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Gogmagog by Jeff Noon and Steve Beard

21/03/2024
Gogmagog by Jeff Noon and Steve Beard

The speculative fiction genre got a bit of a kick in the teeth back in 2000 with the release of China Miéville’s Perdito Street Station and Jeff Vandemeer’s City of Saints and Sinners and with these, the advent of what has become known as ‘New Weird’. One source in 2023, defined New Weird novels as “exercises in worldbuilding characterized by a heterogeneity of sources, genres, and details” and “particularly eclectic; mixing modern street culture with ancient mythology.” In all of those respects, Jeff Noon and Steve Beard’s new novel Gogmagog sits firmly in the New Weird. It is a ferocious and bizarre exercise in world building that is unafraid to mix elements and subgenres of science fiction, fantasy and horror.

Gogmagog opens with Cady Mead, an old salt who used to ply the waters of the river Nysis through to the city of Ludwich. A war and a deterioration of the river has seen water traffic dwindle and those days are long gone. But Cady has a calling and when a strange girl and her robot protector come and ask for passage on the river to Ludwich, despite the dangers of the journey, she agrees to accompany them in her old ferry, captained by her former crewman. And so begins an epic journey up a river haunted by the spirit of a dead dragon and full of dangers and wonders.

For those who enjoy this style of fantasy there is plenty to sink their teeth into in Gogmagog. From its steampunk styling to its earthy humour, to its mindbending ideas, creatures and species to its deep mysteries. And all with very little exposition – Noon and Beard drop readers into this world and expect them to just work things out for themselves. And they do this through the action and the interactions of a central found family of flawed characters, misfits and runaways.

Gogmagog, the first of a projected series, spends its whole time navigating the river to Ludwich. And yet it never feels like it is spinning its wheels. Every stretch of that river holds new challenges, discoveries and secrets. So that the whole enterprise becomes an intriguing table-setting for the action and answers to come in future volumes.

Buy from Booktopia

Gogmagog by Jeff Nook and Steve Beard

$30.50 AUD
8.5

8.5/10

Wrap Up

Gogmagog by Jeff Nook and Steve Beard

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