Although I attended all of Julie Czerneda’s book launches, I waited for her to finish this entire series to start reading it. This one is Reunification #1 and it was launched in 2015. I got it with a nice autograph at the Bakka Phoenix Bookstore launch.
Now, I know I said this is the first in a series, but actually it’s the first book in the third trilogy inside a three trilogies series, called “The Clan Chronicles”. Julie is an expert in creating vast, sophisticated worlds with huge casts of characters, that needs at least a trilogy to explore the whole universe and the entire plot.
And I promise you, once you get inside one of her worlds you won’t want to leave.
Not only because of the nerve-racking plots and beautifully done characters, but also because the surprising secrets her universes always hide. Oh, yes, there’s never only the interesting story that keeps you reading in Julie’s case. The secrets start being revealed in the second half of the book and their significance rises exponentially. When you’re done with a book you can’t wait to get your hands on the second and see what happens next.
I feel like, despite the magnitude of her work, Julie Czerneda is not as known as she deserves. For the kind of galactic tapestries she weaves and the kind of major ideas she comes up with, she should be among the Grand Masters of Science Fiction, read by millions and translated in over a hundred languages.
Well, give her a couple more years and she’ll be just there.
On Goodreads, Bogdan (of “CititorSF” review blog) reviewed the anthology “Dark Horizons”, edited by Charles P. Zaglanis for Elder Signs Press. It gave the anthology an overall four star (out of five) and made a sort of top stories based on different criteria: “The most hated story”, “The most entertaining story”, “The one I liked a lot in the beginning…” and so on. I’ll post here a few lines from what he had to say about my story:
<<“The one with the most depth and character building” : The Glass Plague – Costi Gurgu. Because the characters are really sticking with you, the mystery and the unknown Plague goes in the back of your mind and is very intriguing. The complexity of the characters struggling in a day to day basis has an important role in the evolution of the story. And I have to say that this is the longest story of the volume with 28 pages after the numbering in the Contents Area.>>
So, my award winner “The Glass Plague” strikes again!!!
The art of Costi Gurgu lies on how he balances his characters perceptions of reality, as well as their moral motivations, between curiosity and greed, fear and sense of adventure.
Short History of Romanian Speculative Fiction by Catalin Badea-Gheracostea, published in “International Speculative Fiction” in 2013
Chronicles from the End of the World show Costi Gurgu again in the position of a complex writer, master of a wide array of stylistic tools, able to mix in subtle dosages the reality and the imaginary of fantastic origin. The secret of his recipe seems to be a carousel of details that capture the warm and fuzzy human into an efervescent fusion with the mad and spectaculary superhuman. Such a performance can’t be achieved in the absence of a good quality humor and a detached autorial look over the things and situations found in each story.
Helion Magazine, Chronicles by Mircea Oprita, 2012
The first thing I liked about Chronicles at the End of the World is how Gurgu mixes the “Canadian” stories with the “Romanian” ones, succeeding in creating a melange that brilliantly illustrates the different ways of writing SF and Fantasy, and the extreme thematic diversity employed by a writer master of his trade. (…)
All his stories are well structured, pleasantly written and conceived in an excellent manner. (…)
For me it’s clear that Gurgu is a writer who knows what he’s doing and who is able to produce interesting and very well written stories, that appeal to a great variety of readers.
Nautilus Magazine, Canadian-Romanian Stories by Adina Barvinschi, 2011
Beyond the Lighthouse at the End of the Worlds, The Never Ending Library and The Dava of the Gods are stories of a distinct strangeness, that combine in a unique way SF themes and elements with dynamic action meant to captivate the reader and ingredients of a mythology invented by the author rather than borrowed from real mythologies. Costi Gurgu tends more and more to exploit a genre of his own, that’s closer to weird fiction (combining weird elements with serious meditation about the meaning of the world) than to SF or Fantasy.
Nautilus Magazine, Plagues, Angels and Other Things by Liviu Radu, 2011
(…) Therefore, it would be impossible that such a complex world like the one built in Recipearium not to give birth to new stories—and so we find Secret Recipes in Costi’s new book from Millennium Books, Chronicles from the End of the World (in which you can also meet the famous vampire Cotys, as well as many other wonderful stories). Secret Recipes tells the story of Morminiu’s apprenticeship, his Recipearium graduation exam and the plot that lead to the assassination of his master, the illustrious Plabos. And it tells it as only Costi knows: intense, dark, artistic. Beautiful.
GazetaSF – The Knights of the Fantastic by Oliviu Craznic, 2011
In Angels and Moths Costi Gurgu deals with a missed, in the first instance, alien contact. It is a story with substance and literary force that brings to the table controversial topics. The belief in Divinity, the lure of the soul, the inexorability of fate, the weakness of the spirit and human consciousness are just a few of them.
Review of Ages of Wonder ed. by Julie E. Czerneda and Rob St. Martin in “Fantasy Book Critic”, 2009
Gurgu’s Angels and Moths approaches sparkle, bringing a surprising and compelling twist to what initially seems like a stock situation of interstellar diplomacy.
Review by Nader Elhefnawy of Ages of Wonder, ed. by Julie E. Czerneda and Rob St. Martin in “Strange Horizons”, 2009
The first story, The Way of the Maps, by Costi Gurgu, it’s also the reader’s introduction into Radharc’s mysteries. Under the pretext of a journalistic investigation meant to find the Petre Bucur’s maps of Radharc, the three journalists make several trips in Radharc, following the standard procedure, entering through Petrator, where St. Peter admits the worthy. Being about the search for Petre Bucur (mysteriously dissapeared) and his maps, the story is a policier, treated in the relaxed-friendly-humor kind, a la Raymond Chandler.
Costi Gurgu’s Bucuresti is one of the waters, the wide avenues turned to rivers, there also being a sea at the end of Lipscani. Spy fishes float through air, the Royal Court is repainted, thriving with life, the place where are the gates of passage from one world to the another—all this written with a great care for detail. A very, very good story; a new world, functional, real characters, their realionships, adventures. Beautiful writing. Perfect to open the anthology.
The Cultural Observer, Radharc by Michael Haulica, 2006
The first in the book, Costi Gurgu, has to map this virtual world. And he does it in The Way of the Maps, a thrilling story about the discovery of Radharc. Fane and Emil are good friends and they produce reportages together. Sometimes, Cristian joins them. All three receive an invitation to meet Tudor Gradinaru, a man who sells them a “sensational” tip. He offers them the way to get the “Radharc’s maps”. This ensues a well handled policier adventure, with turns and twists, and amazing demonstrations of imagination. All in an expert manner that won’t let you put the book down.
The Family Magazine, The Guard Room by Mircea Pricajan, 2006
The story collection The Glass Plague is a matur debut, as are most of those authors who publish their first book after years of selling to magazines. The Glass Plague reveals a writer who masters the language and the narrative techniques, a writer who doesn’t write for the sake of the SF idea, but to debate its consequences, the effects it has on people as persons and as social elements, as well as the effects it has on the society as a whole.
The Cultural Observer, The Glass Plague Review by Michael Haulica, 2005
Beyond his courage of choosing difficult, hard to write themes, Costi Gurgu has a subtle humor, expressed at the edge of the authorial seriousness. The discreet manifestations of his humour make for a pleasant experience even with some of his strongly conflictual takes on these already difficult themes. He succeeds in placing his ideas in a light that amuses and in equal measures determines us to meditate.
The Romanian Anticipation by Mircea Oprita, Viitorul Romanesc Publishing, 2003
You can find me here: