Derek Vortimer MBA – Manager of Worlds.
By Uncle Jasper
Having finished reading this extravaganza, I was so disoriented from its mundane beginnings, that I had to go back and check that they were really as unassuming as I thought.
I had almost abandoned this novel, as its eccentricities of plot gathered. Even a fantasy must have some appearance of internal coherence or just be a jumble of outpourings from a not too interesting unconscious mind.
However, I went back to it. At chapter 3, the ambush, not only the main characters suffered an ambush, so did this reader. The narrative hit its stride and took on the character of a grotesque satire, and burlesque of The Island Of Dr Moreau.
It is a hilarious parable on the arrogance of scientific experimentation out of control, which is the dangerous state of the modern world.
The story takes a conventional turn into escape and flight. But the authors satirical bent finds further vent in the character of Lady Cisely. Not to put too fine a point on it, she is an insufferable snob.
Harriet Beecher Stowe said, amongst a multitude of other intelligent observations, that the only reason, why slavery stood at all, was that many people were too humane to inflict it, in all its rigor.
As the embodiment of the prejudices of the class system, Lady Cisley, forever spouting the crass sentiments of the privileged, does inflict it, in all its rigor, rendering her, well-nigh intolerable, even to its class custodians, her peers and very family. Tho, even she shrinks from her own passions, at their most pitiless. And just because her company is intolerable, she is not denied rescue, when in dire need.
The narrative character, Derek Vortimer has just won a fluff degree. This is of the sort that afflict modern society, by taking over from people with a calling who created a great cause, and turning it into a bland clueless routine, in making of it their meal ticket.
CG Jung said that all cultures have the archetypal story of the hero. That is the story of the young man, in this case Derek, who has to make his way and establish himself, in the world, against all the odds. The world, in question, is an alternative reality (of Sultania and the Carthaginian Empire) which, in folklore, would have been called a fairy-tale world.
The young man knows he is lucky, but may not know that his luck is his youth. As an envious old man, I remember the time, long long ago, when presentable youth alone was enough to make me considerable, even by young women.
The young women characters are an assertive, indeed heroic bunch, playing to a secret male desire, that the other gender share the burden of strength. The courtship banter has the appropriate wit and zest. You wouldn’t find its more intimate moments in a Dickens novel but the charitable ending would not be out of place there.
(review of free book)