The Fictional Man
By Al Ewing
Solaris: an imprint of Rebellion Publishing, Ltd.
May 2013, Paperback $9.99 ebook $6.99
Review by Kat Yares
Imagine a world where fictional characters were living, breathing humans. In Hollywood, this world exists as an everyday occurrence. Instead of hiring actors to fill a role in films adapted from books, the studios now clone the characters they need, giving the character all the attributes the authors envisioned when they wrote them.
Problem is ‘fictionals’, as they are called, have no sense of self other than what is programmed into their brains. They can’t do many of the things that make people truly human nor do they have any memories other than those the writer gave them when created for the page. For the most part, they are shallow, cardboard and depressed. They can also be jealous and murderous depending on how they are written.
This Hollywood is Niles Golan’s world. As a writer his dream is to have a fictional created from his character Kurt Power and to see him on the big screen. To do that though, he has to write the screenplay for a reboot of a 1960s campy classic.
The question is can Golan do it? Or will his alcoholic lifestyle and inner monologue get in the way? Can his therapist and his best friend, both fictionals themselves, help him achieve his goal? Or will he, along the way, find out that sometimes what you hope for is not really what you want at all?
This is a fun read. Not quite what I would call horror, although there are a few elements of the genre. For me, it was more science fiction, but that may just be me. Which begs the question, do I put this on my horror shelves or with my science fiction. Because it is a keeper. The writing is solid, the story is great (it will make you think) and the subject matter is such that it will leave you wondering if, at some time in the future, this could happen. There is much humor in this book – which gives it an edge that is needed for such heavy subject matter.
Bottom line, The Fictional Man by Al Ewing is a fun and entertaining read that will keep you thinking long after you read the final sentence. And if you see the ending coming – you’ve got a far better imagination than I do, because I was floored. And now, I’ve got to find more from Mr. Ewing – he’s that good at storytelling. Even if Al Ewing is a fictional man himself.