From a piece by John C. Wright, from a few years ago: In none of the stories I just mentioned, even stories where the image of Our Lord in His suffering nailed to a cross is what drives back vampires, is any mentioned made of the Christ. Is is always an Old Testament sort of God ruling Heaven, or no one at all is in charge. So why in Heaven’s name is Heaven always so bland, unappealing, or evil in these spooky stories? I can see the logic of the artistic decisions behind these choices, honestly, I can. If I were writing these series, I would have (had only I been gifted enough to do it) done the same and for the same reason. It is the same question that George Orwell criticized in his review of THAT HIDEOUS STRENGTH by CS Lewis. In the Manchester Evening News, 16 August 1945, Orwell writes that the evil scientists in the NICE [the National Institute of Coordinated Experiments, who are the Black Hats of the yarn] are actually evil magicians of a modern, materialist bent, in communion with ‘evil spirits.’ Orwell comments: Mr. Lewis appears to believe in the existence of such
As you may have determined from my review of Somewhither, I have been impressed by the work of John C. Wright. Somewhither was an awesome roller coaster ride with as much depth as it had spectacle. Iron Chamber of Memory is different. It is a much slower burn. Don’t get me wrong, there is action, adventure, and derring-do. There is also romance, though in more than one sense. I’ll get to that in a bit. Slower burn or no, unlike Somewhither, I read Iron Chamber of Memory in a day. Thanksgiving Day, to be precise. It’s taken me this long to write the review because how to review such a book was a bit of a conundrum. The story starts out with Hal Landfall, a poor graduate student working on a paper on Arthurian legend, looking for his missing friend Manfred on the island of Sark. (Sark is a real place, a small island in the English Channel, just east of Guernsey.) Manfred has recently become the hereditary lord of Sark, and Hal is seeking him in the middle of the night, at a bizarrely labyrinthine mansion where the Lords of Sark reside, presently unoccupied. (Unlike the island, the mansion,
How does one describe John C Wright’s Somewhither? That is, indeed the question. While this book won the Dragon Award for Best Science Fiction novel this year, Science Fiction doesn’t quite cover it. In some ways, it’s about as Science Fictional as Star Wars. But since it deals with multiple parallel universes, with technological interfacing between them, I suppose the label “Science Fiction” works. It could just as well have been called “Philosophical/Metaphysical Action Adventure,” though even that wouldn’t quite cover it.