Thursday 20 July 2023

Book review: The Deep

PXL_20230702_114626194~2 This has been my favourite book for a long time. Read this short Goodreads review for overall tone, said better than I can.

One day I must read up on the War of the Roses enough to see how far Crowley really does use it for inspiration; I'd like to see a concordance.

"The World is founded on a Pillar which is founded on The Deep"; this turns out to be true1. The book is beautiful, intricate, carefully fitted together, lovingly polished. The language is spare, elegant; not like Vance, and yet in some way analogous; recognisably not just modern voice2.

My only problem with it is the physics, which obviously doesn't work. This is held in abeyance for most of the book; it is only at the end that we-the-reader find out that it is really true. A directional shield for heaven stones doesn't really make sense, nor does a sun moving in the way described. But it would take considerable effort to invent imaginary physics or cosmology to cover this, which would only be a distraction, so I forgive him.

Many scenes are beautiful. One: Fauconred (or was it Redhand), weary, thinking over: they say life is short but mine seems endlessly long. Two: the circle of Kings and Demons, that turns out to be a spiral. Three: the odd convention of the ancients, of having all, even the stricken bleeding pink guts, smile with teeth.

Oh, and I love the way Red Senlin's son becomes The King Red Senlin's son; and the other names.



1. I recall that phrase... it turns out that I wrote it into wiki in 2006.

2. I now realise I can formalise an objection I have to so many fantasy books: the characters speak like moderns.

3. Somewhere towards the end, Nod talks to the immemorially ancient Leviathan, whose only desire is to sleep under his shield, and resents being woken up by his brother or his creatures. And so says to Nod, who is attempting to question him, "speaking to your ignorance is pain". Often, on sci.environment, I felt like that; or back in the days when I blogged about GW and attempted to explain the obvious to fools. If I've directed you here, perhaps subtly, ponder that. 

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