Tuesday, July 22, 2014
The Metal Monster!
Just finished A. Merritt's outlandish thrill ride The Metal Monster. This is one of those wild yarns that picks you up and never lets you go.
Originally serialized in Argosy in the 20's, this science fiction novel is one of the most mind-boggling adventures I've ever encountered. The description by Merritt of the elaborate thing, dubbed for lack of any better terms "The Metal Monster", seems to lay just beyond my ability to apprehend it. Merritt describes and describes and describes, assaulting the reader's senses with colors and shapes and forms, but it's all rather difficult to hold together as we encounter a life form which is well and truly alien.
What we have is another adventure of Dr.Goodwin who was our eyes and ears in the earlier Merritt novel The Moon Pool. He returns with more of his heroic friends to explore the wilds of the Himalayas where they find a fantastically powerful woman named Norhalla, the last remnant of an ancient Persian culture who has control, of sorts, of a impossibly complex network of machines which express themselves (or itself) as cubes, cones, spheres, and such. These are amazingly powerful devices who suck their power from the Sun itself and are capable of ferocious damage when commanded by the implacable Norhalla.
Goodwin and his compatriots Drake, Ruth, and her brother Martin try to understand and then escape the clutches of this all-powerful goddess who seems devoid of most normal human characteristics, save the most brutal and ferocious.
The Metal Monster is a lush and truly weird adventure. Be prepared to have your senses assaulted as Merritt paints one astounding picture after another in an effort to fully describe an impossible beast.