Zen Cho's Reviews > Kalpa Imperial: The Greatest Empire That Never Was

Kalpa Imperial by Angélica Gorodischer
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's review
Jan 04, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: in-translation, sff

Now, is this voice Gorodischer, or Le Guin? Presumably Gorodischer, but the style is so very much that of a female sff fan/writer of a certain era that I wonder. I mean, I guess since it's a translation quite a lot of Le Guin had to get into it.

I liked this one less than I thought I would. Some parts of it are good -- I liked the Empress Abderjhalda and the last story with the princess and the twentier (some kind of desert guide) who tells her stories based on the Iliad and Odyssey, peopled with characters named after old movie stars. And it's definitely got the folktale/mythic quality, which is presumably what it's going for. But it's the kind of book where I'm just not going to remember much of it. It's the changing cast of characters, and the fact that it's meant to be like folktales. I suppose unless you're using a true folktale, told many many times and purified by the telling, it's very hard to come up with that quality of timelessness in a story you made up yourself. And if you don't have that quality, and you don't have the characterisation you'd get in a more ordinary sort of story -- the kind of story that couldn't be anything but itself -- then you just aren't going to be that memorable.
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