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Review: The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson


Professor Vellitt Boe teaches at the prestigious Ulthar Women’s College. When one of her most gifted students elopes with a dreamer from the waking world, Vellitt must retrieve her.

But the journey sends her on a quest across the Dreamlands and into her own mysterious past, where some secrets were never meant to surface.

My thoughts:

After I finished reading The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe I learned that it is based on one of Lovecraft’s stories, a story I’ve never read nor heard about before. I’m not exactly sure if it would have been a different reading experience if I had known that story, but while reading this one, I felt like I was missing something, like the author was trying to convey a message and I just didn’t get it.

On top of that I had troubles with the world. It’s always hard to set up a whole new world in such a small amount of pages and this time I felt it. It was just too much in too short a time and I just couldn’t grasp this world, as intriguing as it seemed at first. What bothered me the most is that this seemed to be a story about women, but then it is set in a typical men’s world. It might be the author’s way of dealing with the lack of female characters in Lovecraft’s story but I would have expected a different kind of world, thinking again, that I just didn’t get what the author was doing here.

Short fiction is always hit or miss but the team has done an amazing job so far and I’ve found many stories I enjoyed. You can tell how much work goes into these stories. The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe even comes with a map! Sadly, this just didn’t work out for me, and this quest wasn’t as exciting as I hoped it would be, being yet another traveling story that just couldn’t hold my attention.


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Aug 15, 2016