Wednesday 15 February 2023

Then Raise the Dead Man High - ML Clark

Then Raise the Dead Man High
ML Clark 
ISBN 9798366010221

I picked this up because I am a fan of the author and have been following her works for years. Our world views are vastly different, but much of our pasts overlap. I have been awaiting the release of this work for a number of years, and I can easily state it did not disappoint. The characters are well written even if most are unpleasant. The historical setting is well done, having grown up in the 80’s and 90’s the look back at Communism and it’s aspirations is handled in an excellent manner.

 The description of the volume is:

“1929. 1938. 1947.

Three days. Three decades. Three connected lives.

In a world where the voices of the dead echo among us, a student, an officer, and a prisoner in the USSR struggle with a discovery that will expand state tyranny.

Can any of them overcome their own terror, shame, and misery long enough to free the world?”

The story is written in three parts, each focusing primarily around a single character, and yet a thread weaves the stories together across the decades. There is a final section in the story a Coda set on 8 May 1956. Much like reading Dostoevsky and even Tolkien this story will take effort, and I believe in the end it is worth the effort. Part way through I wish I had created a character chart, and if I return and reread it again I know I will. Based on the settings and the events I cannot say I enjoyed the novel, but I can state the story is well planned, and executed. 

In some ways the story reminds me of C.S. Lewis’s That Hideous Strength, and even to some extent to the partial story The Dark Tower. For the Tower it is the subject of Time and Memory, as well as space, for Strength it was the N.I.C.E., the National Institute of Coordinated Experiments, and their belief that Science can solve all of humanity’s problems, and in this one the great Communist reality yet to come. There are other similarities that you will need to read to believe. 

Though bleak and dark the first two parts of the story grab your attention and do not let go. The Third part was even darker and I struggled with it because of the bleakness and horror portrayed. As a whole the book was hard to put down. And I read A part a day over three consecutive days. And now writing this review days later and still reflecting upon the story and thinking back on it often. It is a story that will leave an impression. 

I am thankful I read this volume. And I can recommend it to mature readers. And I eagerly anticipate the next volumes from ML Clark and Sí, Hay Futuros Ediciones that are planned to release this year. 

Books by M.L. Clark:
The Bitter Sweet Here and After - Short Story
Uncle Remy's Whizz-Bang Circus
Game of Primes
Fat of the Land
The Shape of Things to Come
The Stars, Their Faces Uplifted in Song

Then Raise the Dead Man High
The Shadow & The Shadow

The Menagerie Mysteries:
The Stars, At Last Count
Wildly Runs The Dying Sun

K-City Kink Sisters:
Lacing Up To Reality - Short Story
One For The Team - Short Story

Contributed to:
Bastion Issue #6 September 2014
Lightspeed: Year One
Lightspeed Magazine, March 2011
The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2017

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, June 2013
Analog Science Fiction and Fact, March 2014
Analog Science Fiction and Fact, September 2015

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 199
Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 193
Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 181
Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 173
Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 165
Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 162
Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 156
Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 123
Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 92
Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 86
Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 80
Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 74

Works translated by M.L. Clark:
The Marquise of Yolombo - Tomás Carrasquilla

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