Welcome to Cajun PI and Other Matters Cajun. My guest blogger today is Damon L. Wakes, and he is going to give us his top five books.
Damon L. Wakes was born in 1991 and began to write a few years later. He holds an MA in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Winchester, and a BA in English Literature from the University of Reading. Ten Little Astronauts formed the final project of his MA and has since been accepted for publication by Unbound, who are currently crowdfunding it.
When he isn't writing, Damon enjoys weaving chainmail. He began making chainmail armour ten years or so ago, but quickly discovered that there was no longer much of a market for it and so switched to jewellery instead. He now attends a variety of craft events, selling items made of modern metals such as aluminium, niobium and titanium, but constructed using thousand year-old techniques.
1: Rumo and his Miraculous Adventures by Walter Moers
This thing is the size of two or three house bricks and its storyline follows all the conventions of the classical epic. However, it takes place in the most alien fantasy setting I’ve ever come across. There are no orcs or elves: every single character is utterly bizarre and completely original. The protagonist, for example, is an intelligent bipedal horned dog wielding a sword that has multiple personalities. Despite the abundance of unusual creatures with outrageous abilities, though, nothing ever feels like it’s pulled out of thin air when the plot demands it. Any detail that proves significant is always set up well in advance, and the overall story feels totally airtight.
2: The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells
While it’s not particularly scary as such, The Island of Doctor Moreau is one of the more consistently unnerving books I’ve come across. Shipwrecked at the beginning, the main character doesn’t start off in the best of situations, but the steady string of revelations about Doctor Moreau and his island of surgically-created animal people ensures that things just keep on getting worse. It’s not so much that the events of the book are relentlessly terrible, though: it’s that it becomes disturbingly unclear what’s right or wrong in the first place, and in many ways I think that’s a lot more troubling.
3: The Siren by M.R. Graham
Few books have kept me turning pages like The Siren. I read the whole thing in a single day, and though the fact that I was on a very long train journey was a contributing factor in that, it is an exceptionally gripping story. It opens with a corpse banging on the main character’s back door, and pretty much just gets weirder from there. The corpse is actually inhabited by an incorporeal alien that’s become stranded on Earth. It’s hard not to root for it, healing and recovering its strength as it struggles to blend into ordinary places like clubs and coffee shops, but at the same time there’s the constant threat that it might be turning into something very dangerous indeed.
4: To Be or Not To Be by Ryan North
This book is an interactive adaptation of Hamlet. I’m not really sure what else you need to know. It’s Hamlet. You can take on the role of Hamlet, Old Hamlet or Ophelia, and pretty much do whatever you like as your chosen character. The book highlights choices that actually follow the storyline of Hamlet, so you can recreate the original play if you like, but you’re also free to branch off into totally new territory, forget the classic storyline and, say, invent central heating instead.
5: The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe
Technically a play, rather than a book, but I’ve only read it, never seen it. Possibly a good thing, as legend has it that early performances summoned devils onto the stage and drove members of the audience mad. It’s pretty much a real-life King in Yellow. Beyond that, though, the story flips neatly between Faustus’ horrifying deal with the devil, which will ultimately see him dragged away to Hell, and the hijinks he gets up to with his ill-gotten powers in the meantime, which include turning invisible in order to play tricks on the Pope.
Thanks for sharing, Damon. Damon can reached at these links: