Last Man Through the Gate

The home media archives have been disrupted to prepare for men with jackhammers.

I am making detailed notes on a super expensive book I have on loan from the library.

So you get a  retro review from January 12, 2012.

Review: Last Man Through the Gate, Tim C. Taylor, 2011.Last Man Through the Gate

Vagueness and mystery can be dangerous tools for a writer, concealments for laziness, muddled thought, pointless obscurity, an inability to solve the problems of a story’s construction. But when an author uses them well, they can paradoxically make a fictional world seem almost as real as ours.

Taylor’s story is the latter case.

The set-up for this story blends the old and the new as political refugee Codrin leaves the regime of Jastrevech for the Free States. While he departs via a high-tech dimensional gateway, he is greeted by musket bearing soldiers. And, almost right away, a malfunction of the gate puts an end to Codrin’s plans to have his family join him in a few months. Time, in the worlds of the Free States and Jastrevech, begins to proceed at very different rates.

The pleasures of the mysteries Taylor unveils prohibit me from saying more. And, while the answers he gives are tantalizingly incomplete, one gets the impression there is a well-formed and real cosmos behind the glimpses we get. And I liked the way the names and political history of Jastrevech evoked an Eastern European flavor. Codrin’s journey – metaphorical and real – is well depicted. While Taylor cites other fictional inspiration, Codrin’s plight reminded me also of Poul Anderson’s classic “Flight to Forever”.

Taylor has promised to return to this universe, and I am certainly interested in seeing more of it.

 

More reviews of fantastic fiction are indexed by title and author/editor.

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