The Power That Preserves

by Stephen R. Donaldson
Series: Chronicles of Thomas Covenant 3
Reviewed date: 2006 Nov 21
Rating: 2
439 pages
cover art

The Power That Preserves is miles better than the previous two books of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. I still disliked Thomas Covenant. Donaldson still falls back on deus ex machina as though he's being paid a commission. And the final showdown between Covenant and Lord Foul is farcical, something more appropriate for Saturday morning cartoons than for a serious fantasy novel. You see, Lord Foul is defeated by laughter.

The best thing about Stephen R. Donaldson is that without him, we would not have the thrilling sport of Clench Racing.

Clench Racing

This is a social and competitive sport, that can be played over and over with renewed pleasure. Playing equipment currently on the market restricts the number of players to six, but the manufacturers may yet issue the series of proposed supplements to raise the maximum eventually to nine.

The rules are simple. Each player takes a different volume of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, and at the word "go" all open their books at random and start leafing through, scanning the pages. The winner is the first player to find the word "clench". It's a fast, exciting game -- sixty seconds is unusually drawn-out -- and can be varied, if players get too good, with other favourite Donaldson words like wince, flinch, gag, rasp, exigency, mendacity, articulate, macerate, mien, limn, vertigo, cynosure.... It's a great way to get thrown out of bookshops. Good racing!

[From The Well-Tempered Plot Device by Nick Lowe]

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