Review No 2: Pop Mythology

Over on Pop mythology, Matt Hlinak has done an astute review of Unwrapped Sky. There are a lot of things to like about the review. The part that interested me was this:

If the city of Caeli-Amur existed in Earth, it would have to be placed in Europe in 1789, 1848 or 1918. The work clearly draws inspiration from the likes of Mary Shelley, Charles Dickens and Victor Hugo.

Hlinak is perceptive here. Already I can foresee people reading the book as a rewriting of the French Revolution, The Paris Commune, or the Russian Revolution. In each case, the book’s various personalities might stand in for historical leaders, factions for organisations. Thus there’s a temptation to see one character as, perhaps Robespierre or Lenin. Another as Danton or Martov. But Hlinak is right to mention the rough time period, without drawing an obvious analogy, precisely because there is no obvious analogy. The book is the beginning – followed next year by The Stars Askew, and hopefully the year after by Under a Black Sun – of a fantastical reimagining of a 19th-Century/Early 20th century revolutionary process. There are also many non-historic elements. There is, for example, no ‘state’ in the book, or rather there are three ‘mini-states’. And of course there is ‘thaumaturgy’, creatures from classic mythology, and a long-destroyed utopia.

In any case, I think Hlinak has got the gist of it, and his review is pretty perceptive.

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