by Simon R. Green
from Mean Streets
While I have heard of Simon R. Green’s Nightside series I have never actually read any of the novels. The Difference A Day Makes is much better at introducing a new reader to the Nightside than Butcher’s The Warrior was at introducing new readers to Harry Dresden. While I’m sure there is some spoiler material in the story I was genuinely pleased at Green’s attempt to introduce you to his world at a very deliberate pace.
Moreso than Butcher’s continuity involved tale Green does his best to echo the “noir” feel the anthology’s title implies. We meet our hero, John Taylor, in a bar having a drink with a zombified friend. Shortly there after Taylor is enticed by a damsel in distress who is missing 24 hours of memory and her husband. Taylor it seems has a knack for finding things and our damsel quickly enlists his help; it seems also has a weak spot for damsels in distress.
The damsel, hailing from London proper, is a fish out of water in the Nightside which provides Green with an adequate platform to introduce readers to the strange, crazy place for the first time. We get to see dead gods, aliens, futuristic cars, and robots along with every manner of unsavory things. Green’s style is straightforward with the occaisonal twinge of hyperbole that echoes nicely the occaisonally overwraught pulp fiction of yesteryears. Taylor’s comments about traffic in Nightside being “evolution in action” were particularly amusing.
The story’s climax is at once horrifying, disturbing and vaguely humorous. It lack impact though thanks to the blase reaction from our protagonists. All in all I think that The Difference a Day Makes serves as an excellent introduction to the world of the Nightside. Everything about the story screams over-the-top but it is never quite too much. It lacks the “realism” of Butcher’s story and blends more elements of both horror and sci-fi in with fantasy and noir. I don’t know if that crazy genre mix is true for the entire series but it definatley was the cast here so your mileage may vary depending on what you’re looking for in your “urban fantasy”. I thought it worked quite well and it certainly has me interested in checking out some ofGreen’s wother work.