STARGATE by Pauline Gedge


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After ancient Egypt (Child of the Morning, 1977) and Celtic Britain (The Eagle and the Raven, 1978), Gedge moves from the historical to the speculative, but she's never fully in control of this dreamy, distant fantasy-fable. The Worldmaker, having created inhabited solar systems and sun-lords to rule them, has inexplicably turned evil; now the Unmaker, he threatens the last few sun-lords and their idyllic worlds. Ixelion, ruler of a watery world, falls next--so the other lords, who wring their hands but otherwise are no help, close the Star Gate to isolate Ixelion from all interstellar contact. Meanwhile, the winged Ghakazian is duped into slaughtering all his subjects, whose ""essences"" (ghosts) he sends to invade Shol--where (Ghakazian believes) they are destined to defeat the Unmaker. But the essences occupy Shol bodies and wreak havoc, the Unmaker enters, and sun-lord Sholia must expend all her sun's power to expel him and close the Star Gate. All this, however (the first two-thirds of the book), is mere preamble to the main--and most effective--scenes: sun-lord Danarion, conveyed by a mysterious Messenger, visits Shol in a human body, joining the struggle to cast out Ghakazian and his essences. And there are problems throughout: the sun-lords are asexual, languid, elegant wimps; the prose and dialogue are often limp or fatuous; and the ideas (some of them genuinely original) are only half worked-out. An uninvolving, pedestrian sprawl, then--with only a little appeal to fantasy regulars and even less to those who enjoyed Gedge's solid historicals.

Pub Date: Aug. 13th, 1982
Publisher: Dial