December 12, 2021
That’s primarily what The Immortal of World’s End is: a collection of interesting odds and ends that Carter trots out for your inspection. Much of it comes in the form of a travelogue, as the characters fly over vast stretches of Gondwane and Carter describes the inhabitants, the political structure, and the outré customs of the people. He’s clearly having fun inventing all this and wants to share it.
Unfortunately, this constitutes the bulk of the book. There isn’t much story. Here’s what story there is: a tiny band of heroes opposes an invading barbarian horde. There are a few action scenes in which our heroes absolutely slaughter thousands of barbarians without suffering a single casualty in return, mostly by way of magical or explosive means. The rest of the book is description, a sort of gazeteer for a D&D campaign premised on nothing but funhouse adventures. Everything is quirky, tongue-in-cheek, and unserious.
And that, I understand, is how you have to approach this book. Despite that cool, evocative cover, this isn’t S&S. This is humor. The problem is that Carter isn’t funny. He can successfully pull off a wry, Dunsany-esque style for short stories. But Terry Pratchett he ain’t. I can appreciate that he’s been reading The Eyes of the Overworld, and John Mandeville, and maybe even The Wizard of Oz, and he had some ideas that made him giggle. But stringing them together doesn’t make for a particularly entertaining book if you don’t have solid comedy-writer chops.
Ganelone Silvermane continues to be a dull hero, overshadowed by his more interesting companions. But, given that he’s essentially a ten or eleven year old kid in a superman’s body, I suppose that can’t be helped.
Still, I’m hoping for better things from the next installment.
And, to continue in this hopeful vein, here is a link to my Amazon page, displaying all kinds of books you can purchase. (Much like Lin Carter, a man can dream. Also, a man could always use beer money.)