Monty Reads: RealmShift by Alan Baxter
Last year, I attended the Continuum Convention in Melbourne. I snuck into the end of a readings panel one day, and caught the end of a reading by Alan Baxter. I don’t remember what the story was, but I remember thinking “that’s awesome, I want to read his stuff!” And then I went home and didn’t read any of his stuff. That was until I was given the opportunity to get RealmShift as an ebook, which I jumped at.
I read this book on the train. For some reason, it really suits train reading. It’s about an immortal being, Isiah, who goes about fighting demons and trying to restore balance to the belief systems of the world. I really like the ideas of religion in this book - humans believe something strongly enough, and it is real. Your deity, whatever that may be, exists because you believe in it. As an atheist myself, I don’t believe in any deities. But I do believe in having faith. Believing in something, anything, is important, it gives life meaning. I think RealmShift supports this; it gives importance to the self, to the character. Humans are the important ones, those who do the believing. RealmShift ties together these ideas of faith and belief in a gritty, violent, suspenseful story. I didn’t want to get off the train so that I could keep reading, sometimes!
The thing that annoys me about ebooks, though, is that you don’t know the weight of the book. At 153 pages of tightly formatted text, RealmShift is not a short story. But I went into it thinking it was shorter, and I think that affected the way I read it. It wasn’t a bad thing, but I was a little impatient waiting for the story to get going.
Overall, a fun bit of reading, something that I probably wouldn’t have picked up myself, what with all the demons and extra-human abilities. But I enjoyed it and will definitely now find more Alan Baxter to read.