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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

The Archivist

Copyright 1989 by Gill Alderman

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Very good (4/5)

I first read this on the 5th February 1991.

In this stunning debut novel, Gill Alderman sweeps us thousands of years into the future and far from Earth, to the world of Guna

The planet Guna was settled almost 5000 years previously and civilisation spread across the the globe. Government was and remains a strict matriarchy. Civilisation flourished for four thousand years, but then, following a disaster, they forswore high-technology and reverted to a medieval, theological, stratified society that continued for the past five hundred years.

In the City, citizens are tattooed with the symbol of their caste and there can be no hope of social change or progress.

Magon Nonpareil, the Archivist of the City, has all the secrets and glories of the past recorded in his Archives. He knows current society is wrong and he has decided that there must be revolution and that the archives must be opened to all.

The novel starts with the story of Cal, the brilliant and beautiful street child who lives among the entertainers of the pleasure quarter.

This is an astounding novel, reminiscent of Delaney at his lyrical best. It's a slow and literate wander through the world of Guna, full of beautifully-drawn characters and situations.

I loved it.

Loaded on the 14th August 2005.
Cover of The Archivist
Cover art by Lee Gibbons and The Pinpoint Design Company