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And the Angel with Television Eyes

John Shirley

Average Review Rating Average Rating 9/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Night Shade Books

Published : 2001

Copyright : John Shirley 2001

ISBN-10 : HB 1-89238-913-4
ISBN-13 : HB 978-1-89238-913-8

Publisher's Write-Up

And the Angel with Television Eyes explores the region where fantasy meets reality. This surreal journey of self-discovery and transformation at once questions the nature of our world, and redefines it in the context of 21st century pop culture and technology. It takes a writer of John Shirley's talent and audacity to bring together elements as disparate as Shakespeare, Nietzsche, on-line role playing games, soap operas, and classic mythology - binding them together, creating a heady melange on, above, and below the streets of Manhattan.

And the Angel with Television Eyes follows the life of Max Whitman, a successful, yet unfulfilled soap opera actor, as his life begins to fall apart. Strange, murderous events suck Max into a maelstrom that leaves him questioning first his own sanity, then the nature of reality. As he is dragged further into a battle between mythic forces that threaten to destroy him and his world, Max must first try and understand the nature of these forces and then find the strength to overcome them. At once a rousing adventure, and a bitingly insightful metaphor for our times, And the Angel with Television Eyes is sure to keep you at the edge of your seat.

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Paul Lappen (191107) Rating (9/10)

Review by Paul Lappen
Rating 9/10
Max Whitman is a moderately successful actor in present-day New York City. Cast member on a soap opera, he seems to have acquired a stalker who dresses exactly like his TV character. One day, the stalker is found dead in the middle of the street. Indications are that he was dropped from a great height.

In preparation for a big audition, Max agrees to spend some time in a sensory deprivation tank. His soul is taken to a place of tall buildings made of energy and hears voices talk to him like he is someone named Lord Redmark. Max also meets neon coloured snakes in glass tubes, and harpies who look human, except for their wings of blue-black vinyl and mini-TV cameras for eyes. A door seems to have been opened between "here" and "there." Max starts talking like Lord Redmark, and, more than once, he is attacked, in midtown Manhattan, by these vinyl-winged harpies.

Quantum theory speculates about each physical body having an interrelated body made solely of subatomic particles, a "soul." Such bodiless beings do exist on their own, and they are called plasmagnomes. They are divided into two factions, one of which is ready to declare war on mankind. Man’s computers, cell phones and other electromagnetic generators are causing real problems in the plasma world. Antoinette, a friend of Max’s, does human-looking metal sculptures. More than once, he sees what looks like her sculptures coming to life. Max is taken deep beneath the streets of Manhattan, where he meets people who have turned into various beings. Their true, plasmagnome self has been awakened; Antoinette becomes one of them. To put it simply, reality is being turned upside down and pulled inside out.

John Shirley seems to make a habit of exploring parts of the human psyche that few other writers even wish to visit. In a way, this book is vintage John Shirley; very weird and very, very good.
Paul Lappen (19th November 2007)

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