddings are a sweetmeat reminder of the brains which zombies love to eat. It's an audacious display of twisted logic, coupled with sly wit, as each detail is neatly slotted into the overall pattern and the feeling takes hold that yes, insane as it sounds, this all makes sense and could have happened exactly as Roberts describes it. Zombies are flavour of the month just now in publishing circles, whilst the success of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has carved out a niche for reiterations of the classics. I Am Scrooge shows up that work as the rather dull text it actually was, demonstrating what can be done when you apply intelligence and invention and wit to subvert a classic story instead of simply adding a dollop or two of schlock to the mix. It's also, aside from a few typos (unusual for Gollancz) a very nicely produced book, and at the asking price will make a perfect stocking filler ... that will continue to bring the odd chuckle and pleasurable frisson long after the turkey is eaten and the Queen's speech forgotten.

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1 Comment so far

One Response to “Black Static on Scrooge”

  1. John Kent Says:
    January 19th, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    I will have to try 'I am Scrooge'. I enjoyed 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies' but was a bit disappointed with some of the inserts - they were just lazily done.

    Although I would be *really* impressed if someone could do 'Tristram Shandy and Velociraptors'