This one jumped off the shelf and into my hands. I’m a Bishop fan from years back–having read and loved books like Ancient of Days, No Enemy But Time, The Secret Ascension (aka Philip K. Dick is Dead, Alas), and Unicorn Mountain–and I hadn’t even known that he had a new book coming out.
Not only that, but a book that really piqued my interest. Bishop’s doing his own version of Watchmen here–what if a “superhero” really existed in our world. But the operative word on the title page is that this is a comedy. For all his realism, Bishop is actually writing in the tradition of James Branch Cabell and Thorne Smith, warping our reality to actually satirize it.
It has confirmed my expectations. Xavier Thaxton is the Fine Arts editor at the local newspaper–a man who hates popular culture. But slowly he finds that popular culture is what he needs, and what he is becoming. The conclusion is a statement about “art,” that most nebulous of terms.