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Galveston (Resurrection Man #3)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  698 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
The island of Galveston had been baptized twice--once by water in the fall of 1900 and again by magic during Mardi Gras in 2004. Creatures were born of survivors' joy and sufferers' pain: scorpions the size of dogs, the crying clown, the widow who ate her victims. Galveston forever would be divided between reality and a city locked in an endless Mardi Gras.
Paperback, 464 pages
Published March 26th 2002 by Ace (first published February 28th 2000)
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Jul 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People that love great writing and fantasy
This may be Sean Stewart's best novel, though I have to admit that it is not quite my favourite. Here we see Stewart displaying full mastery of his prose, his characterization, and his depiction of a fully realized magical world. Be warned though, neither the characters, nor the world presented, are always pleasant to behold.

We follow the story of Josh Cane, a young man with a chip on his shoulder due to the constrained circumstances of his life that are the result of his father's loss of a piv
Jul 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Michael by: Krystyn
Shelves: slipstream
What a great book - the best of 2008 so far.

The basic idea: Galveston, Texas experiences a magical disaster and is cut off from the rest of the world. The city itself is divided into the mundane and real, and the never-ending twilight world of Mardi Gras.

Stewart illustrates his ideas so vividly throughout the novel; I would call his illustrative skill his greatest strength. There's so much going on, and so many facets - poker, apocalypse, Southern Gothic, gentle magic, and the flawed characters.
Anya Weber
Aug 28, 2009 rated it it was ok
Wow, what a ponderous and lethargic fantasy novel. I liked the set-up: in the early 21st century, Galveston, Texas is inundated by a flood--but it's a flood of magic, not of water. This magical Flood kills many of the city's inhabitants and also decimates its infrastructure, rendering lots of 20th-century technology useless. So the town has moved on from then as a split community: the "real" Galveston, where various factions of people struggle to make the best of their suddenly-primitive situati ...more
Jan 22, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: think galactic
Shelves: fantasy
In 2004, waves of magic engulf the world and pull it into madness. In Galveston, Texas, two women hold back the flood of magic. With the help of the Mardi Gras Krewes and Momus, a trickster god, Jane and Odessa quarantine the magic into a never-ending carnival; anyone who demonstrates magic is killed or sent there. A generation later, Jane is dying and her only child, Sloane, bargains with Momus so she won't have to watch her mother die. But of course, there is a loophole--and Sloane is caught u ...more
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fantasy: World Fantasy Award for Best Novel (2001)

From the author: “This is your Basic ‘Boy Meets Girl, Boy Loses Everything, Girl becomes her Own Evil Twin, Boy Is Framed For Murder and Sent Along With Sidekick To Be Eaten By Cannibals, and Things Get Worse When The Weather Turns Bad’ story.”

Okay, that sounds a bit intense and, truth be told, it all happens - as does so much else.

I had no idea what to expect when I picked up Galveston. The title caught my eye, as I've been to Galveston many t
José Vázquez
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Más cercana a la novela de costumbres, casi el reverso de la moneda del realismo mágico latinoamericano (situaciones realistas en un mundo mágico), Galveston es posiblemente la mejor novela postapocalíptica fantástica que he leído, sobre todo porque no recuerdo otra. Partiendo de una premisa relativamente manida (La magia vuelve al mundo), Galveston trata la historia de una ciudad que se resiste como puede a caer en la barbarie mágica. Una ciudad dividida entre la parte humana, donde las cosas c ...more
Apr 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011, apocalyptic
This is such a wonderful book.

Part of me saying this is that the book is local. That's unusual for Houston. While some novels may be set in Houston, it's a nebulous Houston that can be substituted for any moderately large city out there, except that they have people wearing cowboy hats and boots, so it's obvious the authors have never been here for any length of time.

This book, though, is absolutely anchored here. It mentions local landmarks often. And while the book is understandable without th
Mar 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: booksilike
I'm starting to love Sean Stewart's work--it's heartfelt and human, even as it deals in magic, mystery, speculation, and madness. Being from Texas, I especially love the works that are set here (Galveston, Perfect Circle, Mockingbird), but I've just started reading one of his Canadian novels (The Night Watch) and so far enjoying it almost as much, although the locations and cultural references aren't as familiar. Galveston may be my favorite so far, though--it's a sad novel, in many ways, but al ...more
Sam Musher
It took awhile to get going for me, and I found the poker metaphor heavy-handed (about half the references to playing your hand could have been edited out and I still would have felt like, ok, I get it), but I'm very glad I read it. It's the novel version of my beloved A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster, in which a post-apocalyptic world mostly sucks it up and imperfectly bands together to make the most functional community they can manage, in the way ...more
Dec 17, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The third time wasn't the charm. This was the third Sean Stewart book in a row I stopped reading after the first chapter or so. Like Mockingbird, Galveston is an interesting concept, but the writing is too pedestrian to fully develop it.
Jan 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, 2008
I hadn't realized that the book takes place in the same universe as his previous books Resurrection Man and Night Watch, which I hadn't read. The books are about different characters in different places at different times, but they all deal with the same central conceit: magic in the real world. For Galveston, the key event is the Flood of 2004, when magic suddenly seeped into the world entire. In the resulting cataclysm, Galveston Island was cut off from a civilization now bereft of technology. ...more
Chris Branch
Dec 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
I rated this book 8/10 back when I first read it in '04, and I remembered it being fantastic and intense, but somehow couldn't remember the ending. So, after a re-read, my rating stands (translated to Goodreads' more limited 4/5), but I can see why I didn't remember the ending. Up until about three quarters of the way through, I was prepared to give it a 9 or a 10. Most of the book is indeed fantastic, in the sense of being a great read as well as a near perfect example of contemporary fantasy. ...more
Sep 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
This fine work of magical realism is set in a fictional near future Galveston, TX. In this version of the world, magic started to seep into the world, and, in 2004, overflowed in and event referred to as The Flood. Ghosts became commonplace and palpable, some people mutated into fantastical beasts, some people gained magical powers, and all sort of miracles and metaphysical phenomena began manifesting. The authorities of Galveston have been able to hold the magic at bay for a couple of decades, ...more
Feb 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-pre-12-07, own
A highly original, gritty fantasy. In the year 2004, there was a Flood -- not of water, but of magic, which has destroyed most of civilization and left twisted magical beings in its wake. The Flood hit Galveston, TX in the middle of the Mardi Gras celebration, but thanks to the work of the witch woman Odessa, the island survived. Now, half the island struggles to survive with failing technology and ever-decreasing supplies of modern medicine, eking subsistence out of the sea. In the other half o ...more
John Robinson
Feb 10, 2017 rated it liked it
I picked up this book ages ago in Vancouver, and I really want to like it...
But...I couldn't. Just...meh. I'm kind of surprised it won the World Fantasy Award...must have been a slow year for them.
Magical apocalypse, hilarity ensues.
This novel is set in a post-apocalyptic Galveston where the rational world of modern civilization was thrown down by a massive surge of magic in 2004. This is NOT an attractive magical universe. The citizens of the island survive between what they can grow (and fish) locally, trade for with their close neighbors, and what items that they can scavenge, repair, or modify from the pre-apocalypse world. Even the rich and powerful have a life that is fairly squalid by the standards of a modern Americ ...more
Apr 21, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: literature
Haunting little book. I'm a fan of the alternate contemporary reality type of books. Note that this is not a two parallel universe (ala Neverwhere) but a alternate future where magic rules the world while the survivors cling to what's left of industrialized civilization that they can. Well thought through and an entertaining read. I was a third of the way through last night and just burned through the rest of the book. Does start a little slow but once it gets moving it really goes. Of course, a ...more
Oct 19, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, novels
I didn't enjoy this as much as Stewart's "Passion Play" -- but I still became engrossed by his vision of a gritty, grimly-determined Galveston in the wake of the return of magic to the world. This magic is chaotic, dangerous, often grotesque; and it's held at bay through the merciless exiling of any citizen who begins to show signs of being touched by it.

The main characters, Sloane Gardner and Josh Cane, are each brought to confrontations with themselves, their family histories, their society, m
Jan 03, 2009 added it
Shelves: unfinished
ETA: Life's too short to read stuff that sounds like terrible fan-fic.

This has generally gotten good reviews, and I'm only about 70 pages in, but damn, right now it's only my hatred of abandoning books keeping me going. That's not entirely true; I really like the premise, but so far the execution sucks. It's self-indulgent, racist, sexist, and trying too hard. Also, I think if I have to read one more description of the main character's boobs (I'm sorry, "breasts"), I'm going to throw the book ac
Jun 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Galveston experiences the effects of magic during Mardi Gras, 2004. Creatures are born of survivors' happiness and sufferers' pain - dog-sized scorpions, a crying clown, and a widow who eats her victims. Part of the city is locked into a never-ending Mardi Gras. The heroine is Sloan Gardner who comes to the city to see her stepfather, Momus, and finds herself locked into the Mardi Gras, victim of a twisted prank by him. Meanwhile, what happens to the people on the other side can never be changed ...more
Kristi Thompson
Mar 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Excellent novel, I liked it much more than the Night Watch. Play the hand you're dealt. The poker bits reminded me a bit like that Tim Powers. Is poker inherently fantastical?

There's something very great and disturbing in the way that magic is presented as wonderful, strange and bizarrely beautiful, everything magic was ever meant or thought to be, and yet, and because of that, horrifying and completely inimical to the modern human.
Dec 28, 2016 rated it liked it
The good:

Takes place on Galveston where I spend a lot of time. It was fun imagining the plot happening on home turf. Every once in a while the author would present a beautifully written sentence or a wonderfully descriptive phrase.

The bad:

Fantasy is not my genre and this was pure fantasy. I had a pretty hard staying with the book for that reason. The poker theme running throughout the book got pretty worn out by the end.
Jun 20, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: dark, fantasy-sf
This one is set in the same world-premise as Stewart's Resurrection Man and The Night Watch. Magic swept into the world like a hurricane in 2004 and humans in Galveston have been trying to ward it off for nearly a generation as the remnants of civilization crumble. The fantasy was darker than I've been in the mood for, but the narrative was extremely compelling - it wouldn't let me go.
Dec 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Galveston started a bit slow but I am glad I stuck with it. It was very original, creative and intelligent. Sean Stewart gives an interesting spin on magic and makes profound statements on the effects of natural disasters on human behavior. His characters are wonderfully complex and well-realized. I highly recommend this book.
Jul 01, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sff
Brilliant if bleak novel of Galveston after a second flood--this one stripping away technology's leavings and installing a Masque, among other forms of magic. It is, as one of the characters says, about civilization--what people do in spite of hardship.
Nov 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
The best way to describe this book: the plot was flimsy. Definitely needed more...something. I was more entertained by yelling "I've been there!" out loud when the text mentioned a familiar place (I live on Galveston Island) than by the actual story.
A really excellent the-magic-came-back apocalypse, right up there with Stephen Boyett's Ariel. And now I have the whimsical desire to visit Galveston despite the risk of hurricanes, mosquitoes, and tricky minor deities.
Dec 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
I am not usually a fan of futuristic/fantasy novels. However this one captivated me. It had just the right amount of historical accuracy blended withfantasy/science fiction along with some excellent characters and dual story lines. Really enjoyed the read!
Tade Thompson
Aug 13, 2014 rated it liked it
This book starts off well and held my interest all the way to the end, but not consistently. In fact I felt I had to force myself to finish the last quarter.
The characters of Josh, Sloane and Ham were interesting enough and the plot was serviceable, but I feel the book didn't quite hit the spot.
Mar 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: books-i-own
I found this book at one of those 'book sale" stores, and it was one of the best purchases I ever made. Sean Stewart's unique brand of magic captivates right from the start. This book is pure gold, a great introduction to Sean Stewart's writing.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Sean Stewart (born June 2, 1965) is a U.S.-Canadian science fiction and fantasy author.

Born in Lubbock, Texas, Sean Stewart moved to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in 1968. After stints in Houston, Texas, Vancouver, British Columbia, Irvine, California and Monterey, California,
More about Sean Stewart

Other books in the series

Resurrection Man (3 books)
  • Resurrection Man (Resurrection Man, #1)
  • The Night Watch (Resurrection Man, #2)
“He noticed Miss Bettie was wearing a watch, a steel Rolex with diamond chips. "What time is it?" he asked. Miss Bettie glanced at him and laughed. "You do seem to have difficulty remembering, don't you? Well, then, I shall tell you. It's now, Joshua Cane. Always and only now.” 2 likes
“One of the hardest lessons we all have to learn is how few choices life gives to a civilized woman with any conscience at all.” 0 likes
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