THE GREAT AND SECRET SHOW Paperback – 1990
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Top Customer Reviews
The Art are laws governing an alternate reality called Quididdty. Quididdty is the dream see, the dreamscape, the magic that runs through all our fantasies. Jaffe can think of nothing else except the Art and becoming a master of it. Quididdty is his for the taking.
Taking a scientist named Fletcher under his wing to further his growing evil, Jaffe hopes to get one step closer to mastering the Art. Fletcher creates a transforming drug they call Nuncio, which uses the principals of the Art. What they don't realize is that it will become their undoing.
Fletcher realizes that Jaffe is evil and attempts to stop his plans by destroying the Nuncio. He knows that the drug is capable of transforming anyone into what ever they are most on the inside. Good becomes great. Evil becomes more so. Except, the Nuncio has other plans. It transforms Fletcher and then Jaffe into Demigods. Not content to let the other live, (after all, good must always triumph over evil) Fletcher and Jaffe engage in a battle that brings them to Palamo Grove, a small town and an ideal place to hide and rest in the earth while regaining the energy to continue fighting.
Years pass. Then something unthinkable happens. Four girls, dubbed The League of Virgins, become pregnant after swimming in a river that appeared on the edge of town. When the girls start talking of being raped in the river, gossip in the small town grows to an all time high.Read more ›
Creating your own mythology is hard to pull off. Barker manages better than most who have attempted it. He slowly explains his concepts letting the reader digest what he is trying to get across one small portion at a time.
However, the characterization is hit and miss. Jaffe, the antagonist is fully developed and Barker really makes the ambiguity of the character tangible and you feel for him. But you don't realize the "true" protagonist until a good third into the book because they do not show up until then. When it does happen, the revelation seems whimsical and I found it difficult to accept. Especially when he does such a great job with Jaffe.
There is a Shakespearian element to this book that works very well and should have been the dominating element to this story. I think readers would have been satisfied with that. The love triangle and the events that led up to it are fully realized. He had enough to propel his grand scheme with just that. But the additional characters, such as the reporter and his friend were gratuitous. Maybe they play a bigger part in the sequel called "Everville."
I can see why people love this book and I can see why people hate it. Some great stuff but it's unbalanced.
I truly feel that great forms of art are born from simple, basic and minimal ideas that have room to grow and develop. I personally get more involved with characters and plots that develop through-out the book. The books I've read so far by Barker have themes that seemed to be complete and complex before you start reading. They don't develop, they just simply exist and you are force to accept them. Both Imajica and The Show are identical is this way. I would love for barker to take a simple premise like "envy" and develop it into a complete and concise novel. But from past experience I now know that barker would rather take "Envy" and match it up with the 4 dimensions, the end of the world and a land called Rezirdan that you can reach through sex. Lol.
With that said. I will still probably read everville but maybe not until next year sometime. I just need some simple depth out of my novels for a change.
The overall story uses fantastical elements (the dream-sea, called Quiddity; loops in time; a mysterious cult that worships something called the Art) but in doing so what the story is really highlighting is the secret lives that people lead and how ephemeral those lives can be, particularly when those lives are based on the superficial and fleeting pleasures (whether that be fame, money, or sex). The events in the book speak to people's deepest fears and their secret desires and how those fuel an odd melange of dreams and nightmares and how those dreams and those nightmares can define who we are and who we become. The ideas in this book flow pretty fast and furious and yet all are logically connected in my opinion. While the concepts are fantastical, the mundane setting they are placed in serves as a wonderful contrast to the events that eventually take place.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
What else can you say? A classic. Barker's a marvel. Nobody does it like he does. This is a huge, epic book, but it reads like lightning.Published 3 months ago by AHorrorReader
Interesting sci fi book easy to get through with believable characters, I enjoyed it and recommend it. Not a horror book per se, definitely sci fi fans will enjoy the most.Published on June 17 2014 by lorie
This is the first Clive Barker book I have ever read & I can say it won't be the last. This is a excellent & different story with great character & plot development. Read morePublished on Jan. 27 2004 by BigRig
I consider myself a fairly slow reader, but I finished this book in about a week. It was not at all hard to read or understand. I could not put it down!! Read morePublished on Oct. 22 2003 by Kina M Heather
GSS is a compelling mixture of stories that only a master like Clive Barker could pull together.
Among the many stories a lucky ready will find in this book are star-crossed... Read more
When Randolph Jaffe applies for a job in the "Dead Letter Office" in Omaha, Nebraska he has no clue of what kind of world he is about to enter. Read morePublished on Feb. 10 2003 by Geert Daelemans
This was the first Clive Barker book I've read. I was not impressed by anything - characters, plot, or writing style. Read morePublished on Nov. 10 2002
Considering I love Barkers style, imagination, ability... (hmmm, obsessed fan I am not, I promise) and The Great and Secret Show definately showcased his talents (and fairly early... Read morePublished on Oct. 28 2002 by A. Ball