Tag Archives: John C. Wright

‘Somewhither,’ by John C. Wright

Somewhither

Now there are people who like it when bathing beauties kick the butts of beefy mobsters in TV shows and stuff, but that is just TV, and if you think that is real, you need to get out more, and get in more fights.

I read a lot of novels, as you’ve probably noticed. A few I don’t bother to finish. Some I like, but they leave no impression. Others I like a lot. A very few I admire exceedingly.

But it’s not often I find a book that’s just a whole lot of fun. John C. Wright’s Somewhither is just that. I’m not sure it’s a great work of art, but it could become a classic of the Wizard of Oz variety. Because the entertainment rewards are so great.

Here’s a book whose hero is a Neanderthal boy, in a bathrobe, with a samurai sword. The heroine is a mermaid named Penny Dreadful.

There’s a Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy vibe here, but underneath the many gags (sometimes too many, perhaps) there’s serious purpose and Christian edification. Continue reading ‘Somewhither,’ by John C. Wright

‘Iron Chamber of Memory,’ by John C. Wright

They spent a few moments looking for her dropped hat, gradually circling out from the path as they searched, but they did not find it. It seemed the wind had taken it away and hidden it somewhere among the trees. He found the size of them oddly disquieting, rather like seeing a cow taller than a man.

I have shot my mouth off more than once – publicly – about my low opinion of most contemporary Christian fantasy. When I do that (and I expect I’ll do it again) I need to make a clear exception for a very few writers. One of those is John C. Wright, author of the new ebook, Iron Chamber of Memory.

If I had to find a comparison for this work, the closest thing I can think of is George MacDonald’s Lilith. It takes place (mostly) in a world which is ours, but not quite the same as ours. And there are excursions to worlds even stranger.

Hal Landfall, the hero, is an American student at Oxford University. His best friend is Manfred Hathaway, who has just inherited the Channel island of Sark, “the last feudal government in Europe.” On Sark no automobiles are permitted, and no electric lights burn at night. Manfred is engaged to the beautiful Laurel. Hal is attracted to her too, but would never dream of making a move on his friend’s fiancée.

But that’s in our world. There is a secret room in Manfred’s manor house in which all the relationships are different, and all the identities somehow altered. But Hal only remembers this when he enters that room – so he has to leave himself messages, to “trick” himself into going there.

And that room is only the first of a series of secret rooms…

Iron Chamber of Memory is simply a wonderful fantasy story – an original and unforgettable work of imagination. It’s about memory, and it’s about sex – or rather, erotic love. Not a dirty book, but I wouldn’t give it to younger readers. C.S. Lewis described That Hideous Strength as a “fairy tale for adults,” and that’s what this is.

Splendid stuff. Much recommended. There are a few copyreading errors (or I think they are), especially where Manfred repeatedly gets called Mandrake for no apparent reason. I assume that’s an incomplete search an replace job in the word processing, though there may be a subtle message being sent that I’m just too dense to comprehend.

Anyway, read this book. Especially if you’re a MacDonald fan. Strong Protestants may take issue with some Roman Catholic sentiments expressed.

Also, what a great cover!

Fantasy Dressed Up as Sci-Fi

Author John C. Wright argues against the ‘It Ain’t Gunna Happen’ camp of science fiction with his own Space Princess camp. One side says we will never find intelligent life on other planets or build our own colonies there. The other side says, not only is there intelligent life out there, but the women are remarkably hot and need to be rescued by noble earthmen.

One side says, “Psionics is just magic wearing a lab coat.” The other side says, “Without psionics, there is no way to speak and understand the space princess when you first meet her. Learning a new space-language without psionic aid involves many long and boring sessions with philologists and translators and grammarians, which is all hogwash and humbug. Space Princesses can read minds just enough so that you can talk to them. That is settled.”

You can see where this is going.

Is this kind of argument having assumed your conclusions really that different from the supposedly serious argument put forward in this Canadian propoganda, which says Science is a political value we must all support?

‘One Bright Star to Guide Them,’ by John C. Wright

“Innocence and faith are the weapons children bring to bear against open evils; wisdom is required to deal with evils better disguised.”

You might be tempted, on the basis of its description, to think John C. Wright’s novella, One Bright Star to Guide Them, is simple Narnia fanfic. A story of four adults, who were once children who entered a magical land peopled by magicians and talking animals.

But it’s more than that. This story is a transposition of Narnia. Author Wright moves the whole concept onto a different level. It’s a meditation on the most terrible line in all the Narnia books – “Susan is no longer a friend of Narnia.” Thomas, the protagonist, is summoned to take up a new fight against a revived evil. But when he contacts his childhood companions, he finds that – for one reason or another – they are not willing to join him. So he has to test his faith alone, except for the help of their old guide, a mystical kitten called Tybalt.

One Bright Star to Guide Them is a quick read, but entirely worthy of the material that inspired it. Beautiful in places. Highly recommended.

John C. Wright on the death of freedom in Science Fiction

By way of our friend Anthony Sacramone (I’d link to his blog, but he’s in one of his hiatuses. Hiati?) an excellent article from Intercollegiate Review, “Heinlein, Hugos and Hogwash,” by John C. Wright concerning the sad state of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, an organization from which I have also withdrawn:

The purpose of all this hogwash is not to aid the plight of minorities. The purpose is power. The purpose is terror.

One need not ignite a suicide-bomb to enact a reign of terror. One need only have the power to hurt a man’s reputation or income, and be willing to use the power in an arbitrary, treacherous, lunatic, and cruel fashion. For this, the poisonous tongue suffices.

At one time, science fiction was an oasis of intellectual liberty, a place where no idea was sacrosanct and no idea was unwelcome. Now speculative fiction makes speculative thinkers so unwelcome that, after a decade of support, I resigned my membership in SFWA in disgust. SFWA bears no blame for all these witch-hunts, or even most; but SFWA spreads the moral atmosphere congenial to the witch-hunters, hence not congenial to my dues money.

Read it all here.