As an armchair anthropologist, I’m all about how speculative fiction and urban fantasy allow us to explore human cultures by taking us outside of our own comfy and taken-for-granted universe. Cracked! by Janine A. Southard, is a perfect example, giving us a fabulous and funny insider’s exploration of Seattle youth-geek culture.
I don’t know if Southard actually did this, but as I was reading, I formed an image in my mind of her starting page one by making a 300-point list of culture elements she wanted to work into the plot and then just relaxing back into the seat and letting the culture elements steer the story like a Google self-driving car.
In the hands of a lesser writer it wouldn’t have worked, but Southard pulls it off with almost-casual brilliance. I laughed out loud. I loved it. And now, every time I visit Seattle, I’ll have this story in mind as my guidebook to the city’s unseen mysteries.
Note to Portland peeps: Janine Southard will be reading at the SWFA Pacific NW Authors Reading Series on May 7th.
Next book on deck for review… Cat Rambo’s Beasts of Tabat.