March 18th, 2010


Von Westhap's Orphanage. (19)

Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis.

"His name is Fatman,"
said the Little Boy, "they say
we have become Death."

I was stopped by the cover of this book; literally arrested. Just a young girl frolicking amidst the skulls in her school girl's uniform. Wearing an armband with a swastika. The back copy reads like stolid 50s era spooks watching Ringu-- but ends with a bit about "It looked like magic without blood. Was that even possible?" So-- I picked it up. It had caught my eye! & you know what? I ended up damn pleased with it. The field of paranormal WWII fetishism seems saturated, but I'm not burnt out, especially not when you've got some solid writing behind it. Tregillis has, particularly, a knack for coining words-- from the military terms like "Milkweed" to German counterparts like "Gotterelektron." I was charmed by this book quite a bit. I ended it with mixed feelings-- I had suspected while I read that it would be part of a trilogy & yes, it is. The Milkweed Triptych he's calling it, which is fine, just fine. The series is steady as paranormal alternate history, but neither the paranormal or the alternate is over the top; he doesn't go for big items, but rather the small stuff. He isn't afraid to make the personal acts the ones that matter, & to show things that might otherwise be glossed over-- like self injury-- without taking them for granted. I'm excited for the next one, whenever it rears its head-- the ending of this novel may be swift on a grand scale, but on a human scale, I'm anxious for more. I know what Milkweed is up to, & I'm awfully curious how it plays out, & what the Red Orchestra puts up against them. To top that off, Tregillis' website is a charming little cabinet of curiosities. Make sure you say hello to the homonculus!