Valiant Razalia – Michael Wyndham Thomas


Cover painting: Simon Bell

Continuation from HERE of my gestalt real-time review that deals on this page with the end of THE MERCURY ANNUAL (2009), then seamlessly into the beginning of PILGRIMS AT THE WHITE HORIZON (2013) both of which books constitute ‘Valiant Razalia’ by Michael Wyndham Thomas.

Publisher: Theaker’s Paperback Library

This review will take place in the comment stream below as and when I read the books:-


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14 responses to “Valiant Razalia – Michael Wyndham Thomas

  1. imagePages 120 – 134
    “What had Dreest caught in the net of breathing? Was it the murmurs that reputedly played on the surface of the creeping gaps? The cries of lost souls within them?”
    I really hear the voice of a futuristic JC Powys now in many of these passages with that wonderful crazeeeness bordering on genius, as the Razalians hear the voices of those other-worldly comic strips with margins-between-their-reality-like-empty-grids. As one world becomes a Maker and the other Unmade. Like Keith quoted a comic in spontaneous advice earlier in the book, now world speaks with world, reality with reality, from inside Dreest’s colander as a greater permeable form of Donna’s more directly-spouted teapot. Or so the Powys man tells me.

  2. Pages 134 – 152
    We shall consider the sun when we consider the sun.”
    I feel as if I am Des as Dreest, trying to cohere his own gestalt-vision or, rather, the gestalt-vision of another who created him. I am glad that the conundrum of the white gaps is not what I just thought nor does it seems as simple as Dreest tapping communication from the ‘doors’ between realities (those ‘doors’ as told about in ‘The Dark Tower’ series where Stephen King referred to that original ‘palaver’) and things are not indeed solved as easily as I thought an hour or so ago; there is is something far more complex and intriguing going on here: a ‘curiotwist’, something to do with Razalia’s three umber moons and my own erstwhile passion, during the 1970s, for astrology and astrological planetary harmonics.


    TMA pages 152 – 159 / PATWH pages 7 – 11
    “‘Dreest!’ he said. ‘You have taken us on a journey of journeys. You have gathered all that is into your sight.'”
    ‘all that is’. Beautiful. And the first book leaves me in the arms of ‘a Carolla who is not’… And I become Keith Huxtable again with his family, a bit like my own family and Des’s wife thinks his head is often on another world, too. His daughter, perhaps not. His son, well a bit like that Razalian sun, he guesses. Meanwhile, Des can’t wait to continue his journey, this time, judging by the size of the second book, an even longer one.
    “Did that square with the image of an understanding father, an accommodating husband?”

  4. Pages 11 – 20
    “Couldn’t he see it? When Mog had her scroll or parchment or whatever it was in her hand, he’d have the feel of a comic rolled in his.
    You know this book makes me really happy. The good feel not only of Mog’s future success at uni, Donna’s uxoriousness transcending her painful backstory, the discovery of Razalia, the consensus that the comics would be better off with George, all being right with the world as a natural progression from a 1950s annual. And Donna’s teapot as a recurring ‘objective correlative’. What could go wrong? Or further right? Comics shifted, Sundays freed up again. Life’s one long sleepover. Hmmm.

  5. This morning brought thoughts of another author, Wyndham Lewis, whose paintings and some of his SF-related ‘fiction’ and his connection with the Futurists and Vorticists, may — disregarding some of his political views and political interpretations of some of his works (beware The Intentional Fallacy!) — interest readers of ‘Valiant Razalia’ on a purely artistic level.

  6. Pages 20 – 35
    “‘Oh, I’m sure we’ll darken out again,” said Tharle, but without conviction. ‘You have worked magnificently, Dreest. My thanks and thanks again.”
    An don’t get me wrong, this book is for those who love comics of wondrous lands, of SF, of visionary fantasy and horror. Philosophical eschatology, modern art and high literature are optional extras! I was just wondering whether one needs to read TMH to fully appreciate PATWH. I would say yes, but I can’t now tell for certain for obvious reasons. Also I would contend they should be read close together, not over the four years that divide their respective publications. Which makes me ask were they written together or five years apart or somewhere between? A rhetorical question. I suppose one factor is that TMH ends with the words ‘TO BE CONTINUED’ in block capitals. That would tend to indicate that it was never intended possible to read them as discrete novels. But life is always to be continued whatever the odds against it – even beyond the ultimate darkness … Or whiteness.

    We now join the Tharles’ ‘palaver’ on Razalia. Followed by a a wonderful Pubtalk palaver where I LOVE the atmosphere of the pub, the textured style and the well-characterised friends and acquaintances, an eclectic group of folk but all of whom love these types of comics and their stories, their synchronised shards of random truth and fiction, and they listen to Keith and his Razalian discoverings (the leitmotifs of Razalia ever reaching toward their gestalt or crystallisation even while the place itself attenuates!) – those outcomes from the loft siftings, considerations re Donna and Mog, and matters concerning George’s Wonderland emporium and its part in the reaching out for preserving the comics…and much more.
    I’ve changed my mind. This IS high literature. Should easily win the Booker for 2013, judging by the six ne’erdowell-sounding books I heard about last night on BBC4 TV that are contending this year’s man booker! (I am being serious).

  7. And there is a tactile quality (albeit attenuating) to Keith’s Razalia, a bit like a painting with paint piled up in impasto or craquelure, from which emerged some of the earlier scenes of VALIANT RAZALIA. (Cf the Proustian Panoply artwork in ‘Nemonymous Night’)
    “His gloved hands journeyed over Razalia’s topography; an inquisitive finger paused on one of the several points at which ridge and valley petered out into whiteness.”

  8. Pages 35 – 60
    “…he knew that Dreest was something special […] harmless but irritating.”
    Yes, Dreest and his colander.
    We are now among what I once called the ribbons of reality (see my very short story of the same name published in ‘Mystique’ in 1995) – whereby Keith’s and Dreest’s worlds begin to slowly strobe in alternate ribbons of narration.

  9. Pages 60 – 71
    “There is more than the Maker to funnel up.”
    … So as to ‘quell the white’, I guess. That is what the print – on the pages we are reading – is doing, quelling the white, unless you’re reading it on a (God)forsaken ebook or computer with, say, white letters on a black screen. In these few pages there is an emotional comparison by the feminine imbuing of the Carolla-who-is-not’s significance on Razalia amid the Tharles’ Candling or palaver, i.e. a comparison with an old man (Gregory) in an old people’s home in England whose cracks (craquelure) in the walls he explores with his mind like those cracks which, I recall, were first described in the Razalian-geniusmisloci of the Mercury Annual’s Prologue. Keith’s co-Maker, this old man, as well as colander (co-Lander)? My question, not necessarily the book’s. Keith and Gregory as ontological or teleological Razalian phenomena?

  10. This real-time review now continues in the comment stream HERE

  11. Pingback: The Portswick Imp – Michael W. Thomas | DES LEWIS GESTALT REAL-TIME REVIEWS - established 2008

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