A Moment of Doubt: A Publishers Weekly Review

A Moment of Doubt

Publishers Weekly

A detective novelist on the skids sustains a bored dalliance with his computer in this raunchy early work by Nisbet (Wayward Passage) written in the early 1980s and now being sent out into the world. Nisbet proves to be a sly stylist as he chronicles the unlikely relationship between the writer and his machine, an uneasy collaboration at a time when computers were just becoming common household items. The narrator, author Jas Jameson, is mostly plucking at inspiration for his next detective novel by trolling through fantasy fodder in the form of erotic exchanges real or imagined, such as a phone sex “meeting” between himself and editor Matilde Michelov at Crow Mignon books, who wants to publish his languishing last novel. Gradually, Jameson is consumed by his computer and software that offer to write and publish the novel for him, but mostly the author(s) break for salacious scenes. Against the backdrop of a seedy San Francisco, Nisbet’s novel takes a good self-conscious stab at the hard-boiled private dick, the publishing biz, and the culture of writing.

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