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The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe

by Kij Johnson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4763742,500 (4.04)35
Kij Johnson's haunting novella The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe is both a commentary on a classic H.P. Lovecraft tale and a profound reflection on a woman's life. Vellitt's quest to find a former student who may be the only person who can save her community takes her through a world governed by a seemingly arbitrary dream logic in which she occasionally glimpses an underlying but mysterious order, a world ruled by capricious gods and populated by the creatures of dreams and nightmares. Those familiar with Lovecraft's work will travel through a fantasy landscape infused with Lovecraftian images viewed from another perspective, but even readers unfamiliar with his work will be enthralled by Vellitt's quest. A remarkable accomplishment that repays rereading.… (more)
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Recensione su World of Interests

Questo racconto lungo è ispirato da una storia di Lovecraft: non ho letto quasi niente di quest’ultimo, e infatti non ho letto l’originale. Sì, lo so, dovrei spicciarmi e leggere qualcosa di suo, ma, per ora, non è nelle mie priorità.

Comunque. Non avendo letto nessuno dei racconti onirici di Lovecraft, probabilmente non ho colto dei passaggi che si rifanno a lui. Ho solo apprezzato la storia, e solo dopo ho letto l’intervista alla fine del volume e ho capito alcune cose.

Devo dire che questo racconto è stato molto interessante, anche se a tratti un po’ lento. È la prima volta che leggo qualcosa di quest’autrice, quindi non posso compararlo con altre storie, però ho trovato il tutto molto interessante: Kij Johnson prende il mondo onirico di Lovecraft e, in qualche modo, lo rende suo, creando una storia di ricerca e di sofferenza.

Inoltre, mi è piaciuto molto come l’autrice ha descritto il mondo onirico e come ha fatto vivere le differenze tra questo e la terra ai suoi personaggi (in particolare Vellitt e Claire). Inoltre mi è piaciuto il fatto che l’autrice abbia dato, diciamo, la sua “impronta” al mondo di Lovecraft, usando sì le sue creature ma rendendole allo stesso tempo un po’ diverse.

Inoltre, mentre in Lovecraft non ci sono praticamente donne, questo racconto ne fa le protagoniste: siano esse insegnanti, scolare, o ghoul. Questa è subito una netta differenza che ho apprezzato e che approvo: anche se le donne hanno parecchie difficoltà in entrambi i mondi (quello di Vellitt e la Terra), l’autrice ci ha mostrato le varie sfaccettature di ognuna di loro: sono coraggiose, viaggiatrici, portano avanti un collegio che è sempre minacciato dagli uomini, eternamente in conflitto con loro.

Devo dire che Vellitt mi è piaciuta abbastanza: pur essendo una donna di mezz’età, si imbarca in un viaggio pericolosissimo per riportare indietro una delle sue studentesse, anche contro il volere di dèi capricciosi e odiosi. Alla fine del racconto mi è sembrato di conoscerla molto bene, cosa che non mi capita spesso con testi molto brevi.

Degli altri personaggi conosciamo ben poco, anche se durante la lettura ho cambiato la mia opinione su Claire, che all’inizio mi sembrava una ragazza frivola, e un po’ stupida.

Nel complesso, lo stile di scrittura mi è piaciuto, anche se l’ho trovato un po’ lento in alcuni punti. Forse è perché non l’ho letto in poco tempo come al mio solito, visti i miei impegni personali.

Comunque, molto, molto consigliato ( )
  thereadingpal | Jun 14, 2022 |
A dream quest for the reader, as well as for Vellitt Boe, because we echo her every footstep across landscapes rich and strange. It's beautifully written, but has a certain slowness to the adventure. There were things about it that disturbed me, but also many interesting ideas for the mind to ponder. Solid. ( )
  jennybeast | Apr 14, 2022 |
Giving it 2 stars because I liked that Vellitt was a 50-ish woman traveling on her own, but that's about the extent I see the supposed feminism in this Lovecraft update. I got halfway through before I had to put it down. I enjoy journey/road novels--fantasy or not--so even when I felt a little suspicious as the premise was presented, I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. But all the knowledge keepers were men. And Vellitt didn't seem all that interested in the emancipation of women even though she herself was a "far-traveler." When a reference to rape was made no big deal, I was out. If I'm going to read Euro-centric fantasy nowadays, it needs to feel fresh, but the overly floral language was tedious, and the magical beasties didn't feel new or threatening. Over and out. ( )
  LibroLindsay | Jun 18, 2021 |
This was amazingly good. Johnson brilliantly succeeds in layering a dream-like feel over evocative scenes of wonder, horror, and human relationships.

It does rely on the reader also having read HP Lovecraft's Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, but that is not a hardship. ( )
  StuartEllis | Dec 13, 2020 |
I have never read the Lovecraft story that inspired The Dream-Quest of Villitt Boe but that in no way hampered my ability to enjoy this story. It was imaginative, fun, pensive and exciting while being a fairly poignant commentary on what it can feel like to be a woman in our world. If I had one complaint it would be that there were times where I didn't know entire blocks of words. That could be a deficit on my end, but there were entire descriptions I couldn't understand. Didn't happen often, but it happened. ( )
1 vote b_coli | Nov 25, 2020 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Johnson, KijAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ngai, VictoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For everyone who had to find her own way in
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Vellitt Boe was dreaming of a highway and ten million birds in an empty sky of featureless blue.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Kij Johnson's haunting novella The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe is both a commentary on a classic H.P. Lovecraft tale and a profound reflection on a woman's life. Vellitt's quest to find a former student who may be the only person who can save her community takes her through a world governed by a seemingly arbitrary dream logic in which she occasionally glimpses an underlying but mysterious order, a world ruled by capricious gods and populated by the creatures of dreams and nightmares. Those familiar with Lovecraft's work will travel through a fantasy landscape infused with Lovecraftian images viewed from another perspective, but even readers unfamiliar with his work will be enthralled by Vellitt's quest. A remarkable accomplishment that repays rereading.

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