Williams, Liz -- Worldsoul

An extravagant mess of a setting; the Library of Alexandria is stolen by the Powers and set up in the middle of a world-spanning city outside of time... or something. Story-pathways open into everywhere. It's Pratchett's "L-Space" taken three-quarters seriously, with cod-Miltonian angels and demons butting heads with djinn as Loki stirs up trouble. At one point the White Witch shows up, or a close calque of her, zipping along with a bag of kings' heads in the back of her chariot. I loved that. I love a lot of the razzmatazz that goes on here, but just as often it trips over its own feet. (If you put Loki on-stage and he doesn't steal the entire show plus half the theater, you're doing it wrong.)

The spark that infused the Detective Inspector Chen books is still visible -- the niftily tangled magic/science worldview, some fascinating scenes exploring the geography of the world's story-space. ("...Down past the Holdstockian layer...") However, the Chen series was more tightly focussed; or at least, it built its foundation of ancient-vs-future-China solidly before it started branching out into other mythologies. This is... a mess, I'm afraid.

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