The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – by David Annanadale – (Cdn – Manitoba)
Premise: a promising assistant Professor is doing his best to climb the ivory tower to guaranteed tenure, but has come up against that formidable beast “publish or perish.” Trouble is he doesn’t have an original thought in his head. He flees to the Richelieu site of the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris in search of inspiration. He does find an ancient book to inspire him, but also its possessive owner. There’s a high price to be paid for success, and an even higher price once success is achieved.
Maybe because of its Paris setting, I am reminded of Edgar Allan Poe and his “Murders in the Rue Morgue.” Certainly the language is as elegant and detailed as Poe’s. It’s a very 19th century sort of tale, which is quite fitting to the subject. The horror element in this story strikes me as original, as I have not come across this particular brand of “connection” between a “master” and an “acolyte” before. If you think your boss is demanding…
Rating: Entertaining. On the one hand, this is an old fashioned horror story, which is part of its charm, but on the other hand serves as a very modern metaphor for the relationship between an author and his readers. Creeps me out it does.