NESFA Members' Reviews


by Jamil Nasir

Bantam Spectra, ISBN 0-553-56887-6, 1996, 256pp, US$5.99

A book review by Evelyn C. Leeper

Copyright 1996 Evelyn C. Leeper

This book is an odd combination of mysticism and mathematics, with some horror touches thrown in. The story centers around a teenage girl who is trying to escape from her abusive foster father, and avoid her equally threatening birth mother, by studying Thaumatomathematics. Parts of this book seem to be descendants of Dennis Wheatley and Fritz Leiber, with covens and witchcraft. But just when you think you now what's happening, Nasir pulls the rug out from under you with a complete change of direction.

The very fact that this book doesn't fit into a definite category means that it will have difficulty finding its audience. In fact, I'm not sure I can even describe who that audience would be, and certainly not without revealing more of the plot than I want to. I did find that the child-abuse/custody case part proceeded a bit too conveniently for the plot to be completely convincing, which may seem an odd complaint about a book that has so many hard-to-believe concepts. On the other hand, one requirement that I have for a speculative fiction book is that unless something is intentionally and clearly a variation from our world, it should be true to reality as we know it. On the other hand, maybe this is how these cases go--I have no first-hand experience (thank goodness).

In any case, this is certainly an interesting book. While all the individual elements have been used before, this is an original and unique blending of them. It may not be to everyone's taste--unusual blends often are not--but if the thought intrigues you, give this a try.

%T      The Higher Space
%A      Jamil Nasir
%C      New York
%D      June 1996
%I      Bantam Spectra
%O      paperback, US$5.99
%G      ISBN 0-553-56887-6
%P      256pp

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