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Sirk TV Book Review: MASTER OF FORMALITIES [47 North]

master

In creating a story of political humor and the notions that come along with it, it is always paramount to analyze the sociological structure of what the narrative is presenting. The importance of that is that it establishes the world, its rules and ultimately how to deal with it. In “Master Of Formalities” [Scott Meyer/47North/434pgs], the rules of form are paramount in helping diffuse (or advance depending on which way you look it) the continuationor dissolution of interplanetary war. The book has some resemblances in tone to its fore bearer “The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy” but functions in a more segmented way. It blends oddly enough “Dune” and “Spaceballs” which is, of course, an unlikely pairing. The story is meant to be taken with a dose of sarcasm in essence but it is also able to insinuate and even provide a good amount of clever character development. The interweaving aspects of the three “Formality” experts in Phee, Wollard and eventually Migg work their word craft to manipulate the upper ruling class, not unlike the Bene Gesserit of the “Dune” novels. The other interesting pairing towards the end of the book is the male heir of one household (“Rayzo”) whose suffering (mostly social) throughout the novel makes him a better person and the female heir of the warring household [Shimlish] who is not exactly what she seems to be. Much like “Pride & Prejudice” there is a notion of form, structure and how people act within certain class structures. Add to that the element of different species and how they deal socioloigically with each other and you actually have a dense progression that does seem to move swiftly. The Hahn (the warring people of Shimlish) like to provide discomfort in all things. Lord Kank (an honored guest) and his people make themselves suffer to make themselves better though unbelievably bland. And the Apios (the House Of Rayzo) put their well being for the most part behind that of their constituents. It is an interesting tumble. It also precipitates on the crux of a woeful son (Hennik) of the same opposing house whose very capture and adoption is meant to end war. Even though his presence is annoying, its pertinence within the story is justified. “Master Of Formalities” knows exactly what it is and is able to walk the line despite some tactful meandering which is meant to show the point of lessons learned.

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