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Imajica by Clive Barker
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Imajica (original 1991; edition 1992)

by Clive Barker

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2,507293,951 (4.04)73
From master storyteller Clive Barker comes an epic tale of myth, magic, and forbidden passion--complete with new illustrations and a new Appendix. Imajica is an epic beyond compare: vast in conception, obsessively detailed in execution, and apocalyptic in its resolution. At its heart lies the sensualist and master art forger, Gentle, whose life unravels when he encounters Judith Odell, whose power to influence the destinies of men is vaster than she knows, and Pie 'oh' pah, an alien assassin who comes from a hidden dimension. That dimension is one of five in the great system called Imajica. They are worlds that are utterly unlike our own, but are ruled, peopled, and haunted by species whose lives are intricately connected with ours. As Gentle, Judith, and Pie 'oh' pah travel the Imajica, they uncover a trail of crimes and intimate betrayals, leading them to a revelation so startling that it changes reality forever.… (more)
Member:dennymeta
Title:Imajica
Authors:Clive Barker
Info:HarperVoyager (1992), Paperback, 1136 pages
Collections:Your library
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Imajica by Clive Barker (Author) (1991)

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» See also 73 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
Sorry, couldn't finish it--again. Tried years ago, too. While it may be that Barker started a trend with Imajica... I can't be bothered reading this. It's kinda... florid? ( )
  Loryndalar | Mar 19, 2020 |
“Her voice was raw with the dust, and bitter. He liked the sound of it. Women who had anger in them were always so much more interesting than their contented sisters.”

Three months. 824 pages. Incalculable beers. One wife. I wish I’d gotten my new pair of Red Wings before starting this book. I’ve been spending my reading sessions with them laced up over thick winter socks, pacing the kitchen amongst pan and cutlery clatter, over the whirring of the oven range fan, the howling liquefication from the food processer, and all the while the skin on my feet silently screaming under that unforgiving oxblood leather. These boots would’ve been broken in by now.

Do I regret the time spent on this tumescent fantasy/horror/erotic tale? Of course not. I got to read to the wife, and it offered moments of originality. But did it need to be so long? Well, maybe. Somehow, though, after all those pages, over five dominions and the In Ovo as glue between them, the world Barker created seems smaller than the sum of its parts. Sometimes more is less. Sometimes less is more. Sometimes more is just . . . more. I felt the terrain, the miles of the journey, the aching heel on my left foot as it desperately tried to heal itself between crushing sessions within the Spanish boot. I don’t feel the passage of time, however. No weathering, no wrinkles, no grand wisdom gained from all that trudging. Sometimes a long book is just a long book whether you feel it in the muscles or not.

The book was heavy, though. The hardback version, switching arms between pages, recto and verso, really tested my bicep and trapezius muscles. Oh, the concepts . . . I guess there was some depth, some interesting creatures, magic and whoop-dee-doo and nearly unpronounceable place names. Holy Hapexamendios! But what was it all about? All that flexion of muscle, both back and tongue, and barely enough food for the lobes of the cerebrum, desperately reaching across their own dominions to touch, ignite fire, burst imagination both vital and vibrant. Mass does not equal breadth.

Am I being reductive? You bet I am. It’s my specialty. The distillation of concepts into a weird, pithy, vibrating whole. You know, like those creepy gelatin molds from the Sixties. The more complicated the ideas, the more pages of notes, the greater the research will always serve as more vegetable matter to blend into a potable soup. Whirring. Liquefaction. Unrelenting shoe leather squeezing feet on their restless paces between opposite ends of the kitchen.

Whether more is more or more is less, I still enjoyed the read. The explicit sex told in exhaustive, laughable detail . . . the mountain of characters who largely will go unremembered, buried at the base of that mountain . . . the vistas on other worlds, in other dominions, feeling all too Earthlike, no more unfamiliar than the prairies of Nebraska, populated with beings stretched, ripped, and recombined from Dali’s canvases.

I don’t know, I don’t really want to talk about the details of the book. Anyone can go to Wikipedia for that. Or read the book itself. It’s worth it—just barely. I can’t help, though, feeling what Clive Barker must’ve felt when starting this project, entering the second dominion and taking all those pages to get there and realizing that there were hundreds more to go. Man, that would’ve been enough for me to hit the button to the Cuisinart then and there. Proof, for me, that grand ambition doesn’t always yield great art. I’m being hard, I know, but Jesus my feet hurt. And my brain doesn’t. After all those pneuma-blown pages, maybe that’s the point.

And I do truly, deeply, madly love reading to my wife. Three months of time well spent. Those beers were super tasty. And man, you should see my biceps right now.

“He had visited the studio on and off through his time with Vanessa—he’d even met Martine there on two occasions when her husband had canceled a Luxembourg trip and she’d been too heated to miss a liaison—but it was charmless and cheerless, and he’d returned happily to the house in Wimpole Mews. Now, however, he welcomed the studio’s austerity. He turned on the little electric fire, made himself a cup of fake coffee with fake milk, and, under its influence, thought about deception.” ( )
  ToddSherman | Jan 19, 2019 |
Audible edition, read by Simon Vance. Good narration does make a difference. I may come back and write a more detailed review, but I just wanted to put some feedback down. Very entertaining book. Lots of big ideas, a sojourn through other worlds, men and magicians standing with and against gods and goddesses, all the kinds of stuff I love. Characters behave believably some of the time, but some of the time not at all. Overall I can't think what I'd remove from the book, but it did feel like it could have used some editing. Especially concerning pacing, some segments lingered a bit longer than they needed to. The core ideas could have been told in several hundred less pages, but again, I don't know what could have been cut out without diminishing the whole. ( )
1 vote michaeladams1979 | Oct 11, 2018 |
Though the back blurb and intro give Judith a last name, I found it nowhere in the text while multiple names are bestowed on the male characters. For all the anti-toxic-male thread that develops in this work, the gaze is unrelentingly male. Most of the huge size is dribbled away in dialog between characters that only minimally interested me. There are wanderings, but of any wonders encountered, it is mostly the monsters that are reported, though I did like the watery Yzordderrex scenes. I found the blasphemies bland and the debaucheries commonplace and the whole work of more value as fertilizer for what other authors have grown from its substance than for itself. ( )
  quondame | Aug 26, 2018 |
This was a buddy-read with Dustin.

Impressive in its scope and imagining, Clive Barker has created a marathon epic, with sprawling worlds, dozens of wonderfully strange and outlandish characters straight out of our nightmares, incredibly complex confrontations, deep philosophy, high adventure, and staggering tension, all thrown at the reader from the excellent beginning to the satisfying end.

This is not a light read by any means, but the prose is fully developed. There are many unusual words in his writing, yet the story flows perfectly. I listened to the entire book, over 37 hours, and found that losing concentration for just a few minutes caused me to lose the storyline; everything weaves together into a huge web of incredible proportions. The book has frequent plot twists and most of the characters are far from what they seem.

Oh, the characters! There are so many characters, on five separate worlds, with sub-plots intertwined between them all. At first, all this may seem intimidating, but Barker does a fantastic job of keeping the story moving forward. It must be noted that the reader MUST pay attention (reading or listening). Failing to do so means the story’s core will be lost.

There are things in this book that might make some readers uncomfortable; some of it is offensive and downright blasphemous. It is, after all, a book in which Barker creates a religion with a rich and full history, then ties that religion with the views and beliefs of “common men” of the Fifth Dominion (Earth) who have no idea that the Imajica even exists.

Ultimately, Barker has crafted a tale that takes the reader on a long, dark fantasy journey that trips the mind and is awesome in its scope. He gracefully paints this epic in all the graphic detail that’s come to be expected, and the reader is thrust from the mundane into an adventure of awful worlds, euphoric desire, horrendous gore, and heart-wrenching love. ( )
1 vote ssimon2000 | May 7, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Barker, CliveAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Reinert, KirkCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It was the pivotal teaching of Pluthero Quexos, the most celebrated dramatist of the Second Dominion, that in any fiction, no matter how ambitious its scope or profound its theme, there was only ever room for three players.
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