Apex Authors: Alex Livingston shares Nine Books (and One Story) with Notable Narrators

by guest author Alex Livingston

 

Three Men In A Boat. The author wanted to write a travel journal about places of historical interest on a trip up the Thames, but ended up with a brilliant piece of charming self-mockery about himself and his idiot lad friends on vacation.

 

I Capture The Castle. Capture indeed -- this book shows an eccentric family, their folly of a home, class distinctions, sisterhood, coming of age, the mysteries and dangers of the creative process, et cetera as detailed in the journals of a young woman who apparently just happens to be the sort of writer whose works one cannot put down.

 

Pattern Recognition. He took a duck to the face at 250 knots. Cool-finder Cayce Pollard's struggles with anxiety and obsessiveness are depicted magnificently -- you never know when she's going to go on a half-page emotional rant about Brooks Brothers or something.

 

A Deadly Education. Am I allowed to just say "all Naomi Novik"? This narrator pulls off the gothy, rebellious teenager with the hippie mom she has no reason to rebel against. You can't help but feel for her as she stumbles over her attitude and emotions, and it's never trite or put on.

 

The Green Book. Handily among my favorite short stories (and I'm not just saying that because it's an Apex story). Multiple narrators as found in a book that converses with you? Please go read it if you haven't.

 

The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter. Speaking of multiple narrators, in this fun Victorian adventure the narrator is writing the book while her friends are all watching over her shoulder, correcting her and insisting on their own thoughts being written down.

 

Black Leopard, Red Wolf. This is more of a setting than a choice of narrator, I suppose, but having the main character speaking to an inquistor as something of a confession is something I absolutely plan on stealing.

 

Villette - Ortberg says it better than I ever could. The classic unreliable narrator, and endlessly excellent character studies.

 

Underhanded Backgammon - I asked the librarians to dig this out of the closed stacks as I was doing some research, and I hope they know how much I appreciate it. This out-of-print piece from the 70's is a series of humorous fictional essays on the ways people cheat(ed) at the faddish entertainment/high-stakes game of backgammon. Most notable about this narrator, who sets himself up as a well-to-do member of society's "elite", is his choice of cheats. Attractive young women. Precocious children. Hippies. Italians. Irish people. People not from the US or Western Europe. This book is about poking fun at people other than rich white guys more than it's about the intricacies of sharp play, and I am stunned at how readily and categorically the author worked his way through his litany of undesirables. True 70’s stereotyping on proud, sad display.

 

The Dark World. I picked up this book at random at a used paperback store by a lake, fully expecting to roll my eyes at the swords and the sorcery. Reader, I was wrong. This narrator used to be someone else, someone very different from who he thinks he has always been, and it comes out at odd times and emotional moments. Best $1.08 I’ve spent.

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Alex Livingston is the author of Glitch Rain, a cyberpunk thriller from Apex Books. Alex Livingston injects traditional elements of the sub-genre—action, tech, and resistance—in a breathtaking tale of identity and privacy.

Akuba is a low-level hacker for the city's wealthy, making just enough to keep her bills paid and her booze flowing. Her job is to scrub the social feeds for faces who don't want to be seen, hanging out at parties to guard the elite from errant social media statuses and incriminating photo posts. Not the most glamorous job, but she’s getting by. When an old debt comes due early, suddenly she is the one who needs to keep her face out of the drones' omnipresent eyes. Thrown into the high-stakes world of international cybercrime, Akuba will have to outmaneuver unlimited surveillance, high-tech con artists, and an international hacker kingpin if she wants to survive. Every identity has a price in Glitch Rain.

Alex Livingston grew up in various quiet New England towns before moving to Buffalo, NY to study English at Canisius College. His fiction has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Bastion, Quantum Fairy Tales, Goldfish Grimm’s Spicy Fiction Sushi, and other venues. He lives in an old house with his brilliant wife and a pile of aged videogame systems. Visit him online at galaxyalex.com.