An opium-addicted recluse in 19th century London acquires a carved ivory god from India. Is it the opium, or is the god telling him stories?
A pretty good bogeyman story. Some of the description is Lovecraftian in its vagueness: "a series of gestures indicative of mental and physical fatigue," "he frowned, as if in anger or distaste." What did he do and feel? pick something!
Anyway, the story is plotted well, ends up predictably, and, save for the bedmaker, spares us female frivolity.
The title work is last in the book: a play in verse concerning an Irish legend of three heroes, a shape-shifter from the sea, and his army of cat-headed followers.
The remainder of the book is minor poems praising women, lamenting lost youth, insulting imitators, and puzzling over love. Nothing is astounding, but there is consistent good writing, with some memorable lines: "cling close to me; since you were gone, My barren thoughts have chilled me to the bone." "where's the wild dog that has praised his fleas?" "begone From this unlucky country that was made when the devil spat."
You can do worse than reading this one.
The Frigid Fracas is what the Cold War evolved into. A strange story, both dated and futuristic. The Communist East and the Capitalist West each ended up feeding their people, and both societies stratified into a caste system of the hereditary wealthy, the useful, and the huge mass of everyone else who just exist, drug themselves, and watch the entertainments.
Maj.Joe Mauser is a mercenary who fights in the pre-arranged battles (with real killing) to settle disputes between corporations. They are televised as entertainment. He is ambitious and has already moved from the Low caste to the Middle, but he loves an Upper, and to gain status he has to become a "personality" in the fracas programs--to be noticed and made a hero. His plans go awry.
Then the story shifts and becomes a plot to overthrow the caste system. It's almost a story in itself.
The writing is good, nothing is too outlandish, and the characters are fairly realistic.
A frequently funny satire of 19th Century England. A poor London slum-dweller, Mr. Ginx sets out to throw his 13th child off a bridge. He is interrupted by a nun, who takes the child, promising never to give it back. The nuns, believing the child to be God's gift, prepare him for sainthood. However, the Protestants band together and sue the nuns for the child on behalf of the mother, who, while not Protestant, at least hates Catholics.
The child's adventures among the sects, the wealthy, the liberal and conservative politicians, the trade unions, and the thieves, make up the rest of the book.
Amusing social satire.
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