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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Imaginary Corpse by Tyler Hayes (reviewed by Lukasz Przywoski)


Official Author Website
Order The Imaginary Corpse over HERE (USA) & HERE (UK)

OFFICIAL AUTHOR INFORMATION: 
Tyler is a science fiction and fantasy writer from Northern California, and a Social Justice Bard specializing in the College of Comfort. He writes stories he hopes will show people that not only are they not alone in this terrifying world, but we might just make things better. 

OFFICIAL BLURB: A dinosaur detective in the land of unwanted ideas battles trauma, anxiety, and the first serial killer of imaginary friends.

FORMAT/INFO: The Imaginary Corpse is 312 pages divided over 32 numbered chapters. The cover design and art were prepared by Angry Robot's in-house designers Francesca Corsini and Kieryn Tyler.

OVERVIEW: Detective Tippy is good at what he does. Probably the best. He’s also a fluffy and minuscule stuffed triceratops. Nothing shocking in the dreamland of ideas known as Stillreal. As people grow up, they tend to abandon their imaginary Friends who, when it inevitably happens, find shelter in this exact place. Not a perfect scenario, but better than being erased from existence.

The Stillreal. The underside of the Imagination that nobody remembers to clean. It can be a rough place, but it can also be beautiful. Fortunately, you have me to help you find the latter instead of waltzing face-first into the former.

When an unidentified resident of the Stillreal goes on a killing spree, no Friend is safe. Detective Tippy applies his detective skills, charm, and empathy to solve the crime. And he gets the job done. He even finds time to go to a bar and sip a root beer, as befits a detective.

Stillreal is a fascinating, and detailed place in which all possible imaginary worlds and landscapes blend into something unique. The action jumps from modern skyscrapers and offices (Big Business operating area) to underwater abysses, and the Avatar city filled with superheroes. Here, nothing is impossible. I would go as far as saying that exploring the place and meeting its wacky residents is the biggest fun the book offers.

Investigations led by Tippy vary in difficulty but they all follow a similar scenario. Some are lighthearted, some dark and scary. Creatures of Stillreal are endearing, but also tragic (abandoned, lonely, trying to build a new life without children who have imagined them). They deal with trauma, but they’re also affectionate creatures, plenty of love and readiness to forgive.

I enjoyed Tippy as a lead, because who wouldn’t cheer for a minuscule triceratops whose favorite pastime is going for a spin in a dryer? Secondary characters like Miss. Mighty, Spiderhand or Dr. Atrocity are memorable but not fully realized. You remember their wackiness and longings, but their motivations fade with time. That said, their origins are fascinating and heart-breaking (they wouldn't end in Stillreal if their creators still needed them). Take a look at Miss Mighty, Stillrill's biggest superhero.

"Miss Mighty was created as her person's way of standing up to bullies. She was her person's strength, her confidence, but also her belief in goodness and justice"

The Imaginary Corpse tries something new (even if it’s a bit of everything) and, with few negligible misses, succeeds at creating a memorable story. It mixes humor, horror, intrigue, and action into a singular blend and is emotionally engaging throughout. Highly recommended, especially for fans of Neil Gaiman of Frances Hardinge.




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