Saturday, March 06, 2010
Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox
Author: Eoin Colfer
In the interest of full disclosure — I love the Artemis Fowl series. This series is a wonderful example of urban scifi. I don't know if "urban scifi" is a real subgenre, but it's certainly not an urban fantasy. There is magic and fantasy creatures (fairies, pixies, trolls, and the coolest dwarf I've ever seen), there are also lasers, jetpacks, and underground spaceships. And I'm pretty sure that lasers trump fairies when it comes to genre classification.
The central character in the series is a quintessential wealthy evil genius — who happens to be 8 years old when the series begins. Artemis Fowl is the criminal mastermind that I always wanted to be. He plots world domination and is assisted by his bodyguard, Butler, who is another one of Colfer's amazing characters. (If you know Brock Samson from Venture Brothers, the you know Butler.) In the first book, Artemis encounters a young fairy, Holly Short, who is a reconnaissance officer for the Lower Elements Police. That's right, Holly is a LEPrecon officer.
In this book, Artemis and Holly have to travel back in time to procure a cure for Artemis' mother, who is suffering from a rare and deadly fairy plague. I dreaded reading this book because of the time travel. Time travel is hard to do well, and rarely succeeds. But Colfer, with his usual panache, embraces those dangers and twists them to his will. The paradox of time travel is a central plot point, twisting the story into a Mobius strip held together with a Gordian knot. In other words, he makes it work and uses the paradox in a very simple way.
This book is probably my least favorite of the series, but there are five previous books for you to enjoy before you get here. Actually, I realized quickly that I haven't read the previous book, so I'll have to go back to that one soon.
These books are full of humor, great characters, good story, and lots of criminal activity: spying, heists, and mayhem. They are really worth checking out, especially if you listen to audio books. The audio version is read by an incredibly talented voice actor who really brings the stories to life.