Claude Lalumiere- Canadian Fantasy Writer
One of the nice perks to this job is I get to meet different authors. Getting to know fantasy writer Claude Lalumiere is just one example of this. I will confess, with the thousands of authors out in the world, I had never heard of Claude’s work. But when we met I was charmed by his wit and intelligence and so asked his editor to forward a few of his books to me. His two collections of short stories, Objects of Worship and The Door to Lost Pages I will tell you more about below. But first, let me tell you a bit about the man behind these stories.
This is the kind of guy you can discuss the art of the word with over a glass of wine, and not feel like anyone is being pretentious. We are just talking about a shared passion. That is because he is very passionate about many things, as any good writer should be. Then again, it may because he is French. Hey- I am allowed to say this, being French myself. I know we are a nation of passionate beings. But beyond this passion is a curiosity about who we are and what makes us tick. It shows in his writing. These are not your conventional fantasy stories of beautiful fantastic beings that we swoon to love.
There is a place for those, but not with Claude’s work. His stories instead remind me somewhat of Harlan Ellison’s short explorations into the mind and experiences of the world around us, or Lovecraft’s exploration of the weird within. These are the kind of stories that the term “speculative fiction” so aptly describes. We can indeed speculate while thinking of each story – just who are we and what kinds of gods do we worship? It may be just the start of your own discovery of a new fantasy writer’s viewpoint of the world we live in, or might live in.
This is a sometimes creepy but always interesting collection of stories that looks at life through a very different lens. What do we, in this age of abandoned gods really worship? There may be some very real gods in the title story, and the relationship between worshipper and worshipped is clearly laid out. You are probably half-way through the story before you catch the sly world being setup here. Who is really the control of this place? What is the role of the god here?
There are several stories that owe their central beat to the world of comic books. Even if you don’t have a history with them, Spiderkid is homage to all the fantasy stories of misfits who have looked for relief in some kind of fantasy world. What all the stories have in common is a dark but sincere look at what deep inner needs drive us to find an outward symbol of our own souls.
Fantasy has long given all of us a refuge from the world, and here is a collection of explorations of where the search can sometimes lead us. Not every story hits its mark completely, but even when he misses Claude does it with a tale we want to follow. My only disappointment was sometimes I wanted more.
Everyone I describe this book to is intrigued, for it is the mysterious book store we all dream about finding. The title is also the name of the bookstore that these stories revolve around. It is a place that you are drawn to when you need your life to change, and are ready for it. How can you not love the idea of a bookstore that holds all the books that don’t actually exist. The books about topics no-one reads anymore. You get the picture.
Into the store walks 10 year-old Aydee. The first two stories involve her story and from there it simply gets much more complex. For in the background is a war between the two primal forces, and it is a battle we watch from the sidelines of the bookstore. A word of warning, there are some very adult scenes in the latter stories, so don’t be fooled by the first two into thinking you can lend this to a child. There is nothing out of hand, but not for kids.
Throughout the stories we watch Aydee grow up and in the end confront her own worst nightmare: herself. If you love Neil Gaiman with a touch of Lovecraft, you will get into these stories. Dark, but not bitter, and always just a bit more out then than you were expecting. Be adventurous and travel into The Door to Lost Pages yourself.