Thursday, September 07, 2006

Paragaea -- Chris Roberson

At Armadillocon, I was on a panel called "What Should I Have Read this Year?" One of the panelists, Willie Siros, mentioned this book. When Willie speaks, I listen, so I immediately went into the dealers' room and picked up a copy. It's billed as "A Planetary Romance" in the tradition of Burroughs and Leigh Brackett, but I was reminded more of the "travels through wonder" branch of the genre. (The first Jack Vance book I ever read was Big Planet, which I thought of when reading this one. Maybe it's a planetary romance, too.)

What happens is that a Russian cosmonaut (Leena Chirikov) from the early '60s slips through a wormhole to a parallel earth full of dinosaurs, cat men, snake men, and more wonders than I can catalogue here. Not to mention a handy hero (that's his name, too, sort of) from her own world (again, sort of). It's just one damn thing after another, from the first chapter to the last. There's enough material here for a slew of sequels about the different characters who go their own ways at the end of the novel. It's a very Burroughsian ending.

I enjoyed Roberson's take on all the old pulp cliches, updated in his own sly ways. He even manages to work in a comment (or so I took it) on airport security. Check it out.


Chris Roberson said...

Thanks, Bill! Glad to hear you liked it. And you definitely pegged the ending. I had my copy of A Princess of Mars at my elbow the whole time I was writing the thing, to remind me what I was trying to do.

Stu Shiffman said...

Good take on this book, Bill. Just my thoughts when I read it too.

I've been impressed by Roberson's growing stack of fiction (and his publishing efforts through Monkeybrain Books) and look forward to his next work.

Bill said...

I really admire Chris for being able both to write and run Monkeybrain, which is becoming (if it's not already) a real publishing force. They do very impressive books, including the one of John Picacio's art.