Imagine a planet dominated by a life form that maintains the soul of all past generations, allowing one day for each past life to control both body and mind. Then since thousands of generations have lived on this planet, each would only regain control—sentient life—for a single day in hundreds and thousands of years. Now imagine a dominant life-form that arose, not from apes, but from cats. Oh, they look basically human but with strange eyes and in perpetual heat. Also, unlike cats who only have nine lives, these civilized felines have thousands of lives.Continue reading “Venus On the Half-Shell”
Here’s what they say at the Library Journal about Steve Erickson’s powerful but ultimately flawed fantasy of the Twentieth Century, Tours of the Black Clock:
Continue reading “Hitler’s Pornographer”
Featuring the improbably named Banning Jainlight, a burly, brutish, cunning writer, this fast-paced narrative makes bold jumps through time and place as it moves from Pennsylvania to Manhattan to a 1930s Vienna in the violent throes of early Naziism. Here Jainlight plies his trade—pornographer to Hitler—and here he learns that “the black clock of the century is stripped of hands and numbers. It is a time in which there’s no measure of time that God understands.” While the book has the delicacy to give a fine portrait of an aging Hitler living out his life in an Italian basement, even sophisticated readers may be confused by the kaleidoscopic vision of our century. — Peter Bricklebank
The Buried Giant
Katsuo Ishiguro has written an ambitious novel projecting worlds of fantasy, metaphysical concepts, and an archetypal quest. If you read it rapidly and don’t stop to make critical enquiry, The Buried Giant is a pretty good entertainment, otherwise if you look to closely it is a failed experiment and a flawed novel.
I was rolling along with the narrative, accepting the stock characters of fantasy like ogres and pixies (despite a nagging feeling that these traditional characters seemed to have been clumsily inserted into the narrative) until the questing crew met up with an aging, but still ready for chivalric battle, Sir Gawain (sans Greene Knight). I don’t know if Ishiguro selected this character to form a tie with the earlier stories of Arthur Pendragon or if Ishiguro just needed a somewhat anachronistic knight to add to his posse, but Gawain was for me an unfortunate choice.