Gol Atan Kaleye hWhen a student from the Ulthar Women s College goes missing wither dreaming lover Vellitt Boe journeys across the dreamlands to find a way to the waking world to bring The Age of Disruption her back With a cat in tow will Vellitt be able to find Clarie JuratGhouls ghasts and gugs oh my The Dream uest of Vellitt Boe is a new spin on HP Lovecraft s The Dream uest of Unknown Kadath with less racism and women It was already on my wish list when it popped up on NetgalleyThe Dream uest of Vellitt Boe is Vellitt Boe s uest across the dreamlands to bringome Clarie Jurat a student at Burning bridges her college Clarie fell in love with a man from the waking world and Vellitt must bringer back before things go pear shaped Her odyssey takes Freshman Scandal (Freshman Dorm, her from one end of the dreamlands to the other and eventually to the waking worldIave to say I like what Kij Johnson Rembrandts Jews had done with HP Lovecraft s Dreamlands While the setting is still what Lovecraft created complete with Randolph Carter and assortedorrid creatures she puts Refusing His Second Chance her own stamp on the tale byaving a middle aged woman take center stage The writing is way accessible than HP Lovecraft s and reads like Neil Gaiman s Stardust She treats the mythos with respect while expanding upon it and telling Brand Name Dates her own storyThe only thing I can really complain about is that it wasn t longer and Kij wasn t able to work all of the Dreamlands staples into it 35 out of 5 stars Before reading this story Iighly recommend reading Lovecraft s Dream Cycle or at the very least The Dream uest of Unknown Kadath as this is a commentary on it Kij Johnson s piece is both an Confectionately Yours Collection (Confectionately Yours, homage and a criticism She captures the wandering uesting tone and the series of encounters with eldritch and weird situations perfectly I would venture to say thater writing even improves on the originalsBut what convinced me to up this to four stars was The Maiden Dinosaur how much I enjoyed the reversal of perspective Lovecraft s cycle of tales posits a strange land which can be visited only through dreams andis protagonist Randolph Carter is the typical Adventuresome and Exceptional Man Here our protagonist the middle aged professor Vellitt Boe is an inhabitant of that fabulous dream world Of course to Swing Trading with Oliver Velez Course Book with DVD her it s just where she lives Indeed toer the waking world is the land of fable and mystery Johnson does this extremely well showing a world which to Boe is uotidian but without losing its exotic tinge for the readerProfessor Boe teaches at a women s college When one of Angus, Thongs And Full Frontal Snogging her young students elopes with a man from the waking world she drops everything on a uest to find the student and fetcher back before the inevitable scandal gets out The incident would very likely result in the whole school one of the few opportunities available to inuisitive and intelligent women in this world to be shut down in disgrace As er mission takes er farther and farther from The Emperor of Nihon-Ja (Rangers Apprentice, her comfortable and respected position Vellitt Boe recallser youth as a far traveling adventurer and Nora (Sunfire, her own affair with a man of the waking worldIt s a great story evocatively told Its only weakness was that at times it gets a bit message y in its pointed criticism of Lovecraft Yes Lovecraft was both a sexist and a xenophobe we know Head a terror of anything and anyone that Sam the Plumber he perceived as other This storyas none of that and it ably illustrates the limitations and traps inherent in such a worldview but it stands perfectly well on its own without aving to drive the point ome as it occasionally tries toOverall definitely recommended for both Lovecraft s fans and foesMany thanks to Tor and NetGalley for the opportunity to read As always my opinions are solely my own Weird and wonderful short tale of a university professor who is looking for a missing student I Outside the Paint hadn t read any of Lovecraft s stories but I still enjoyed this very muchFirst of all I learned what a group of cats is called A clowderad congregated with the uad as well they ceased whatever was their business and watched as Vellitt and Oure passed and one a small black cat separated itself from the rest and followed them into Jurat s stairwell pg 15 A clowder Hoopers Pasture from Maine to Vermont how cool is that I nearlyave a clowder of cats at my Historic Hahns Peak house Also this storyas a bit about talking to cats In Deathcaster (Shattered Realms, her far travelling days Vellittad known a dreamer who claimed to understand the speech of cats but of all the cats she Out of the Ashes (The Legacy Chronicles, had ever met in Ulthar a town crammed with them nonead ever spoken to BITE (A Mate Of His Own her nor anyone else none that she knew anyway pg 43 ebookBesides all of the cat things there is an awesome twist to this story view spoilerWhen Vellitt Bow was young shead been a far traveller a great walker of the Six Kingdoms which waking world men called the dream lands ide spoiler The writing in this book was odd from the beginning Very stilted And then there were some seriously confusing sentences Here are two examples He offered er two additional gifts of great value a password that should secure safe passage and the aid of any ghouls she encountered and a carved red opal suspended from a fine black iron chain which would allow Six-Moon Trail her to see in the lightless under realmsIad to reread that three or four times because I kept counting that as three gifts rather than two She took this to mean she should climb its back and it was thus they crossed Mustard Seed Magic her face inches above the gaping vertical mouth that split itsead in alfAgain I ad to reread because I thought the creature she was riding Leftover Dead (Trailer Park Mystery, had itsead split in The Witches half I never did figure out what this one meantThe writing bothered me yes but I also found the story to be rather dull Of the 166 pages I think at least 140 was spent on the journey I never felt attached to the college itself and didn t entirely buy the whole reason for the journeyI wish I knew about the Lovecraft story that inspired this I m guessing it was something about the gods themselves Anyway any interest I mightave Splinter had in the story was killed by the writing and I didn tave much interest in the first place Many reviews of Vellitt Boe start with something like I Breed of Innocence (The Breed Chronicles hate Lovecraft but I love this book but as a fan of Lovecraft and specifically The Dream uest of Unknown Kadath I drew a comic based on it after all I mere to say that I too loved this novelIt s interesting that out of all Lovecraft s books Kadath which Lovecraft didn t even try to get published and which many Lovecraft fans dislike because it s too fantasy and not The Princes Mistress horror enoughas inspired no less than two critical re envisionings Charles Cutting s graphic novel The Dream uest of Randolph Carter and this Kij Johnson s Kadath seuelretelling That s the weird thing there s no subaltern subversive rewrite of The Call of Cthulhu or At the Mountains of Madness AFAIK but there s something about the lesser known Kadath that inspires critics of Lovecraft to revisit wrestle with it perhaps because it s just a really good fairytale uest story oddly it shares a lot with The Wizard of Oz and even with Dr Seuss s I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew Dr Seuss s I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew perhaps because the protagonist is so obviously a self insert of Lovecraft criticizing Kadath is like criticizing Lovecraft Immortal Jellyfish himself Thus in Cutting s version Randolph Carter is a complete asshole a racist snob and the whole story is about waiting forim to get California his comeuppance But if there s one flaw in Cutting s beautifully illustrated adaptation which you really should read it s that reading a 108 page story about an irredeemable clueless jerk is kind of a drag In contrast Kij Johnson upends the story in a muchopeful manner by entering it erself
OR AT LEAST BY MAKING THE at least by making the a 50something female professor This is entering it erself or at least by making the protagonist a 50something female professor This is Boe professor at Ulthar Women s College who goes in search of a lost student a journey which takes Distant Early Warning (Star Trek (Star Trek: S.C.E., her all around the world of dreamsFor those whoaven t read the 1926 book the Dreamlands of Johnson and Lovecraft are a surreal fantasy world of weird beauty accessible to a fortunate few in their dreams and ruled by unseen vengeful frankly evil gods Worship them We placate them Boe is told by a disillusioned priest There s none of the now familiar Tolkienisms like elves orcs dwarves etc the natives of the Dreamlands are people strange people but still people and the monsters on the borderlands are inscrutable inhuman creatures with names like gugs ghasts ghouls zoogs Or maybe not entirely. Professor Vellitt Boe teaches at the prestigious Ulthar Women’s College When one of er most gifted stu. O the call of adventure and to the sense of The Cronos Complex I horror that lurks around almost every corner In The Dream uest of Unknown Kadath Lovecraft sendsis ero Randolph Carter on a wild chase through a parallel universe a place where dreams become nightmares and where fickle gods ide in the immensity of space Vellitt Boe is a teacher from this scary Dreamland and she sets out on Maid of Dishonor (The Wedding Season, her own uest to cross over into our reality and recover one ofer errant students Clarie Jurat who eloped with a dreamer as the likes of Randolph Carter are known in the underworldVellitt Boe is the kind of Dem Nordpol am nächsten heroine I would like to find often in fantasy novels She s the complete opposite of the young feisty princess with aidden talent in either combat or magic torn between two Heart Beat hansome and rich dreamboys At first glance Vellitt Boe is an elderly staid and predictable math teacher Celephaian Doctor of Teoretics and esteemed Professor Maior at Ulthar s ancient andonorable University Faced with the crisis of The Site Book her runaway star student Clarie Vellitt Boe proves to be not only resourceful and determined but also young ateart and ready for adventure You see she was not always a professor She The Devils Possession had been born in thearbor town of Jaren where the frigid Xari spilled into the northern reaches of the Cerenarian Sea but in Betraying Beauty (Vegas Titans, her nineteenth year she left and for years after that she voyaged crossed plains and forests and fenlands ascended mountains and walked in the belly of the under realms sailed in strangeulled boats across unfamiliar oceans under the low sky She Vrolok had travelled until she realized that this yearning life could not be sustained that time woul eventually erode awayer strength and courage and so she stopped She applied to the Women s college of the University of Celephais and settled into rooms there a perfect student brilliant and disciplined She received 僕の愛を知れ! [Boku no Ai o Shire!] her Physical Studies degree in Mathematics and came to Ulthar to stay and grow old and teach other young women rational responses to their restlessness Itad been sensible a reasonable end to The Boy Who Would Not Say His Name her far travelling youth The restlessness of youth and the call of the distant exotic lands beyond theorizon which of us Job-Hunting for the So-Called Handicapped has stoppedearing its song Is this not what we seek in all these fantasy novels on our shelves A little mystery a little danger a little romance to relieve the boredom of a routine life among concrete and glass towers Is this not what we dream about when we look in the windows of travel agencies or on the internet at the unusual The Hunger Within holiday destinations Now where did I put my tent my sleeping bag and my camera I want to join Vellitt Boe oner journey Dropping the tinder box into its little interior pocket she lifted the rucksack by its shoulder straps It was lighter than it would Between Two Skies have been for she no longerad rope and grapnel nor Witch-Hunting in Seventeenth-Century New England her blanket roll nor the compact little cooking kit she once carried but it waseavy enough for all that On an impulse she walked into the bedroom and looked at Nude Girls Photography Presents Ass Pussy From Behind - Compilation Vol. 5 herself in the pier mirror A stranger infinitely familiar stared back a stern eyed woman in walking tweeds witheavy laced boots and black and silver The Dolce Diet hair pulled away fromer lined face An old woman but not soft or she thought with a sudden inward wry laugh perhaps not uite old but also softer than she Brave Enough had been Vellitt Boe sets out oner uest and soon enough it becomes evident that the journey itself is the story rather than the destination Yes we Spunk have a plot and a terrible curse that can only be avoided if Clarie Jurat is returned from our Earth back to the Dreamlands But in the Dreamland the game is played by different rules reality is like a soft putty in theands of the local gods and the fate of individuals is just a game for their amusement Vellitt Boe is sent from one corner of the realm to the other in The Kafka of 238th Street her sdearch for a magical key to unlock the Gate of Deeper Slumber Inhospitable desertsaunted forests ice encrusted mountain peaks monster infested caves stormy seas and angry gods cannot stop The Letters to the Thessalonians her Perhaps Ulthar and the rest are just ants under the feet of fighting drunkards Or perhaps aate filled god revels in destruction and pain and causes it owever e may I Geheimes Verlangen (Shades of Grey, have a confession to make Iave cheated a little and also read the original Lovecraft novella in order to make sense of the Vellitt Boe Journey My comments from this point on are coloured by the knowledge of the difference between Randolph Carter and Vellitt Boe and of why Kij Johnson felt the neeed to revisit the classic tale The clue is in a small observation made by a Dreamland priest and former travel companion of Vellit Boe This guy makes a snarky remark that women are incapable of big dreams that what they are limited to images of Ivory (The Ivory Saga houses flower gardens and smiling children Condescendent much Is it possible thatate filled god that revels in pain and destruction is a reference to the tormented and openly racist mysoginistic Lovecraft SPOILER ALERT The answer can be found uite late in the uest by a meeting between Vellitt Boe and Lovecraft s Never Go Back (Jack Reacher, hero Randolph Carter master dreamer adventurer now a king in the Dreamland It appears theyave journeyed together even fallen in love when they were both young and thirsty for adventure but then they drifted apart Surprisingly maybe it wasn t Randolph who felt shackled in the relationship but the young girl known then as Veline He The Temple of Death had been a man like many so wrapped and rapt inis own story that there was no room for the world around Venus Blueprint him except as it servedis own tale When were women ever anything but footnotes to men s tales Here s the rub the uest for the Unknown Kadath is all taking place inside the Shame On Her Volume 3 head of Randolph Cartere created the Dreamland the fickle gods and the nightmares It s why the Anglo Saxons were superior to all the other races in the underworld why women are not even once mentioned during the long and eventful journey why all the lesser creatures exist only to serve theur lord and master Ultimately Why The Original Novella Feels Dated And Even Uncomfortably Racist the original novella feels dated and even uncomfortably racist places Why a different dreamer may respond to a different call and will search for a different destination at the end of er uestVellitt Boe visits almost all the
fantastic places that were on the original map of Randolph Carter and than a few new ones She fights creatures places that were on the original map of Randolph Carter and than a few new ones She fights creatures darkness and she marvels at the obsidian and jasper cities of the Dreamland She travels alone and er old bones often complain about the A Crazy Kind of Love hardships but she never gives up Becauseer uest is not about The Medieval Forest her self discovery but about saving the Dreamland about making a world fit for everybody young or old light skinned or dark skinned woman or man Come to think of it Vellitt Boe might change not only the Dreamland but also our own world once she finds the gate to cross over into our reality Because in our reality women are not treated a whole lot better thant in the Dreamlands of the Randolph Carters She could feel it settling abouter what this world would expect of a woman The Road Beyond Ruin her age She fit scarcely naturallyere than in er own land I was a fan of Kij Johnson before reading this novella and I was lucky land I was a fan of Kij Johnson before reading this novella and I was lucky read it before trying the Lovecraft original because I was able to appreciate the uest on its own merits not only by comparison In my opinion Kij Johnson is clearly the better writer er prose intensely emotional and intriguing without all the lurid adjectives Lovecraft loved so much But I should also acknowledge the role of Lovecraft as the catalyst as the master dreamer who can still amaze us with the immense scope and unrelenting darkness of Bloody Bones (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, his visionI would recommend reading both short novels in whatever order pleases you 35 stars I read this not originally knowing that it is a kind of response to Lovecraft s The Dream uest of Unknown Kadath Even without that prior knowledge I enjoyed this butaving read over the synopsis of the Lovecraft tale I probably would Bloody Bones (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, have enjoyed it immensely if I was previously familiar with that story This would be good for fans of Lovecraft who are not fans of the blatant racism and sexism of that time I m not familiar with the HP Lovecraft short story that this is a reply to The Dream uest of Unknown Kadath but Lovecraftian themes abound and I recognize a lot of the referencesVellitt Boe is a Professor at the Woman s Co. Uest across the Dreamlands and intoer own mysterious past where some secrets were never meant to surfa.
characters The Dream uest of Vellitt BoeInscrutable for Boe must deal with and negotiate with such monsters as she goes beyond the peaceful garden lands by the River Skai into underground worlds and ruined wastelands where the wrath of the gods In Defense of Food has left dead cities smouldering in flame or encased in glassAll this is just like Lovecraft s Kadath but Boe reveals other peculiarities Lovecraft never wouldave written about Dreamland s sky as a vaulted ceiling with only 97 stars and there are very few women there we never find out exactly ow few but Boe is amazed at the idea of a world with eual numbers of men and women and male dreamers like Randolph Carter only men seem to be dreamers often visit the dreamworld and make it a canvas for their fantasies As a middle aged woman traveller Boe endures subtle and unsubtle reminders that she is an unwelcome outsider even in Black and White her own world and as she eventually discovers the real world isn t that much better for women Boe knowsow good dreamers The Color of Water have it because sheerself was once the lover and fellow traveller of Randolph Carter now the King of the dream city of Ilek Vad Memories of their failed relationship occasionally come back to کسی به سرهنگ نامه نمینویسد her and their paths cross again on the course ofer journey not a journey of a Waking World Man going into Dreamland for conuest and discovery but a Dreamland Woman going into the Waking World to save the ones she lovesThere s much Cake Pops here about sexism and the reasons for men women s failed relationships and the Orientalist narrative tradition to which Kadath belongs stories of privileged adventurers acting out in distant realms But notably unlike all the reviews which again focus entirely on this aspect and make the book sound like some manifesto Johnson makes this all actually SUBTLE Like Kadath this is a personal journey of discovery not aeavy message story One theme made explicit in Johnson s afterword is the almost total absence of women from the Kadath and Lovecraft s fiction in general Whether by accident or intent Johnson s afterword never uses the term misogyny while Lovecraft s stories suffer from omission of women Brave New World his asexuality means that at leaste never exploits women as sex objects like most of The Name of the Rose his pulp contemporaries Most ofis male protagonists are so essentially genderless it s easy to imagine substituting female protagonists in their places turning Victorian adventurer Randolph Carter into a Victorian adventuress like Gertrude Bell or Alexandra David Neel or Vellitt Boe Easier anyway than substituting a PoC protagonist into Lovecraft s overwhelmingly white racist civilization vs barbarism worldview When we eventually meet Carter imself in a short scene view spoilerhe s not an antagonist but a flawed but well intentioned man someone Boe as outgrown but can t uite Memories of My Melancholy Whores hateide spoiler We ve seen this book so many times someone from our world ends up in a portal universe and goes adventuring Everyone from the portal world with all their rich stories cultures relationships dreams becomes just a part of the landscape a prop for our protagonists to experience a strange world and discover themselves The Dream uest of Vellitt Boe is not this bookThis is a book about people and cultures from the portal world the Dreamlands People from our world might end up there by dreaming but they only appear as characters in passing and never Pakistan have much conseuence Still whenever people from the waking world reach the Dreamlands they are just as arrogant as any characters we ve seen in other works Head been a man like many so wrapped and rapt in Pitch Dark his own story that there was no room for the world aroundim except as it served Dont Forget Your Spacesuit, Dear his own tale the black men of Parg and Kled and Sona Nyl the gold men of Thorabon and Ophir and Rinar and all the women invisible everywhere except when they broughtim drinks or sold im food all walk on parts in the play that was Randolph Carter or even wallpaper Later on we get to meet this lovely man He loved who e was Randolph Carter master dreamer adventurer To The Green Pharmacy him shead been landscape an articulate crag e could ascend a face to put to this place When were women ever anything but footnotes to men s tales But this book is not about Randolph Carter This book is about Vellitt BoeMeet Vellitt Boe She is a 55 year old brave Adventurer From The Dreamlands She from the Dreamlands She also an esteemed Math professor And in between teaching at the university climbing mountains fighting off scary creatures sailing the open seas adventuring in various underworlds verbally sparring with messengers of the gods and going on epic uests that can change the world she finds the time for dresses air and fine foods and drinksIn other worlds Vellitt Boe is just like most "women I knowOh I forgot the most important detail She as a cat sidekickBut before I go on let s take "I knowOh I forgot the most important detail She as a cat sidekickBut before I go on let s take step back and give some background The Dream uest of Vellitt Boe is a retelling of Lovecraft s The Dream uest of Unknown Kadath As I mentioned in my review of another Hugo finalist The Ballad of Black Tom I Lightning Strike Twice haven t read Lovecraft s works Perhaps I wouldave understood and appreciated this novella better if I The Purple Island had but I still loved it and so can youVellitt is smart resourceful self depreciating and extremely relatable When I was reading abouter travels I felt I ve been through the same experiences devising efficient ways to pack to travel light but also take everything necessary the wanderlust the sense of adventure and discovery the safety concerns waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of lock picking Okay I did wake up once to the sound of what I thought was lock picking when I was staying by myself at a dodgy place but it turned out to be a mouse and the beast The Last Odd Day had no problem entering my room It s decided I need a cat sidekick when I travel tooI was a bit disappointed the cat didn t get to do much It did fight off some creatures in the beginning and then detected the lock picking but most of the time it seemed to be there to be cool or as a nod to the original Lovecraft story as far as I understand there was a cat there as well I felt it couldave played a much bigger role At least it gets respect The small black cat in its blue collar Lord Lightning (Astrology, had accompanied Vellitt toer audience and been well rewarded Carter Wildwing had saluted it withonor as a noble of its species and it Londons Perfect Scoundrel had been served with its own fine foods mountain clear water minced mice and a tiny fish still flipping its tail in a lapis dish MINCED MICE Seriously it s eating minced miceDuringer travels Vellitt never falls into the trap of becoming the type of arrogant adventurer she dislikes She encounters ghouls and all kinds of The Bucolic Plague horrific creatures and it wouldave been extremely easy to dehumanize them but she never does My only complain with the book is that it raises a major uestion which remains unanswered and I was looking forward to a satisfying reveal Hopefully it will be addressed in future booksOverall a stunning epic fast paced fantasy uest It was a bit too Harvest heavy on the world building at points which might not be everyone s cup of tea but the story and characters are still strong and compelling With so many great novellas I llave a really Three French Hens hard time deciding on my Hugo vote This novella is a real delight I love all things Lovecraftian with or without the inherent racism of the original but fortunately almost EVERYand put to the task of building upon the mythos The Novice has recreated it into something egalitarian and deep while still retaining the rich rich imaginingsThis continues the uest within the Dreamland but from the point of view of a middle aged teacher of mathematics from within this other worldelping out a student from our world
didn t plan it but this is my second in a row fan fic story The title should Ice Creams at Carringtons have been familiar from aighschool short foray into Lovecraftian The Predictions horror but the source of inspiration only became clear to me when reading the afterword acknowledgements I first read it at ten thrilled and terrified and uncomfortable with the racism but not yet aware that the total absence of women was also problematic This story is my adult self returning to a thing I loved as a child and seeing whether I could make adult sense of it Kij Johnson is keeping the vision of Lovecraft alive approaching the Dreamland from a different perspective while remaining faithful Dents elopes with a dreamer from the waking world Vellitt must retrieveerBut the journey sends er on .I Didn T Plan