Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Dragons of Babel

I'm not sure what it says that we're not quite two months into the year and I've already finished what I considered to be my most highly anticipated novel of the year, Michael Swanwick's the Dragons of Babel. This book is a pseudo-sequel to Swanwick's masterpiece, the Iron Dragon's Daughter. That book was one of the few classic genre novels to emerge from the 90's. This one doesn't quite live up to its predecessor.

The faeriepunk (somehow I doubt I'm coining that term here) world Swanwick created is perhaps the most original fantasy setting to date. And what the Iron Dragon's Daughter touched upon is much more fully explored in this novel. However, while that is the books greatest strength, Swanwick gets a bit carried away with sub plots that serve this function over furthering the plot. It's no surprise that many sections of the novel were released as short stories previously, and thus the novel never seems to fully cohere the way it ought to, and it just feels a bit too disappointing because of it.

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