Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Book Review: 'The Day Star' by Mark Geston


 2 / 5 Stars

‘The Day Star’ is DAW Book No. 6 and was released in 1972; the cover art, and several fine pen-and-ink illustrations in the book’s interior, were done by George Barr.

The plot is more fantasy / fable than SF. In the Earth of the far future, a young man named Thel wanders the streets of a city named ‘R’, a city gripped by entropy. His companions in this joyless town are the ghost of an ancestor, named Pagent; and a wizard named Marne. 

The world is in prolonged decline due to a calamity that befell the most remarkable city in history: Ferrin. 

Ferrin’s citizenry had succeeded in creating an artificial star, the Day Star of the book’s title, a star capable of slowing time and prolonging human life. When the star unexpectedly decayed, entropy was freed to invade the Earth and render life miserable for all the peoples in the territories and cities outside Ferrin.

When Thel and Pagent recover a fragment of the Day Star, they decide to embark on a journey to Ferrin, in the hopes of aiding in the effort to re-construct the Star and restore the world to its former glory. En route they encounter various dangers and perils, for Chaos seeks to impede the advent of a second Day Star. 

Despite being only 126 pages in length, ‘Day Star’ is a ponderous read. Author Geston was intent on emulating the highly stylized, poetically-tinged diction of Ray Bradbury, and as a result negotiating paragraphs, much less entire pages, is an exercise in patience. There is much use of metaphors and similes: the Sun Retreats, Winds Shriek, Rockets Dangle Obscenely (from the Bellies of Aircraft), the Wind Leaves Solitary Grains of Memory Behind in its Passing, etc. 

Only readers intent on sitting down with a very slow-paced, introspective, almost self-indulgent piece of fiction will find 'The Day Star' rewarding. Others are best passing on this ‘old school’ Daw Books entry.

2 comments:

MPorcius said...

Tarbandu, I have not read The Day Star myself, but I cannot believe that your review is fair. Based on the awesome cover illustration, there can be no doubt that The Day Star is an awesome adventure story, full of awesome monsters, awesome violence featuring awesome energy pistol fire, even awesome clothing. It is so awesome that it stars a duo of three people; it unleashes more awesomeness than a duo of merely two people could handle!

Obviously, reading this book is like living the dream all of us SF nerds have of dressing up like Darth Vader's chauffeur, marching across a desert where the only landmarks are gnarled leafless trees, and shooting hundreds of serpentine monsters with huge pupiless eyes. This book should be the basis of the next game from Id Software.

tarbandu said...

MPorcius, I would not steer you wrong. However much the cover of 'The Day Star' promises genuine Monster Action, the sad truth is the monsters only appear in a brief section of the novel.

And they're not really 'monsters'. They are creatures generated from raindrops (?!) that in turn are being discharged from a storm created by the existential angst and spiritual anomie gripping the land in the aftermath of the Fall of Ferrin.....zzzzzzzzz