I tried so hard to make this book work, but I stopped after like 45 pages. I usually try to give sci-fi a good third of the book before quitting, but this on is just too confusing. She takes so many basic concepts so far from their original meanings that it’s hard to get anywhere. I definitely love pushing boundaries, but some sacrifices have to made for the sake of comprehension.
Sit back and imagine if Nietzsche wrote religious fantasy. The basic plot is of a young-ish woman who has religious experiences in a future world where secular religion is considered pseudo, and current religion is based on parables/”Pictures” told by the Tellers. The Founders are similar to “real” saints. It was very distracting to have to read the many odd parables or random streams of consciousness about lions, snakes, and chocolate chip cookies
It’s uncomfortable to be chosen for Great Things. A lot of fantasists admit that, but Pollack’s Jennie Mazdan shows us just how uncomfortable it can be. This is suburban fantasy, reminiscent of Philip K. Dick’s suburban SF, and the protagonist is a nice suburban middle-class person who, in a recognizable America informed with rational, non-Christian divine powers, copes with supernatural imposition on her life. Perfectly balancing the anchoring familiar mundanities against her brilliant, fascinating Living World—surly bureaucrats at the National Oneiric Registration Agency, tourists photographing the Founder’s Urinal shrine in Poughkeepsie—Pollack tells Jennie and Valerie’s story of transformation, acceptance and triumph. Potently stocked with archetypes, yet down-to-earth and even funny, this is great fiction and great fantasy.
About the Author
Rachel Pollack is the author of 41 books, including two award-winning novels, Unquenchable Fire, winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and Godmother Night, winner of the World Fantasy Award. She has also written a series of books about Tarot cards known around the world, a book of poetry, Fortune’s Lover, and has translated, with scholar David Vine, Sophocles’s “Oidipous Tyrannos,” ( “Oedipus Rex”) under the title Tyrant Oidipous. She designed and drew her own Tarot deck, The Shining Tribe Tarot. With artist Robert Place she has created two more decks, The Burning Serpent Oracle, and The Raziel Tarot. She has taught and lectured on four continents. For eleven years she taught in Goddard College’s MFA writing program. Rachel lives in New York’s Hudson Valley.