Book review by Jean Dark

Dice & Dysfunctionality by Fay Knight

Published 2010 by Shield Crest Publications

The Role-Player/Pagan crossover is a well known phenomena (See Ann Finnin’s The Forge of Tubal Cain for a real life example) and this debut novel by Fay Knight mines that rich seam with surrealism, dark humour and panache.

The wonderful opening line “Kevin already knew he was going to die” immediately catapults us into the skewed world of the “Dice-Tossers”, as one long-suffering girlfriend describes them.

From there the rapid-fire plot loops and swirls and sweeps unrelentingly through all manner of strange shenanigans; UFOs, swoopy bat-like things lurking in the dark, goth clubs, a lost weekend in Whitby, an Old Dear packing a pistol fired up with the vision of a local tele-evangelist as the anti-christ.

And there’s dragon-porn too. A collection of hand drawn images which “go a bit further than Giger’s artwork” become empowered and manifested by an unspecified and possibly accidental Austin Osman Spare Zos-Kia style sex magic ritual. Knight’s writing leaves everything to the imagination and my mind kept flinging up lurid images from vintage science fantasy paperback covers. Not to mention more terrifying dragon-on-dragon variants.

The book is seamlessly written, and the dialogue is particularly witty and sharp-tongued. Characters seem to emerge progressively, realistically as well-rounded, but not always sympathetic, individuals from the initial homogeneity of a role-player clique. At least, some of them do, one or two remain repellently unfathomable, shady strange secretive huddled and whispering in the corner.

This is an enjoyable read for anyone with an interest in paganism or gaming, you’ll recognise many of the characters among your friends. It would also be an ideal yule gift for any sigil-wielding, dragon-loving dice-tossers you may know.

Better still, give a copy to their girlfriend, who’ll undoubtedly snigger knowingly.

Jean Dark

August 2011

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