No two persons ever read the same book. --Edmund Wilson

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

2016/58: Fool's Run -- Patricia A. McKillip

"I learned something strange. When you run, you run backwards, you never reach the future. The past runs faster than you and waits for you to reach it. You have to walk out of danger, out of the past. Because you look back when you run, but you look to the future when you walk."[loc. 1737]

Reread: I absolutely adored this novel when I first read it, but haven't revisited it for years. Having recently read Kingfisher -- which reminded me of Fool's Run in its mythic resonance and its relatively sparse imagery -- I wanted to reread this and see if my memory had become rose-tinted.

As usual with rereads, it was interesting to see what I remembered and what I didn't. Last time around, I think I was more focussed on the band and the romance: this time, I found the story of Jase -- unwilling King of an Underworld which is actually an orbitting penal colony -- fascinating. The echoes and distortions of the Orpheus myth are still impressively intricate, and critical of the source: the future, with its First World Government and its Sectors and music from all eras, seems much further away than it did in the Eighties.

Irritatingly, this ebook publication has a problem with typos: specifically, the word 'colour'. We have 'the brilliant colourcoloured lights'[loc. 807], 'a pair of colourrose-coloured cube-sticks' [loc. 1316], the 'colourcolourless or of all colours' [loc. 2198]. And this is, as usual with McKillip, a book full of colour: gold, rose, amethyst ... even Viridian, the surname of the woman whose quest for more light affected so many of the characters.

I wish McKillip wrote SF more often.

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