Richard Dominic Flowers aNARCHY rULES 00: Before Dawn (2012)
Before Dawn is the first of a somewhat ambitious twelve volume undertaking by Richard Dominic Flowers, as yet unpublished but I got to read the first instalment regardless. I wouldn't even like to guess at where it's going, but saga is probably an appropriate term given the scale, and it appears to revolve around a character named Monkfish - nothing to do with the abrupt cockney detective from The Fast Show, I might hasten to add. If Before Dawn is representative, aNARCHY rULES concerns itself with the nature of fiction, mythology, and how these intersect with experienced reality, amongst other things, although to be fair I may just have pulled that one out of my ass because it sounded good. This volume is essentially a prologue and introduction to significant characters thematically aligned to the Major Arcana of the Tarot deck. It launches all sorts at the proverbial wall - Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, theoretical physics, alternate reality, Arthurian legend - and most of it sticks. It might be deemed a bit of a mess in so much as this kind of story will inevitably appear chaotic when viewed from certain angles; but I offer this as an observation rather than a criticism. In terms of craft, it's been a while since I read anything quite so finely honed, quite so trim and which makes such engaging use of language.
At the risk of flailing about and firing off at random, I've a hunch that aNARCHY rULES may turn out to be what Grant Morrison's Unreadables should have been but wasn't due to the overpowering quantities of smug that somehow contaminated the batch, roughly speaking; or Lawrence Miles writing Moorcock with some reckless fool having left William Burroughs in charge of editing.
Before Dawn may only be a prologue but it promises a great deal - arguably more than a great many main features - and serves as a powerful appetiser for that which will hopefully come once Richard has time to write it.