Thursday, 3 May 2018

'Magicians and Moonlight'

This story in Katherine Haynes' collection Waiting in the Shadows is a sequel to 'The Folded Hands', reviewed earlier on this here blog. 

In the first story the evil Mr Jones destroys the magician, Gontarsky, and in the second he tries to steal one of the latter's greatest secrets. This is revealed to be something like the alchemist's concept of the homunculus. However, Jones has to summon the ghost of Gontarsky to get the magic formula, so to speak, and this causes him difficulties. 

When Jones does succeed in creating a being it is not the gentle, harmless creature Gontarsky imagined. Instead it is a variation on the Welsh legend of a woman made of flowers. The creature proves dangerous, to say the least. But then Jones encounters someone whose own arcane knowledge is at least as significant as his own...

This is a neat tale with a sexy subtext. The theme has been under-explored, but in these days of sex robots it certainly strikes a cultural nerve. Perhaps I should go and have a lie down with the curtains closed and resume this running review later...

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