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Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

Ack-Ack Macaque
Gareth L. Powell
Progress: 249/792 pages
Introduction to Topology
Bert Mendelson
Progress: 10/224 pages
Isaac Newton
James Gleick
Progress: 20/289 pages
Basics of Plasma Astrophysics
Claudio Chiuderi, Marco Velli
Progress: 58/250 pages
Ursula K. Le Guin: The Complete Orsinia: Malafrena / Stories and Songs (The Library of America)
Brian Attebery, Ursula K. Le Guin
Progress: 454/700 pages
A Student's Guide to Lagrangians and Hamiltonians
Patrick Hamill
Progress: 7/180 pages
Complete Poems, 1904-1962
E.E. Cummings
Progress: 232/1102 pages
The Complete Plays and Poems
E.D. Pendry, J.C. Maxwell, Christopher Marlowe
Gravitation (Physics Series)
Kip Thorne;Kip S. Thorne;Charles W. Misner;John Archibald Wheeler;John Wheeler
Progress: 48/1215 pages
I Am a Cat
Graeme Wilson, Aiko Ito, Sōseki Natsume
Progress: 410/638 pages
The Glass Tower: Three Doorways into The Otherworld - Catherine Fisher The Conjuror's Game:
A short fantasy based around the Celtic board-game, fidchell, the rules for which are lost. Fisher's first novel is slight, though pacey, and reminiscent of early Alan Garner.

The Candleman:
Another short work, this time using the Celtic notion of the "spirit of plsce", in the form of Hafren, Spirit of the Severn. (Hafren is the Welsh name for the Severn.) Hafren is as devious, capricious, deceptive and malicious as the waters of the Severn Estuary and she wants the land along her Welsh shore, reclaimed by humans, back. She will use the life of the Candleman, trapped by a curse in an ordinary candle, to get it. If the candle is ever burned completely away, the Candleman will die...and he's lost the stump of it that remains....

Many folk have used personifications of places and weather magic in their fantasy fiction, but I can't recall another one using the spirit of a river in quite such a central and dramatic way. For the area she describes, which is below sea level, flooding is a real risk when storm and tide combine and Fisher evokes that fear well, even amongst those who know nothing of the supernatural enemy they face.

Fintan's Tower:
The final short novel in this volume extrapolates ideas from Welsh Celtic myth and is very similar to the first in scope and tone. It is at its best in our world, not the Other one, which feels hardly real because it is so under-developed.

Worthwhile for The Candleman, which shows the imagination, atmosphere and tension Fisher is capable of, but the bracketing pair are slight indeed. It appears that Fisher has developed greatly as a writer over the course of her twenty or so published novels.