The Aphorisms of Kherishdar and The Admonishments of Kherishdar reviewed
I've never liked the aphoristic form, never warmed to twee, manga-style illustrations and have always been suspicious of Utopias — in my experience, the latter tend to be either fascist or ridiculously simplistic in nature — or both.
So it was with more than a little trepidation that I leafed through the twin volumes that recently arrived in the mail for me, The Aphorisms of Kherishdar and The Admonishments of Kherishdar, both written and illustrated by one M.C.A. Hogarth, who — remarkably — read my evisceration of Battlestar Galactica's abysmal finale and asked whether I'd be interested in reviewing her efforts at what I think she called "anthropological science fiction".
Well-bound and printed on good paper, but with covers that feel a little too much like mediocre comic book covers, before even opening either book I was already contemplating a quick email to the author, thanking her for the review copies and informing her that I would not actually review the books. Criticizing Battlestar Galactica or doing my small bit to prick the inflated reputation of the likes of Gregory Maguire is one thing. Slamming a self-published writer of little standing in the world of lit-rah-toor is something very different and not a game I intend to play without good reason.
But still, the author went to the trouble of sending me review copies; the least I could do was to ignore the covers and give the words a chance.
And I'm glad I did; Hogarth has written a diptych quite unlike any I have read before.