Monday, February 26, 2007

Can't we all just get along?

James Blaylock is an fantasy writer in the mold of Tim Powers. Both write fantasy novels where seemingly mundane events in our world are actually being guided by supernatural forces. Blaylock appears to have had less success than Powers as many of his books, including All the Bells on Earth, are out of print.

That's too bad as All the Bells on Earth, at least, is a gentle and appealing book. The story starts out violently with two deaths and sets up a battle between the forces of good and evil. At first it would seem we are going to witness and Exorcist-esque battle between priests and minions of Lucifer. While this element remains, the main plot shifts to more of a domestic drama. The plot centers on a few citizens of a small town who are choosing whether to be selfish (evil) or giving and forgiving (good.) The shift in emphasis was peculiar, but worked out both thematically and actually made sense given the plot. It could be disappointing for those who want more of the fire and brimstone. It never quite goes away, but it is much more in the background.

On a separate note, the book was written in the early 90s and the weak economy and the weak housing market are key plot points. It's funny to think how quickly things can change.

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