Cornell, Paul: London Falling (James Quill I) (2012)

London Falling

I think the novel actually has a few things in common with Mary’s Glamour books, that, while not realising it at the time, I’d been influenced by her in the writing of it. The force our heroes encounter is ‘the paramilitary wing of feng shui’, something similar to the Psychogeography of the Situationist movement, the power of buildings and landscape (in this case, London) to ‘remember’ beings and events. In other words, it looks and feels like magic, but my inclination (and the police instinct of my leads) is to pick that concept apart, to ask what that means. So, actually, rather as becomes clear of Mary’s series in Glamour in Glass, London Falling is an SF novel wearing another genre’s clothes. It’s actually a ‘clever people solve a problem’ book, in the tradition established by SF editor John W. Campbell. (Paul Cornell)

There is a section in London Falling where Sefton explains the whole concept of “remembering”. You should read it. The concept is rather thought-provoking and essential to the character of Mara Losley and her cat.

Mara Losley is a person whose road was paved with the best of intentions. Then the rule of unintended consequences stepped in, and Mara was drawn onto a much darker path than she had started out on. We meet her at her darkest. As with all good gruesome characters, Mara lets nothing stand in the way of her goals and her beloved team West Ham United F.C.

I feel the need to get this off my chest right away, however small that chest might be. Football fans are insane. Each and every one of them. Completely and utterly bonkers. Seriously. Insane. It doesn’t matter if we are talking US sissy football or European proper football. ALL football fans are deranged. Mara Losley just takes her fandom to another level. She shines in her madness. There is no doubt in her mind that WHUFC is the bestest team in the universe and any player daring enough to challenge that belief is in for a rough time. The player and the sacrifices needed for his punishment.

Paul Cornell has written a wonderfully gruesome antagonist. Mara Losley has spent years upon years honing her creepiness and people’s forgetting and remembering when it comes to who she is. Now all of that work is in danger. And all because of the Smiling Man and his shenanigans.

I loved DS Quill. He heads his team of four and the four of them have to solve the riddle of what happened to Rob Toshack, the crime lord supreme of London. All of a sudden the guy exploded in a shower of blood. Blood everywhere in the interrogation room. On the officers, Mr. Toshack’s brief and the furniture. Four liters can cover a lot of space. Mr. Cornell’s goriness is perfect in its gooey, disgusting and awful description. I’m guessing some of the readers out there will find it too much.

Back to DS Quill. Why him and not one of the others? At the beginning Quill seems like an utter piss-pot. Then Cornell begins opening the cover of Quill’s head. Suddenly I find myself slowly but surely driven to accepting that my suspicions about him are about to come true. Shudder. What a fate! He isn’t the only one to have a terrible shadow hanging over him but he is the one whose remembering/forgetting I understand best. And poor Harry. What a father to have.

Second Sight is something a lot of people think they want to have. As London Falling demonstrates, the reality of Sight is not the blessing some might believe it to be. When the foursome of Quill, Ross, Costain and Sefton receive their curse all at the same time, they will have to dig deep into themselves to manage the trauma that follows. That trauma is intense and it takes a while for each of the four to realize that they are not going mad.

A thanks to Paul Cornell for writing London Falling and another thanks to Suzanne McLeod for recommending this series.


London Falling

  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230763219
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230763210
  • ASIN: B00AER81ZU

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s