The Last Hot Time

Posted by : atcampbell | On : April 1, 2003

The Last Hot Time by John M. Ford

This discussion at Judy and Jeff’s home drew fifteen participants, including one first-timer. Our topic was John M. Ford’s The Last Hot Time, a novel about a young paramedic who stumbles into a fairy world resembling North America in the 1930s, but with gangster elves. All but one of us had started and finished the book.

We found much to like. Enjoyable elements included sympathetic characters with good characterizations, clear prose, and a literary narrative style that reveals information in a carefully chosen manner. Some of the scenery was interesting, including a fantastic aquarium. The moral and ethical crises that faced the paramedic in his life-saving adventures were moving.

There were problems. The book’s serious tone was unexpectedly and not what most of us wanted. The meandering plot seemed to go nowhere. And there were surprisingly uninteresting scenes of gratuitous kinky sex. Many of us felt that story was such a patchwork that it was probably created from a bunch of short stories welded together.

Many people in our group are published or aspiring writers. The writers in our group tended to like The Last Hot Time. The rest of us found the book’s literary strengths were outweighed by its other problems. Several participants complained that this book was far less entertaining than Aaron Allston’s Doc Sidhe books, which take place in a similar world.

Overall we felt The Last Hot Time was an interested but flawed book. After the meeting we had a nice dinner at Buca di Beppo.

–A. T. Campbell, III