Posted in Appendix N Challenge

Appendix N Challenge: Sign of the Labrys by Margaret St Clair.

Well, that took longer than I thought it would.
My wife, lovely woman that she is, gave me a year long subscription to Scribd for my birthday, which is where I found Sign of the Labrys hiding. Yay for electronic books! They’ve also got several of the Fafyrd and Grey Mouser stories, so I know what I’ll be reading next.

I struggled at the start of reading this one, it took me at least until the first quarter mark for me to really start to become involved with the characters, world, and ideas. It didn’t have that zip that Brackett and Moore had. I guess subconsciously I’d been hoping for more of the same, maybe I wasn’t quite ready yet for something so different. Not persevering wasn’t an option and so I plowed through, and now that I’m out the other side I’m glad I did.

Sometimes you read a book and you just know that it’s not meant for everyone. Sometimes it’s not even meant for anyone, just the writer herself. The Sign of the Labrys falls into the first category, but I get the feeling that St Clair would have been just as happy if it had fallen into the second. It’s full of allusions that few outside the realm of Wicca could ever hope to understand. Yay for the internets I guess.

Yay for the internets I guess. You know the drill, spoilers ahead.

I found myself slowly getting drawn into this strange claustrophobic tale, though at no point did I find myself caring about the main character. About any of the characters actually. I did want to see where the author was taking the story though, and how she would get to the inevitable conclusion. You put someone in a subterranean world and at some point, he has to venture to the surface to begin society again, it’s just common sense.

For that to happen there must be a mate, which was duly provided by the red-haired Despoina, as well as a way for society to succeed among the ruins of the old world. What I wasn’t expecting were puzzles that needed solving video game style (reminded of resident evil, can’t think why) anti-grav tubes, psionics, and inner-earth environments. At times the story was as mad as a box of frogs, as hallucinogenic as one of Ditkos’ Dr Strange panels.

It was hard work.

That’s not a bad thing, I feel like I needed the mental workout that the book gave me. By the end, I was well and truly into it, despite it taking me three days to finish. That’s not to say that I’d read it again, once was enough. I’ve got no hesitation in recommending it either, the story is definitely worth the effort.

That’s all for today, thanks as always for reading

Takes care

Dean

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Author:

40+, married and a full-time father to my granddaughter (don't ask, it's complicated).

2 thoughts on “Appendix N Challenge: Sign of the Labrys by Margaret St Clair.

  1. I could never get into St. Clair.

    “the story was as mad as a box of frogs, as hallucinogenic as one of Ditkos’ Dr Strange panels”

    Yup, that’s Maggie.

    Liked by 1 person

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