About Me

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Adalbert is a forum for me, to post ephemera, photography, poetry, occasional travel notes, and various spontaneous motions. Cover photo: Parsonage where my great-grandfather spent his early years. Taken near Liegnitz, Silesia, ca. 1870. The "xothique" portion of the web address is a nod to Clark Ashton Smith's fictional continent of Zothique.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

The Pallid Giant

 A few years ago, at a going- out- of- business sale at a bookstore contained in an older house, in Portland, Oregon, I purchased The Pallid Giant: A Tale of Yesterday and Tomorrow (1927), by Pierrepont Noyes.The book is a curious novel, with some disorienting leaps in pacing and style. The initial parts take place in Europe, during and after the post-World War I peace conference in Paris.  The book has different elements and tones (including a section, ostensibly a translation of a manuscript from a group of humans in an ancient epoch)  which are inconclusive, and which never cohere. The opening chapters contain some engaging narrative, including an account of an exploration of a cavern in the Pyrenees, along with the discovery of enigmatic artifacts. The unnamed narrator, together with other characters, including Grudge, Professor Gribbon, and the local woman Mraaya, have some suspenseful and enthralling adventures on their quest for new knowledge. The novel loses momentum with its tale-within-a tale, with coined words, names, and disquieting elements of eugenics; but the author does loosely, and correctly, anticipate a future of cataclysmically destructive weapons.