Our book for October is The Nightmare People by Lawrence Watt-Evans. Eric has already provided some commentary, so let me introduce the author.
Lawrence Watt-Evans is a former president of the Horror Writers Association, which combined with the upcoming holiday to suggest his horror novel The Nightmare People for our October title, although last year's How to Prosper During the Coming Zombie Apocalypse could have been a strong competitor. You may note that one was published under the pseudonym Nathan Archer, which he uses for much science fiction. (Have we hit the saturation point on zombie apocalypses yet? Zombie is the new vampire.)
Lawrence Watt-Evans is probably best known for the Ethshar series, starting with The Misenchanted Sword. He has been noted for his surprisingly reasonable take on fantasy. Eliezer Yudkowsky comments, "If a Watt-Evans character gets their hands on a powerful cheat, they are going to exploit it to the fullest and actively think about creative new ways to use it. If they find a staff of healing, they're going to set up a hospital. If they invent a teleportation spell, they're going to think about new industrial uses." Yes, there is dragon-slaying in the series, but the titular misenchanted sword leads to considerations of military tactics, facing certain death for duty, and the problem of having eternal life without eternal youth. In The Nightmare People, consider the opening of chapter two and how the protagonist runs through the situation in the problem-solving fashion he might use at work.
Mr. Watt-Evans's characters are also part of a larger world that does not revolve around them. Events happen, sometimes throwing their lives and plans dramatically off course. If this were George Martin, half the cast might die in the process; Mr. Watt-Evans's tone is significantly lighter, perhaps closer to Heinlein's Friday, in which the title character goes through several unplanned career changes.
I picked The Nightmare People, but I had no idea what we are getting ourselves into other than that it is a horror novel by a good writer. We are all starting with that rare opportunity to be completely unspoiled. It is a quick read, so you still have time to finish even if you have not started yet. Please join us at 7PM on October 24 at the East Lansing Public Library.