Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Celestial Arachnids - Thoughts on Philip Reeve's Larklight

Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines series marked him as an outstanding author who could get his head around outlandish engineering and fantasy, bringing the two together in a wonderful state.

Larklight carries on the obsession with floating domestic spaces but this time he has a floating house in space.

There's a real feeling of Victoriana, mainly from the use of the Great Exhibition of 1851 as a climax, but also in the science fantasy which is reminiscent of HG Wells and Jules Verne. There is a real disquiet under the surface between the marvellous technology and the lack of the human in the face of encroaching technology. I'd need to think about it more but it comes across with the unease of Souvestre and Robida in the late nineteenth century.

The style is pleasantly varied, moving from third person narration to diaries, representing the different voices of the children who very much lead the story. Out of this comes a wonderful adventure sub-plot which reminds me of Treasure Island and to some extent Peter Pan.

Reeve captures a tension present in fiction - where do we go now with the conflict between science and religion? The gorgeous illustrations enhance the writing (which is mercifully pocket sized) which certainly caps Reeve's crown as one of the most inventive writers of children's fiction.

I'm not going to write too much more on this at the moment as I'm reviewing for an online publication but when I've written my piece, I'll link through to it.




Post a Comment

<< Home

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 England & Wales License.