[FoRK] More Vellum was Re: The Book of All Hours
<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.
This thing is a tour de force, and the second book (Ink) shows no
signs of relenting thus far.
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