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Six Kingdoms which waking world men called the dream lands hide spoiler "Before reading this story I highly recommend reading Lovecraft s Dream Cycle "reading this story I highly recommend reading Lovecraft s Dream Cycle at the very least The Dream uest of Unknown Kadath as this is a commentary on it Kij Johnson s piece is both an homage and a criticism She captures the wandering uesting tone and the series of ncounters with Aristotles Rhetoric eldritch and weird situations perfectly I would venture to say that her writingven improves on the originalsBut what convinced me to up this to four stars was how much I njoyed the reversal of perspective Lovecraft s cycle of tales much I njoyed the reversal of perspective Lovecraft s cycle of tales a strange land which can be visited only through dreams and his protagonist Randolph Carter is the typical Adventuresome and Exceptional Man Here our protagonist the middle aged professor Vellitt Boe is an inhabitant of that fabulous dream world Of course to her it s just where she lives Indeed to her the waking world is the land of fable and mystery Johnson does this Charting an Empire extremely well showing a world which to Boe is uotidian but without losing itsxotic tinge for the readerProfessor Boe teaches at a women s college When one of her young students Colored Property elopes with a man from the waking world she dropsverything on a uest to find the student and fetch her back before the inevitable scandal gets out The incident would very likely result in the whole school one of the few opportunities available to inuisitive and intelligent women in this world to be shut down in disgrace As her mission takes her farther and farther from her comfortable and respected position Vellitt Boe recalls her youth as a far traveling adventurer and her own affair with a man of the waking worldIt s a great story Desire and Truth evocatively told Its only weakness was that at times it gets a bit message y in its pointed criticism of Lovecraft Yes Lovecraft was both a sexist and a xenophobe we know He had a terror of anything and anyone that he perceived as other This story has none of that and it ably illustrates the limitations and traps inherent in such a worldview but it stands perfectly well on its own without having to drive the point home as it occasionally tries toOverall definitely recommended for both Lovecraft s fans and foesMany thanks to Tor and NetGalley for the opportunity to read As always my opinions are solely my own When a student from the Ulthar Women s College goes missing with her dreaming lover Vellitt Boe journeys across the dreamlands to find a way to the waking world to bring her back With a cat in tow will Vellitt be able to find Clarie JuratGhouls ghasts and gugs oh my The Dream uest of Vellitt Boe is a new spin on HP Lovecraft s The Dream uest of Unknown Kadath with less racism and women It was already on my wish list when it popped up on NetgalleyThe Dream uest of Vellitt Boe is Vellitt Boe s uest across the dreamlands to bring home Clarie Jurat a student at her college Clarie fell in love with a man from the waking world and Vellitt must bring her back before things go pear shaped Her odyssey takes her from onend of the dreamlands to the other and The Exiles Gallery eventually to the waking worldI have to say I like what Kij Johnson had done with HP Lovecraft s Dreamlands While the setting is still what Lovecraft created complete with Randolph Carter and assorted horrid creatures she puts her own stamp on the tale by having a middle aged woman take center stage The writing is way accessible than HP Lovecraft s and reads like Neil Gaiman s Stardust She treats the mythos with respect whilexpanding upon it and telling her own storyThe only thing I can really complain about is that it wasn t longer and Kij wasn t able to work all of the Dreamlands staples into it 35 out of 5 stars. Uest across the Dreamlands and into her own mysterious past where some secrets were never meant to surfa. Ng World to save the "Ones She LovesThere S Much "she lovesThere s much about sexism and the reasons for men women s failed relationships and the Orientalist narrative tradition to which Kadath belongs stories of privileged adventurers acting out in distant realms But notably unlike all the reviews which again focus ntirely on this aspect and make the book sound like some manifesto Johnson makes this all actually SUBTLE Like Kadath this

a personal journey of discovery a heavy message story One theme made xplicit in Johnson s afterword is the almost total absence of women from the Kadath and Lovecraft s fiction in general Whether by accident or intent Johnson s afterword never uses the term misogyny while Lovecraft s stories suffer from omission of women his asexuality means that at least he never Childerley exploits women as sex objects like most of his pulp contemporaries Most of his male protagonists are sossentially genderless it s Cultural Excursions easy to imagine substituting female protagonists in their places turning Victorian adventurer Randolph Carter into a Victorian adventuress like Gertrude Bell or Alexandra David Neel or Vellitt Boe Easier anyway than substituting a PoC protagonist into Lovecraft s overwhelmingly white racist civilization vs barbarism worldview When weventually meet Carter himself in a short scene view spoilerhe s not an antagonist but a flawed but well intentioned man someone Boe has outgrown but can t uite hate hide spoiler The writing in this book was odd from the beginning Very stilted And then there were some seriously confusing sentences Here are two Cruelty and Laughter examples He offered her two additional gifts of great value a password that should secure safe passage and the aid of any ghouls shencountered and a carved red opal suspended from a fine black iron chain which would allow her to see in the lightless under realmsI had to reread that three or four times because I kept counting that as three gifts rather than two She took this to mean she should climb its back and it was thus they crossed her face inches above the gaping vertical mouth that split its head in halfAgain I had to reread because I thought the creature she was riding had its head split in half I never did figure out what this one meantThe writing bothered me yes but I also found the story to be rather dull Of the 166 pages I think at least 140 was spent on the journey I never felt attached to the college itself and didn t Cop Knowledge entirely buy the whole reason for the journeyI wish I knew about the Lovecraft story that inspired this I m guessing it was something about the gods themselves Anyway any interest I might have had in the story was killed by the writing and I didn t have much interest in the first place Weird and wonderful short tale of a university professor who is looking for a missing student I hadn t read any of Lovecraft s stories but I stillnjoyed this very muchFirst of all I learned what a group of cats is called A clowder had congregated with the uad as well they ceased whatever was their business and watched as Vellitt and Oure passed and one a small black cat separated itself from the rest and followed them into Jurat s stairwell pg 15 A clowder how cool is that I nearly have a clowder of cats at my house Also this story has a bit about talking to cats In her far travelling days Vellitt had known a dreamer who claimed to understand the speech of cats but of all the cats she had Cultural Aesthetics ever met in Ulthar a town crammed with them none hadver spoken to her nor anyone Class and Conformity else none that she knew anyway pg 43bookBesides all of the cat things there is an awesome twist to this story view spoilerWhen Vellitt Bow was young she had been a far traveller a great walker of the. Dents lopes with a dreamer from the waking world Vellitt must retrieve herBut the journey sends her on .

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Many reviews of Vellitt Boe start with something like I hate Lovecraft but I love this book but as a fan of Lovecraft and like I hate Lovecraft but I love this book but as a fan of Lovecraft and The Dream uest of Unknown Kadath I drew a comic based on it after all I m here to say that I too loved this novelIt s interesting that out of all Lovecraft s books Kadath which Lovecraft didn t ven try to get published and which many Lovecraft fans dislike because it s too fantasy and not horror High Tide at Midnight enough has inspired no less than two critical renvisionings Charles Cutting s graphic novel The Dream uest of Randolph Carter and this Kij Johnson s Kadath seuelretelling That s the weird thing there s no subaltern subversive rewrite of The Call of Cthulhu or At the Mountains of Madness AFAIK but there s something about the lesser known Kadath that inspires critics of Lovecraft to revisit wrestle with it perhaps because it s just a really good fairytale uest "Story Oddly It Shares A Lot With The Wizard Of "oddly it shares a lot with The Wizard of and ven with Dr Seuss s I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew or perhaps because the protagonist is so obviously a self insert of Lovecraft criticizing Kadath is like criticizing Lovecraft himself Thus in Cutting s version Randolph Carter is a complete asshole a racist snob and the whole story is about waiting for him to get his comeuppance But if there s one flaw in Cutting s beautifully illustrated adaptation which you really should read it s that reading a 108 page story about an irredeemable clueless jerk is kind of a drag In contrast Kij Johnson upends the story in a much hopeful manner By Entering It Herself entering it herself at least by making the protagonist a 50something female professor This is Vellitt Boe professor at Ulthar Women s College who goes in search of a lost student a journey which takes her all around the world of dreamsFor those who haven t read the 1926 book the Dreamlands of Johnson and Lovecraft are a surreal fantasy world of weird beauty accessible to a fortunate few in their dreams and ruled by unseen vengeful frankly vil gods Worship them We placate them Boe is told by a disillusioned priest There s none of the now familiar Tolkienisms like Deceptive Beauties elves orcs dwarvestc the natives of the Dreamlands are people strange people but still people and the monsters on the borderlands are inscrutable inhuman creatures with names like gugs ghasts ghouls zoogs Or maybe not Dangerous Work entirely inscrutable for Boe must deal with and negotiate with such monsters as she goes beyond the peaceful garden lands by the River Skai into underground worlds and ruined wastelands where the wrath of the gods has left dead cities smouldering in flame orncased in glassAll this is just like Lovecraft s Kadath but Boe reveals other peculiarities Lovecraft never would have written about Dreamland s sky has a vaulted ceiling with only 97 stars and there are very few women there we never find out Flavor and Soul exactly how few but Boe is amazed at the idea of a world withual numbers of men and women and male dreamers like Randolph Carter only men seem to be dreamers often visit the dreamworld and make it a canvas for their fantasies As a middle aged woman traveller Boe ndures subtle and unsubtle reminders that she is an unwelcome outsider ven in her own world and as she ventually discovers the real world isn t that much better for women Boe knows how good dreamers have it because she herself was once the lover and fellow traveller of Randolph Carter now the King of the dream city of Ilek Vad Memories of their failed relationship occasionally come back to her and their paths cross again on the course of her journey not a journey of a Waking World Man going into Dreamland for conuest and discovery but a Dreamland Woman going into the Waki. Professor Vellitt Boe teaches at the prestigious Ulthar Women’s College When one of her most gifted stu. ,

The Dream uest of Vellitt Boe