Book Reviews

Philip.Belben at Philip.Belben at
Tue Jan 11 12:35:02 EST 2000

Two books I've just read.

One was "Down with Skool" by Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle.  Sort of the
Skiver's Guide of the 1950s.  I remember I hated it when I was at school, but
laughed myself silly this weekend.  Which shows how stupid I was not to buy the
Skiver's Guide when it was available...

The other was "The Well at the World's End" by William Morris.

This is 700 pages of "heroic fantasy" with a medieval feel (written in the 1890s
BTW).  After the first few chapters, I actually got into the swing of it and
found it quite an easy read.  A few things worth noting though:

The landscape was nebulous.  I didn't get the feeling that there was a real
world there - it felt more like stage scenery.  In some ways the minor
characters were nebulous too.

However, the journey to the well and back reminded me strongly of the Babylon
journey in Deep Secret.  Not that the events were similar, or even the style of
writing, but its effect on the characters and its significance.  (Also perhaps
because the Babylon landscape is deliberately nebulous - in my opinion)

Even stronger, though was the way it reminded me of Tanith Lee's "Flat Earth"
series.  I don't know why - perhaps the medieval feel, perhaps the nebulous
landscape - and it certainly didn't have the assemblage of gods and demons that
TL provides in her books.



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