Two Smash and Grab Reviews

 

 

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You know I don’t spend a lot of time on reviews, so strap in your seatbelt, and here we go!

John C. Wright’s third installment of his Hermetic six-pack, hexology, hexeology moves the action along by some 36 hours. That may seem a worry since he has stated the series ends at the end of the world. But the story moves more in its meaning than its transmission through time. There is, essentially, two trials, a mind boggling tomb-battle, and an old-fashioned gun duel that never happens because the book is basically a mystery story and the resolution renders the duel moot.

There is a tremendous amount of dialogue in the book (I like dialogue) which is good because this is a huge tapestry that Wright is weaving that started in the previous book. A lot of it is dispersed throughout the tomb-trials that result in the tomb-battle (that is uber-cool). The rest of the dialogue is between the two protagonists. That is really good because these two haven’t (if memory serves) met for some 8,000 years, and we haven’t been privy to all of their actions nor what has been behind them. And the bad guy is deliciously drawn by Wright.

It was a great, very fast read. Mr Wright delivers in a huge payoff. And, as is always true for Mr. Wright, everything is thrown in, including the kitchen sink and the plumber.

I kind of feel bad reviewing these two books in one post. I feel I give Mr. Wright the short end here. But on one hand Mr. Wright’s series is just too gigantic to get in anything succinct to even approach an explanation. On the other, a Lafferty review is easy to make it sound like I have said something, but I may have said nothing at all. So I will only say I greatly enjoyed Judge of Ages. I read it in less than half the time of most books. The climax was great, and the story came with all the extravagance, and mind-boggling Uber-ness one expects of him.

Now go buy it!

madmademodels

 

A book review of anything Lafferty always consists of discussing his writing style and his universe, never about the actual story itself. I am no different. You can’t discuss a Lafferty story from a single perspective. You can grope in a general way about his writing as such and not make much sense. And, of course, you can drily relate, journalistically, X happened to so and so, and then this, and then this happened. Which is to say you are not talking about the story at all.

Anyone, and everyone has, who has had the experience of waking up from a dream and trying to explain it to someone else and failing, knows what I mean. And then, even trying to recollect more than the feeling or the exact experience in your head fails after a short time. You can try to have the dream again. And months later, you do. But it is not the same dream – not exactly – maybe not at all. That is a Lafferty story.

The reason how this happens is plainly told by Lafferty in a simple sentence early in his story Jack Bang’s Eyes.

There are a dozen different ways of looking at people and things.

I haven’t finished the stories that comprise the first volume of Lafferty shorts yet. But I do not have to to write this review. I will read them all.

But Lafferty is like a very, very rare wine with very distinct and sui generis flavors. Type in his name on Google and you will hear pretty much the same thing from anyone who has ever read him. He is to be sipped. A story a day… maybe.

I knew I had entered his strange universe again with the first sentence of the first story.

Jon Skaber, the Light Swede, made models.

It would not take you long, if you were uninitiated, to recognize you were already in his universe with that sentence.

One may wonder if this is a positive or negative review. I love his work, that is all I can say. He is not for everyone. If your model of an ideal book is the latest James Patterson book, you will certainly not like Lafferty. But I find Patterson (and the Grishams, etc) to be the definition of hell – if I were forced to read them.

Perhaps an analogy would help. Pretend you are the square from Abott’s Flatland. Lafferty is going to take you to all the other dimensions.

And some of them are pretty twisted.

But remember, when you get back, and just like your dreams, don’t tell anyone as that would be futile. Even Lafferty’s universe falls under the rule:

There are a dozen different ways of looking at people and things.

They will have to go themselves.

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