Breaking the fourth wall: THE FICTIONAL MAN author @Al_Ewing is on a blog tour...

We're very proud of THE FICTIONAL MAN.

Not only is it Al Ewing's first work for Solaris, it's also his first stand-alone novel.

What is real? Well, when you're a fiction publisher then I guess nothing really is - it's all invention. But what happens when the fictional bleeds over into the real, and vice versa? The intriguing idea of stories influencing reality has been explored before, but Al has done something extraordinary with the concept.

And the reviewers have been mightily impressed: SFX magazine not only gave it a cracking FIVE STAR review, calling it an "exhilarating page-turned" and "brilliant", but they also popped an 'SFX Recommends' sticker on it!

Starburst magazine was brimming with praise in its 10 out of 10 star review! And, continuing a theme from many reviewers, This is Horror says "Philip K Dick would have mightily approved" - high praise!

Meanwhile, Fantastical Librarian was "blown away": "not in the least because the more I think about it, the more layers I discover and the more impressive it becomes. There is so much to unpack in this story, it’s amazing. This is definitely a contender to make my best of year list at the end of the year, in quite a high place as well, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find it on awards ballots next year. And you shouldn’t be surprised that I highly recommend it."

As if that weren't enough, Al's been typing furiously away on his blog tour, with some intriguing results. Over at the BSFA, he talks about the influence on his thinking behind THE FICTIONAL MAN of humour magazines such as the Reader's Voice breaking the fourth wall:

"Occasionally, the characters would talk directly to the readers. They’d smile out of the first panel of the strip, setting the scene directly. “I’m off to the county fair, readers!” Next panel – the county fair costs five pence to get into. Jack Pott – or Gilbert Ratchet, in the note-perfect parodies of a vanished artform that still run to this day in Viz – does not have that kind of money."

He continues the theme over at Beauty in Ruins, where his love of comics - where up till now he's mostly worked - has influenced his novel writing:

"Part of the gag – arguably, the gag on which all the other gags rested - was that Ambush Bug knew he was in a comic. In the same way the characters from the kids comics of my youth all had a basic understanding of their fictional status and had regular conversations with their readers, Ambush Bug would have regular set-tos with his writer and artist. By the time I got on board with all this as a kid – the second mini, Son Of Ambush Bug – the Bug was entering his imperial phase, and by that point seemingly every joke was in some way about breaking the fourth wall."

He's also (kinda) talking about the book over on the Freaky Trigger podcast and he talks to Fantastical Imaginations about the genesis of this extraordinary novel.

The Fictional Man is out now in paperback and ebook from the usual channels. You can also read the first chapter FOR FREE over at

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