Michael Swanwick (Stations of the Tide
and The Iron Dragon's Daughter
) has long been too innovative for his own good, and Jack Faust
continues that tradition. This story has elements of science fiction, fantasy, horror, comedy, literature, and probably a few other genres, which means it's likely too confusing to get the attention it deserves. But don't let that stop you from reading this wonderful take-off on the famous story of Dr. Faust, who in this tale conjures up the Devil after a fit of book-burning. The Devil, it seems, can offer Faust the knowledge he seeks in the form of hard science (flight, electricity, etc.). But Faust is blind to the fact that this gift from Mephistopheles will lead not only to his destruction but that of humanity as well. Which, of course, is just what the Devil wants.
From Library Journal
In this reworking of the Faust legend by a Nebula Award-winning author (for Stations of the Tide, LJ 2/15/91), the medieval and the modern intertwine, but the classic theme remains intact: Will complete knowledge bring about ennoblement or destruction? Swanwick's Faust is still set in the Old World Europe of Goethe and Marlowe, but this Faust is more interested in marketing his new inventions?such as rockets?than in alchemy. We follow Faust in his frustrated intellectual quest, especially as he burns his library, which, instead of revealing to him the knowledge he has so desperately sought, has rewarded him only with uncertainty. At war with God for concealing life's meaning from humankind, he turns to the only other source of help for him: Mephistopheles. Swanwick's literary power lies in his ability to blend seamlessly elements of fantasy with the most mundane concepts. His characterizations are carefully controlled. Readers will benefit by delving into the original Faust before tackling this grim tale.?Margaret A. Smith, Grace A. Dow Memorial Lib., Midland, Mich.
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