The sequel volume to Niven’s fantasy The Magic Goes Away is of mixed merit. On the whole, however, I liked these short stories somewhat better than the novel that provided their milieu. The best of them was the one that was furthest from the novel’s original plot and characters: Steven Barnes’ “…but fear itself,” which introduced the idea of a secret survival of magic into modern times, with ancient Africa as its headspring. [via]
This novel seems to pride itself on the rationality with which it presents the possibility of ancient thaumaturgy. Still, the theory of magic involved is pretty meager, and sustains little reflection. The book is too slow-paced to qualify as ripping adventure, and the prose style and characterizations rate no special acclaim. It does succeed to a certain degree as a parable about the economy of fossil fuels.
The illustrations are pretty, and complement the text nicely. The laudatory afterword isn’t much worth reading, except that it did provide me with the genre term “logical fantasy,” which I now use for library tagging purposes. [via]
The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.