Professional debunker Rob, proprietor of the Jaundiced Eye magazine, considers himself incredibly lucky to have Kildy as his sole employee. Smart, dedicated, gorgeous, and, thanks to her last movie before she hung up on Hollywood, rich, she’s a pleasure to oblige when she says Rob has to witness this channeler Ariaura’s act–on her, not the Eye’s, nickel–despite channelers being so last year. It’s quite a show, all right, for in the midst of Ariaura’s particular ancient wise guy’s basso spiel, a gravelly baritone interrupts (both voices emanate from the channeler’s female mouth) to berate the audience as “yaps” and the act as “claptrap.”
Why is Ariaura undermining herself? Or is she? After all, she angrily accuses Rob and Kildy of scheming to destroy her. Could the baritone belong to a genuine channeled spirit?
Willis, one of sf’s most spirited writers, rounds on the New Age; pays tribute to a great, skeptical journalist; and affectionately parodies pulp fiction at its best in this irresistible entertainment.
This is a charming novella that I got in the Humble Nebula Bundle and if it’s a reflection of the quality of the rest of the books in the Bundle then I’m very excited as I absolutely adored this.
The novella follows Rob and Kildy as they work on debunking Ariaura’s channeling act. However, during her show she starts channelling a negative spirit which Rob identifies as Mencken, who was a famous skeptic. They are puzzled as to why she would choose to channel him and why she is also accusing them of destroying her. Rob does research into Mencken in order to try and catch Ariaura out in a lie.
The three main characters are excellent and I really enjoyed reading the interactions between them as they work to expose Ariaura. The setting was excellent and I was hooked from the start and read the entire book in one sitting as I really enjoyed the writing.
I would highly recommend this novella, it’s a great fun and short Fantasy read that won’t take much time but is very rewarding. I’m definitely also going to be checking out more of her work now!