[FoRK] More Vellum was Re: The Book of All Hours

Jeff Bone <jbone at place.org> on Sun Jun 10 16:46:16 PDT 2007

The first half of the book (sort of) wraps up one story arc in a  
frenzy of death and rebirth in the Deep South, the future, and  
ancient history.  It's X-Files meets Robert Rodriguez under the  
careful tutelage of Sir James Frazier.  Then we're off on a bizarre  
interlude, and intermezzo that's pure Lord Dunsany chasing the  
dragon, possessing the trembling hand of Poppy Z. Brite, or maybe  
it's Philip Jose Farmer.  Then almost without warning we've jarringly  
slid into a hallucinatory tale of Prometheus set among broken, ruined  
memories of trench warfare in the Somme, 1919 and thereabouts.  The  
hypnotic, sonorous stylings of Mervyn Peake make a cameo appearance,  
as does Peake himself, would've missed that cameo had I not *just*  
been contemplating the Peake-ish quality of some of the framing  
prose.  Then we're smack into something like an illicit and tawdry  
tryst between Pynchon and James Joyce, with the meter and fine tricks  
on language of Shakespeare and the elusions of Dylan Thomas slipping  
through the cracks in the prose.

Things calm down a bit there, and we're off on a brooding version of  
a Raiders-esque tale of Nazis and archaeologists chasing lost cities  
and ancient artifacts of great power;  well, there's a Convenant,  
after all, draw your own conclusions.  It's pure pulp ala Clark  
Ashton Smith and all those other alternate historians.  Another nod  
to Lovecraft:  e-mails to a miskatonic.edu address.  The tale told  
through correspondence slices back and forth across a century.   
There's political intrigue and not a little bit of sly commentary on  
politics and economics;  conspiracy theory woven and unraveled (R.A.  
Wilson again) and Joyce, Joyce, bloody Joyce.  Julian Jaynes, Noam  
Chomsky, and H. Rider Haggard hanging out in a seedy speakeasy....   
the whole thing rather a lot to absorb.

Dizzy.  Dizzy.

This thing is a tour de force, and the second book (Ink) shows no  
signs of relenting thus far.


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