This book is so good it hurts. Literally. It is a book a writer reads and thinks, “My prose will never be that good.”
In my younger days, this would have sunk me into a depression. I would have quit writing. How could I ever hope to master The Craft to the point where every single word on every single page sings with a compelling story the way Engdahl’s prose pierces one’s heart?
Now I am older, and sometimes wiser, or at least occasionally coherent, or, perhaps, slyly contemplative. I can wallow in the world of limitations because I can see beyond those very self-imposed limitations. The blankness of the screen before me begs for letters. The letters are composed of words, then sentences, and suddenly a story is there, almost like magic, but it is not magic, it is me, raw me. I cannot stop this wondrous ability anymore than I could stop breathing.
My prose will never be that good. The standard, however, is set. Like Engdahl’s visionary fiction, I can see beyond the line I used to draw for myself. Sometimes I close my eyes and see stars made of words, and the words swirl around like fire-motes in a sunspot, singing music in a timeless dance of fire and passion.