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Weaveworld by Clive Barker

Weaveworld (1987)

by Clive Barker

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Recently added byarialee38, tistje, Wasabiishot, private library, agotowicki, ForeverMasterless, sci901, Aneris, DebraPerli
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    jseger9000: In Silent Graves shares many themes in common with Weaveworld. To say much more may act as a spoiler for both books.
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    Kraken by China Miéville (ShelfMonkey)

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Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
Very strange book... at times, I was enthralled, but mostly... mostly, I just stared at the pages thinking, "What the...?"

If I were a bigger fantasy fan, I'd love this, I'm sure. But I'm more sci-fi than fantasy, and this definitely falls on the fantastical side of that thin line. So I'm going to say I liked it, but I'm not really sure that's a true statement... ( )
  BethanyMoore | May 13, 2016 |
Weaveworld is one of the very few books that I can claim to enjoy from the first page to the last, all 700 pages of it. Even the introduction is great, normally I skim through lengthy intros to get to the story, but Clive Barker puts his heart and soul into this one, including this beautiful passage about the genre fiction:

“I have been, I think, altogether disparaging about the ‘escapist’ elements of the genre, emphasizing its powers to address social, moral and even philosophical issues at the expense of celebrating its dreamier virtues. I took this position out of a genuine desire to defend a fictional form I love from accusations of triviality and triteness, but my zeal led me astray. Yes, fantastic fiction can be intricately woven into the texture of our daily lives, addressing important issues in fabulist form. But it also serves to release us for a time from the definitions that confine our daily selves; to unplug us from a world that wounds and disappoints us, allowing us to venture into places of magic and transformation.”

As a lifelong devotee of SF/F/H fiction, I sometimes have the same doubts about preferring this type of fiction above all others but the above passage really puts it in perspective for me.

Weaveworld is about another dimension called “The Fugue” which has been transformed into a carpet in order to hide from an unstoppable creature called “The Scourge”. The residents of the Fugue are called the “Seerkind”, a race with magical abilities who view mankind with disdain and refer to humans as “cuckoos”. The Fugue in carpet form works a little like suspended animation or dehydrated food in which places, animals and most of the Seerkind are woven in as patterns on the carpet; to be reconstituted by an appointed guardian when the world is safe. The storyline concerns two human protagonists who become involved with the Fugue and the Seerkind and their struggle against powerful enemies who are trying to destroy both.

I first read Weaveworld around fifteen years ago and certain elements and scenes have stuck with me through all these years. It is a dark fantasy with several horrifying scenes — definitely not for the faint of heart — and scenes of surreal beauty. The most memorable element of the book for me is the magical jacket worn by Shadwell, the main human antagonist of the book, the lining of the jacket is able to enslave anyone who look at it by showing their heart's desire and allowing them to delve into it and obtain that very thing.

The central characters are very well written and believable, the antagonists are suitably warped, formidable and devious. In spite of its considerable length Weaveworld still manages to move at a fair clip. Something bizarre is always happening on almost every page and boredom never sets in. There is also more artistry in his prose than you would find in most genre books. The best thing about this book is that it is wonderful escapism, this book can sweep you away from a dull rainy day, or a slow day at the office. If you are a fan of Neil Gaiman’s [b: American Gods|4407|American Gods (American Gods, #1)|Neil Gaiman|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1258417001s/4407.jpg|1970226] this book is likely to be right up your alley, though it is much more horrific, packed to the gills with horrible slimy, sticky, drippy – not to mention horny – monstrosities.

With an average rating of 4.13 Weaveworld is generally very well liked. However, all books have their share of negative reviews and while I respect opinions contrary to my own, I take exception to one review that says this book “is lacking”. The trouble is the reviewer does not say what it is that the book is lacking. Is “lacking” an adjective now? In any case I don’t think it lacks anything and I heartily recommend it.

Cover art for the 25th anniversary edition of Weaveworld by Richard A. Kirk (click on image for larger size).

Note: I have to admit Clive Barker's books are generally very hard to review, they tend to be densely plotted and the settings and storylines are always so goddam outré. This is particularly true of Weaveworld, I really struggled to write this review. I normally make notes when I read a novel so I will have some material ready to put in my review, but with this book I was so engrossed that I hardly paused to make any notes at all; just a sentence or two. ( )
  apatt | Dec 26, 2015 |
Have you ever read a Clive Barker novel? If so, congratulations- you’ve read Weaveworld. Did you enjoy his style? If so, then you’ll enjoy this one as well. Weaveworld contains all of Barker’s basic plot elements: magic, mysterious other world under threat, meddling humans, strangely narrated sex scenes, and graphic, visceral horror (these last two in much less supply than other Barker tales). In fact, everything feels almost summarized in this book. The story itself has promise and potential, but a better editor would have drawn that out more clearly.

In this tale, the world under threat is “The Fugue”, a realm literally woven into the fabric of a carpet to protect its inhabitants from a power of destruction known only as “The Scourge”. In addition, a member of the Seerkind (the people of the Fugue) and her Cuckoo (human) sidekick seek the carpet for themselves. It falls to the Cuckoos Suzanna and Cal to save Seerkind…and discover their own powers along the way.

There are beautiful moments here- most of them centered around experiences in the Fugue. Suzanna’s battle with a fascist police inspector within the pages of a book of fairy tales is probably my favorite scene in the novel, and I wish Barker had evoked that sense of wonder throughout. Unfortunately, those moments are few and far between, and ultimately, Barker’s second novel falls short in both fantasy and horror.

Overall, Weaveworld is Barker-lite. There’s enough here for fans to enjoy, but new readers will ease into Barker’s twisted tales through a subdued introduction. ( )
  porcupineracetrack | Jul 16, 2015 |
The story itself is good, fantastical fiction. While Barker is known for his horror, this book is more of an epic fantasy with touches of horror thrown in for color. There was nothing in here that sent chills up my spine or had me sleeping with the lights on. I found the villains imaginatively crafted and the parallel Weaveworld unique in fantasy fiction.

My biggest problem is that Barker has to dirty things up. If there is a filthy (filthiest) word for something, he will use it, even when unnecessary to the furtherance of the mood or portrayal of the character. In the middle of a beautiful scene, he HAS to throw in something trashy or vulgar. I don't get why he does that. I'm not adverse to bad language and looking over my fiction list, it's evident that foul language isn't something I take much notice of. It's sort of like Spike Lee calling out Tarantino for his over-over-over-use of the n-word. There comes a point when you wonder about a person's state of mind. I realize other people were wondering that long before with his straight-up horror, but it fit better in that world. Here it just seems out of place, like he has to dab some excrement on his wonderful imagery. ( )
  Hae-Yu | Jul 13, 2015 |
I dithered about what to rate this one - I really want half point options for moments like this!

I've been wanting to read Barker for months, out of the blue found his work and wanted to read all of it. I started here and I don't think it was a bad choice. First up he's an incredible craftsman, this is one of those novels that I both enjoyed for the story and for the novel crafting I could see in it. The prose was great, the plotting was good and I could see the structural impressiveness of it, too.

The story itself was wonderful. I'd been warned that Barker was dark and gory but wanted to find out for myself. Turns out that I find him [i]wonderfully[/i] dark and gory! None of it was gratuitous, in fact I don't think Immocolata would have been as impressive a villain if she hadn't been so confrontingly evoked. I liked the characterisation, I loved seeing the developments of their perspectives, they grew and changed as a result of the events of the plot - as they are supposed to! I could see the influence of this book, too, as a prelude to things like urban fantasy as a genre. Even while reading it I was nodding and thinking "this is why people list it as a classic. It's solid and important."

Why not five stars? I had two major issues that stopped me loving it rather than just really enjoying and appreciating it. It seemed lengthy, I liked the plot developments but it felt like we had two or three "false climaxes" and it began to drag towards the end for me. The end was still satisfying but I felt like I'd wasted emotional energy on the previous climax and resolution points. I also struggled with the third person omniscient-ness, I know it can produce detachment from characters and the story and Barker was great in producing characters that were memorable and well-rounded despite that, but I never felt close to them. They were memorable, yes, but I didn't quite go far enough to [i]care[/i] about their fate. It was just beautifully wrought story about some people with strong tendencies and personality quirks. I think this added to my apathy towards the finale, I was over seeing these characters try and try and try again. It's a nice plot device but draining when my compulsion to follow the characters is weak to begin with. Suzanna in particular was a bit nothing for me, we're told she's practical and hands on and likes pottery but she was a bit empty for me. Cal was less so but still suffered in the end.

All that aside: read it. This is one of those fantasy classics I wish I had found earlier and despite my personal lack of focus towards the end and issues with not bonding tightly enough to some of the characters it's really, really worth the read. If only to read some of Barker's lovely prose, but the execution of the story is entirely worth it as well.

( )
  heaven_star | Oct 20, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Clive Barkerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Žáček, MilanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Daniel, JanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Körber, JoachimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Puszta, DóraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Snel, MariëllaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Warren, JimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
White, TimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743417356, Paperback)

Clive Barker has made his mark on modern fiction by exposing all that is surreal and magical in the ordinary world --- and exploring the profound and overwhelming terror that results. With its volatile mix of the fantastical and the contemporary, the everyday and the otherworldly, Weaveworld is an epic work of dark fantasy and horror -- a tour de force from one of today's most forceful and imaginative artists.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:19 -0400)

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Susanna, granddaughter of the last caretaker, Calhoun Mooney, and Immacolata, an exiled witch intent on destroying her race, vie for a rug into which the world of Seerkind has been woven.

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