Welcome back to the Friday Fiction Feature! The themes have returned, and this week, we’ve got an experiment in how different two books with the same title can be. All of the books today start with the same idea: a Labyrinth (which definitely doesn’t have anything to do with Tabatha’s project on the film Labyrinth).
First up, is Labyrinth (Languedoc #1) by Kate Mosse, a contemporary/historical novel with an archeological turn.
July 2005. In the Pyrenees mountains near Carcassonne, Alice, a volunteer at an archaeological dig, stumbles into a cave and makes a startling discovery-two crumbling skeletons, strange writings on the walls, and the pattern of a labyrinth. Eight hundred years earlier, on the eve of a brutal crusade that will rip apart southern France, a young woman named Alais is given a ring and a mysterious book for safekeeping by her father. The book, he says, contains the secret of the true Grail, and the ring, inscribed with a labyrinth, will identify a guardian of the Grail. Now, as crusading armies gather outside the city walls of Carcassonne, it will take a tremendous sacrifice to keep the secret of the labyrinth safe.
Next, in The Maze Runner (Maze Runner #1) by James Dashner we move into the more literal meaning of a Labyrinth, and the less literal meaning of ‘reality’ in this sci-fi thriller.
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls. Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every thirty days a new boy has been delivered in the lift. Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.
For a sci-fi blast from the past, I’ve found Labyrinth of Evil (Star Wars: The Dark Lord Trilogy #1) by James Luceno, just for you!
The war that erupted in Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones is nearing its boiling point, as the dauntless Separatist forces continue their assault on the teetering Republic–and the diabolical triumvirate of Count Dooku, General Grievous, and their Master, Darth Sidious, fine-tune their strategy for conquest. In Episode III Revenge of the Sith the fates of key players on both sides of the conflict will be sealed. But first, crucial events that pave the way to that time of reckoning unfold in a labyrinth of evil. . . .
Capturing Trade Federation Viceroy–and Separatist Councilmember–Nute Gunray is the mission that brings Jedi Knights Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, with a squad of clones in tow, to Neimoidia. But the treacherous ally of the Sith proves as slippery as ever, evading his Jedi pursuers even as they narrowly avoid deadly disaster. Still, their daring efforts yield an unexpected prize: a unique holotransceiver that bears intelligence capable of leading the Republic forces to their ultimate quarry, the ever-elusive Darth Sidious. Swiftly taking up the chase, Anakin and Obi-Wan follow clues from the droid factories of Charros IV to the far-flung worlds of the Outer Rim . . . every step bringing them closer to pinpointing the location of the Sith Lord–whom they suspect has been manipulating every aspect of the Separatist rebellion. Yet somehow, in the escalating galaxy-wide chess game of strikes, counterstrikes, ambushes, sabotage, and retaliations, Sidious stays constantly one move ahead. Then the trail takes a shocking turn. For Sidious and his minions have set in motion a ruthlessly orchestrated campaign to divide and overwhelm the Jedi forces–and bring the Republic to its knees.
Moving from the supernatural to the metaphysical, we’ve got The Labyrinth of Solitude and Other Writings by Octavio Paz, Lysander Kemp (Translator), Yara Milos (Translator).
Octavio Paz has long been acknowledged as Mexico’s foremost writer and critic. In this international classic, Paz has written one of the most enduring and powerful works ever created on Mexico and its people, character, and culture. Compared to Ortega y Gasset’s The Revolt of the Masses for its trenchant analysis, this collection contains his most famous work, “The Labyrinth of Solitude,” a beautifully written and deeply felt discourse on Mexico’s quest for identity that gives us an unequalled look at the country hidden behind “the mask.” Also included are “The Other Mexico,” “Return to the Labyrinth of Solitude,” “Mexico and the United States,” and “The Philanthropic Ogre,” all of which develop the themes of the title essay and extend his penetrating commentary to the United States and Latin America.
To finish this list of magic, science fiction, and philosophy, we have Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges.
If Jorge Luis Borges had been a computer scientist, he probably would have invented hypertext and the World Wide Web. Instead, being a librarian and one of the world’s most widely read people, he became the leading practitioner of a densely layered imaginistic writing style that has been imitated throughout this century, but has no peer (tho Umberto Eco sometimes comes close). His stories are redolent with an intelligence, wealth of invention and a tight, almost mathematically formal style that challenge with mysteries and paradoxes revealed only after several readings. Highly recommended to anyone who wants their imagination & intellect to be aswarm with philosophical plots, compelling conundrums and a wealth of real & imagined literary references derived from an infinitely imaginary library.