By Josh Winning
ISBN-10 – 1789098610
ISBN-13 – 1789098617
Available at AMAZON
Jack Corman is failing at life.
Jobless, jaded and on the “wrong” side of thirty, he’s facing the threat of eviction from his London flat while reeling from the sudden death of his father, one-time film director Bob Corman. Back in the eighties, Bob poured his heart and soul into the creation of his 1986 puppet fantasy The Shadow Glass, a film Jack loved as a child, idolising its fox-like hero Dune.
But The Shadow Glass flopped on release, deemed too scary for kids and too weird for adults, and Bob became a laughing stock, losing himself to booze and self-pity. Now, the film represents everything Jack hated about his father, and he lives with the fear that he’ll end up a failure just like him.
In the wake of Bob’s death, Jack returns to his decaying home, a place creaking with movie memorabilia and painful memories. Then, during a freak thunderstorm, the puppets in the attic start talking. Tipped into a desperate real-world quest to save London from the more nefarious of his father’s creations, Jack teams up with excitable fanboy Toby and spiky studio executive Amelia to navigate the labyrinth of his father’s legacy while conjuring the hero within––and igniting a Shadow Glass resurgence that could, finally, do his father proud.
Okay, so The Shadow Glass isn’t enitirely Horror but, considering some of the trauma inflicted upon those of us of a certain age by a lot of the 80’s “kid’s” films that influenced The Shadow Glass, I think we can allow it!
And this is my site, so…
Having said that however, there are definite “horror” elements to the Shadow Glass.
Magical creatures, witches, evil minions, death and destruction all play a part in Jack’s adventure as he fights to find the Shadow Glass and save the once imaginary world of Iri. This is a classic hero’s journey that we have seen in so many films and books over the years; Jack is jaded and needs an adventure to show him what really matters in life and to come to terms with his father’s death.
But, just because it is a well-trod path, this does not make it dull.
Shadow Glass is everything a fan of fantasy adventure could want. Anyone who loves those classics from the 80s, such a Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal and The NeverEnding Story will see their influence in the pages of the Shadow Glass. This is an homage that is born out of love, and it is clear that Josh adores those classics. The Shadow Glass, for this almost 50-year-old, is like putting on a warm coat of nostalgia and being a kid again.
Jack is joined on his quest by super fan Toby, his nerdy gang and by Zavanna and Brol, two residents of Iri, magically brought to life by the power of The Shadow Glass. Despite his seeming hatred for his father’s creation and the fans that adore it, Jack is going to have to come to terms with his issues and embrace his new friends and allys if he is going to have any chance of saving Iri.
It’s a book that will delight people of all ages unless you are as jaded at life as Jack is, in which case, perhaps you need this book even more than the rest of us?
Josh Winning is a nostalgia nut, book/film lover and author of The Shadow Glass, The Times’s Book of the Month, which is perfect for fans of Henson Company puppet classics like Labyrinth and Dark Crystal, and The NeverEnding Story.
He is senior film writer at Radio Times, contributing editor at Total Film magazine, writer at SFX and Den of Geek, and the co-host of movie podcast Torn Stubs. He has been on set with Kermit the Frog (and Miss Piggy), devoured breakfast with zombies on The Walking Dead, and sat on the Iron Throne on the Dublin set of Game of Thrones.
Josh lives in London with his cat Penny and dreams of one day convincing Sigourney Weaver to yell “Goddammit!” at him.