cover image Journeys


Ian R. MacLeod, Subterranean (, $40 (232p) ISBN 978-1-59606-297-9

MacLeod's fourth collection (after 2006's Past Magic) contains mostly fantasies in which departures from consensus reality go entirely unexplained, told from within the imaginary world rather than our own. In the novella "The Hob Carpet," a young aristocrat of a cruel half-Egyptian, half-Aztec empire discovers the human side of the markedly inferior "hobs" who are used as slaves, furniture, and sacrifice fodder. "The Master Miller's Tale" is set in a quasi-medieval, altered England in which one buys wind from magicians. More outrageously, in "The Second Journey of the Magus," Jesus refuses to submit to crucifixion, throws himself off the Temple, summons legions of angels to his aid, and establishes a frightening Kingdom of God on Earth. MacLeod's stately, magisterial grace and richly textured prose may prove too much for readers looking for a quick fix, but the patient will be rewarded. (Sept.)