UNION STATION by Ian Welke is a modern fantasy novel set in Los Angeles and published by a cool, boutique publisher, Omnium Gatherum.
The story focuses on books. Its protagonist is a magician and ex-librarian with a complicated backstory, Tom Jackson, whose magical talent is to locate rare, valuable books (including a first edition Hemingway!). Tom’s made a discrete business out of this until he’s challenged to find ‘The Book of All’, a mystical tome containing text that can literally alter reality. Naturally enough, other players want this book too for nefarious purposes. To use a Hitchcockian notion, The Book of All is the MacGuffin driving the action.
At this point, UNION STATION adopts many of the attributes of a noir detective story as Tom recruits a group of talented fellow magicians to aid his search and contend with the numerous malign forces competing for it. His companions have a range skills and part of Tom’s challenge is to mobilize this heterogeneous team to find the book. What follows is a free-wheeling, inter-dimensional adventure as Tom & Co take on all manner of entities magical and otherwise in pursuit of The Book of All. Besides the chase, subplots include class struggle in the alternate realities Tom visits. This deepens the novel.
There are numerous references to settings in and around Los Angeles including the eponymous Union Station, and the characters spend significant time moving about the greater urban area. Sometimes, readers not resident to Los Angeles could feel they need a primer on the city’s neighborhoods and highway system to fully appreciate the drama. Nonetheless, UNION STATION is a fast-paced story that should amuse many readers of modern fantasy.
Finally, let me add that fantasy readers/reviewers should be open to checking out small-press and/or independently published works in this genre. There is a wealth of creativity among authors not published by the big four, traditional book imprints.
I write modern fantasy novels that are hopefully both exciting and literate. These novels include an on-going series about a near-immortal magician who grew up in Camelot and grew famous in San Francisco's 'Summer of Love'. He's still having adventures to this day described in The Lords of the Summer Season, The Lords of Powder, and The Lords of Oblivion. The books can be read in any order.
As author S Alessandro Martinez has stated about the series:
"Lords of Oblivion
A 1500-year-old wizard. A pair of savage druids raised from the dead. Modern day San Francisco. A wolf that takes no gruff. Blaisdell creates a fascinating world in this magical realism novel with smart writing, complex characters, and clever use of history and mythology. I was sucked in from the very beginning. I look forward to more of Bradan and Tintagel's mystical adventures.
Lords of Powder
Merlin's former apprentice, Bradan, is back! The 1500-year-old wizard, who is sometimes too smart for his own good, returns for another exciting adventure, this time in 70s Miami as he takes on the criminal world of drug trafficking. Blaisdell's smart, fast-paced writing and use of fascinating history and mythology keeps you on the edge of your seat as Bradan uses his wits, charm, and illusions to navigate the modern era and get himself into plenty of trouble.
Lords of the Summer Season
Being Merlin's former apprentice and living for 1500 years is bound to make you a few enemies. Travel back to the 60s with Bradan the wizard and his otherworldly wolf Tintagel. As Bradan juggles careers as a professor and musician, he must defend himself from his greatest threat yet: a literal god. Blaisdell continues with his clever, skillful, and imaginative writing that will keep readers eagerly turning the next page. My favorite of the Bradan books, Blaisdell dives deeper into the Arthur mythology, and brings the reader even more elements of magic and folklore, all the while weaving an entertaining tale of gods, wizards, ghosts, and 60s acid rock. Thoroughly enjoyable!"
Besides the literary side of my life, my background includes membership on a scientific advisory board for a non-profit professional organization promoting the biomedical and digital health business community in the greater Los Angeles area.
I’ve authored both basic research publications and business management articles focusing on the bio/pharma industry. My Ph.D. is in Biochemistry from the University of Minnesota where I also conducted post-doctoral research in microbiology. And my BS is from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) with a double major in chemistry and cell biology.
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