THROWBACK THURSDAY: REVIEWING A REISSUE
Aging artist Frank Lazorg starts using a new pigment that was sent to him mysteriously. But the pigment has the effect of a psychotic drug and Lazorg, after inviting back one of his favorite models to be painted, he commits a horrible act and finds himself falling through a woman-shaped hole and into an alternate reality. Here, things are more different that one can possibly imagine. Fortunately for Lazorg, he is taken in and cared for by Crutchsump, a bone scavenger, and taught the way of life. When Lazorg settles in and realizes that he’s probably in this strange land to stay he begins to think how he might be able to contribute to Crutchsump’s household and to society. It makes sense to him, of course, to return to his profession of art. There’s only one problem. Art doesn’t exist here. The concept of something representing something else is a concept Crutchsump understands, but painting is beyond his ken. For, “There’s simply no way to make something of lesser dimensions stand in for something of higher dimensions. Every child knows that.” But even when Lazorg tries to make his own paints and canvas, he finds that in this reality, art simply doesn’t adhere to the canvas and he can’t even see shapes and colors when he tries to create.
But instead of art, this reality has “ideation” – best described as a form of sculpture in which the ideator pulls material out of another dimension to shape and create the representation of a thing. Lazorg asks to apprentice to a local ideator and takes the form to a new level, creating portraits of people in this reality.
This book (novella?) is one of the most creative works I’ve read in a long time. In addition to writing about a world that doesn’t have and can’t comprehend the idea of art, author Paul Di Filippo also tackles the idea of sexual congress in a very foreign manner. It makes for a wild ride.
I mentioned that this was a very creative work. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything by Di Filippo before, but I certainly would again. This reminded me of Harlan Ellison, or Thomas Disch, or Norman Spinrad. That’s some great company to be compared to!
But it wasn’t quite tight enough for a full five-star review. The ending felt rushed (as though any more would take it out of the novella category). And the first two portions of the book were so vastly different that they don’t really tie together. And there are questions that remain unanswered after the ending. Still, this was good crazy and I’m really glad I read it.
Looking for a good book? Cosmocpia, by Paul Di Filippo, is a trippy tale that comes from another dimension and shows that the “New Wave” science fiction movement is still alive.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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author: Paul Di Filippo
publisher: Open Road Media
ebook, 132 pages