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July 2005
 
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Jog Rummage, by Grahame Wright (1974)

JOG Rummage. The name of a place, or a peculiar kind of bake sale? Not so. Jog Rummage is our hero, a hedgehog. Along with the Rats, the Jogs occupy a strange and eerie landscape: their world is capped by Shadow, divided into two kingdoms by a narrow "sea," lit only by a Moon and a Great Star, and infested with deadly Swoops. Rummage is a poet and scholar. When war with the egregious Rats arrives, he plays his part, helping to cement a peace known as the New Existence afterwards. But the world of Jog Rummage is about to undergo a shattering cataclysm, under the feet of the monster, Horribilis.

Elizabeth Morgan is a freakishly imaginative crippled youngster living with her equally damaged father. Obsessed with the mysterious past that has led to her father's blighted condition, Elizabeth frequents a patch of rubble-filled ground where her father's business once stood. Intrigued by a hole leading into the Earth, Elizabeth descends on an Orphic odyssey.

How these two scenarios mesh forms the essential mystery of this first—and apparently only—novel by Grahame Wright. The solution's not much of a shocker, but the readability of the book—published when Wright was only twenty-seven—remains high, thanks to its fusion of Tolkien and Peake. Toss in Jog Rummage's classic and climactic conceptual breakthrough for a stefnal flavor, and we mourn the fact that Wright seemingly abandoned fiction, despite the book's dustjacket claim that he was working on a second novel.

—Paul Di Filippo

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