Thursday, January 27, 2011

Taking a Hammer to Wish Fulfillment: A Critical Appreciation of James Enge - John H. Stevens

"Enge's fiction stands out primarily for its rich, witty prose and its juxtaposition of human characters with outrageous situations. Conflict, weirdness, cruelty, and supernatural forces beset the protagonists (Morlock and whomever is unfortunate enough to be with him), but not for the shock value or for gory distraction. Enge creates circumstances where people have to draw on their human qualities to survive, sometimes aided by magic,but more often by stubbornness and the leveraging of opportunity. He does this not just to create a thrilling moment, but to probe what the characters are capable of as they face often bizarre, seemingly intractable challenges. These challenges (from facing down prophecy-maddened hordes to execution by dragon to obsessive, unhinged sorcerers) frequently have a philosophical inflection. "

4.5 out of 5

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