mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli
mordicai

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The Possible City. (17)

Thunderer by Felix Gilman.

The bloody white dress
fluttered down, a broken flag,
into the River.

I liked Felix Gilman's Half-Made World so much I had to chase down his earlier works. Thunderer is about a City. You know, a Metropolis, a Gotham, an archetypal urban center-- well, really I should say it is a Sigil, an Amber, a Tabelorn, if I want to be accurate. Ararat is the city where the gods walk, but not lightly. It is a city on the edge of chaos, streets recharted because a god stooped down there, buildings radically changed when a god knocks upon the door. The gods are forces of nature, reckless & loose, & Ararat is vast, maybe infinite. It reads, to me at least, like a novel spun out of a campaign setting, which is isn't something I have any problem with. There are details that strike me-- the Spider's cult as a sort of "Lottery in Babylon," the legends of the Tuvar as a sort of exegesis of the Bible, bodies buried in the cement of bridges as sacrifices, the etymology of the word "atlas" in a world without Greek mythology (60, 91, 217, 255). I can't help but see bits of Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun & Book of the Long Sun scattered about-- having a deuteragonist named "Silk" will do that, I guess. In particular, the man of wires in the prison reminded me of the Green Man Severian encounters-- though Silk fails to rescue him. I liked Thunderer just fine, but it wasn't a speck on Half-Made World, if you ask me. The cover was kind of terrible, but at least they put a slightly better one on the paper back. There were flashes of potential in here, but it just didn't quite come together. I have high hopes for the next volume, however!
Tags: books, gilman, haiku
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