Thus far my posts about Chris Walley's The Shadow and Night have been positive. There are some objections, however, though I think some are trivial.
Pace. Someone is bound to say that the opening is too slow. I say "someone" because it didn't bother me. This is a very different world, and we need to feel at home with the righteousness involved before we can truly feel the horror of encroaching evil. Besides, the hints that something is amiss do come early and are rather dramatic, especially a dream Merral has. It also makes the shift when Merral and Vero head north far more powerful. (Finally, the target audience for "Short Attention Span Theater" shouldn't be reading novels anyway.)
Science. I had misgivings when I saw the "fantasy" description: "Great. Some dolt is doing Tolkien in Space." Despite the author's misgivings, however, this really is science fiction. It is NOT fantasy. Lewis' "Space Trilogy" was more of a fantasy than this is. And most of the science is good. There is one place, however, that is just plain wrong: the invocation of quantum entanglement as a means of instantaneous interstellar communication. It doesn't work that way. I would suggest either invoking tachyons or perhaps some experimental Below Space communication system of a temperamental nature.
Inconsistency. Considering how cautious the Assembly of Worlds is, I find it hard to believe that they wouldn't have redundant systems, especially where vital items are concerned. This would mess up the dramatic conclusion of the first section and the major on-going temptation of the second, but I would expect some spare parts, so to speak. (I'd be more specific, but that would be a spoiler.)
Dark Angel? One of the quirks of the postmill position is that its proponents are usually cessationists: they deny that miracles still occur. So the importance of dreams and angelic intervention surprised me. But there was an odder oddity: the angel that turns up late in the story sports dark clothing and often seems like a shadow. I'd want to see some ID. When angelic garb in the Bible is described, it's usually blazing white. Why the difference? I don't know. Perhaps Heaven ran out of bleach.
Ending. I was a bit annoyed at the ending, because a relationship issue is brought up but not settled. I would've preferred either settling it, which would cause the story to drag on beyond its obvious end-point, or simply let it go, which would have been better. I can more or less understand what Walley did; I just don't think it tidy.
But this is quibbling. This story combines great beauty with a formidable vision of the danger we are approaching thoughtlessly. So my final word for the tour is simply, "Get it, read it, and share it with others."
Next up (off tour): the whole postmill bit considered a bit more carefully, but still without flaming.
Other blogs on the tour:
Carol Bruce Collett
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Heather R. Hunt
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirtika or Mir's Here
John W. Otte
1 year ago