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Essef / Fantasy - The magnificent, triumphal conclusion to the Majipoor trilogy. A bit about the background: Majipoor is a planet much larger than the Earth, but made of much lighter stuff. It has been settled by humans, Ghayrogs, Skandars, Vroons, Liimen, Hjorts and other alien races for many thousands of years. These races live in an unstable truce with the shape-changing aboriginal inhabitants of the planet, the Piurivar. The planet is ruled by an unusual tetrarchy: the Coronal rules in a highly visible and symbolic manner from his palace atop Castle Mount; the previous Coronal retires to become the Pontifex, the head of the bureaucracy in an underground Labyrinth; the Coronal's mother becomes the Lady of the Isle of Sleep, promoting the morals of Majipoor by sending dreams to its inhabitants; while the mysterious King of Dreams on the distant continent of Suvrael punishes wrongdoers by visiting them with nightmares. The post of King of Dreams is created at the end of King of Dreams, while Valentine Pontifex ends with the creation of a fifth Power, representing the Piurivar. It is referenced that Majipoor receives the occasional starship, but is generally considered a backwater planet. Metals of all sorts are scarce, since the planet has a very light crust. Technology is both pervasive and rare at the same time. For example, draft animals are used for farming and transport, but the animals used (called "mounts") were genetically created in the distant past. Many great engineering works are referenced, but these were created in the past also. Many modern technologies, such as TV and Radio, seem to be nonexistent or of very limited use. The average Majipooran lives a peasant lifestyle, and agriculture is a common occupation.
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What is the test of an SF writer? Who belongs in the highest echelons? Robert Silverberg has considerable claims to be one of the greatest practitioners in the fields of both fantasy and SF, having turned out more than 50 novels of vaunting imagination since the 1950s (as well as serious works of history and archaeology).
Silverberg has been nominated for more awards than any other science fiction writer, alive or dead. And where many of the surviving writers of that era are reduced to thin retreads of their glory days work, Silverberg's imagination is as sinewy as ever.
The first volume of his Majipoor cycle, Lord Valentine's Castle, inaugurated one of the most awe-inspiring epics in the world of fantasy fiction since Tolkien and Peake. Lord Valentine himself is a remarkable creation, ruler of the fantastic world of Majipoor, but ever fearful that the fragile peace his citizens enjoy will collapse in the face of massive evil and wizardry. Valentine is a complex and multi-faceted character, perfectly set off by a varied cast of allies and opponents.
In the second volume of the sequence, Valentine Pontifex, Silverberg extends and enriches the wonderfully detailed universe he has created for his labyrinthine tale. At night Lord Valentine is tortured by visions of the catastrophe that threatens Majipoor, and by day he attempts to negotiate the complex politics of a very diverse world. Then he learns that the sinister Shapeshifters have ambitions to recapture their lost world, and he is faced with an impossible situation: does he surrender his world to these creatures and consign his people to slavery and death, or risk a bloody war that may cost even more lives--and even risk the destruction of all of Majipoor?
Silverberg is a past master at creating the colours and wonders of his enormous planet, but his greatest achievement may be the massive humanity with which he imbues his central protagonist and those who surround him. The language is as imposing as ever:
A spasm of astonishing pain swept through him, there was a terrible droning buzz in his ears, and his breath was as hot as flame. He felt himself descending into night, a night so terrible that it obliterated all light and swept across his soul like a tide of black blood.. --Barry Forshaw Review:
‘There are two things that abide: absolute awe at Silverberg’s capacity for creating images... he makes you see, believe, be there witnessing... and the overarching compassion that colours every word and all the souls in his enormous world’
Los Angeles Times
‘A grand tale by one of the great storytellers of the century’
‘In terms of excellence he has few peers, if any’
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Book Description Spectra, 1984. Mass Market Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0553244949
Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # M-0553244949