John Crowley

Easton Press John Crowley books

Love and sleep - signed first edition of science fiction - 1994
Little Big - masterpieces fantasy - 1997
Dæmonomania - signed first edition of science fiction ( 1000 copies ) - 2000


Author John Crowley

John Crowley, born on December 1, 1942, in Presque Isle, Maine, is an American author known for his imaginative and intricate works of science fiction and fantasy. With a career spanning several decades, Crowley has earned acclaim for his literary craftsmanship and ability to blend fantastical elements with profound explorations of the human experience. Crowley grew up in Indiana and attended Indiana University, where he received a degree in English. He later pursued graduate studies at the University of Iowa, where he was part of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Crowley's early works included poetry and short stories, but he gained prominence with his novels that combined elements of myth, history, and fantasy.

One of Crowley's notable early works is Little, Big (1981), a novel that weaves a complex tapestry of family, magic, and the mysterious realm of faerie. The novel garnered critical acclaim and established Crowley as a distinctive voice in contemporary fantasy literature.

In addition to his novels, Crowley has written numerous short stories, essays, and reviews. His writing is characterized by its lyrical prose, philosophical depth, and a keen exploration of themes related to memory, identity, and the nature of reality. Some of John Crowley's other significant works include:

Engine Summer (1979) A post-apocalyptic novel that explores themes of love and storytelling in a world transformed by an enigmatic entity known as the Engine.

Aegypt series (begun with The Solitudes in 1987) A tetralogy that blends historical fiction with fantasy, exploring the concept of alternate realities and the transformative power of storytelling.

Love & Sleep (1994) and Dæmonomania (2000) The second and third books in the Aegypt series, continuing the exploration of parallel worlds and the intersection of myth and reality.

John Crowley's works have earned him a dedicated readership and numerous awards within the science fiction and fantasy genres. Beyond genre distinctions, his novels have been praised for their literary merit and their ability to engage with complex and universal themes. Crowley's impact on speculative fiction lies in his innovative approach to storytelling and his dedication to pushing the boundaries of the fantastical.


Love and sleep - The Ægypt Cycle Book 2

Pierce Moffett stands at a turning point, when the world is changing from what it has been into what it will be. Is it only a moment in the history of his own soul? Or the course of his generation's progress toward maturity?
As a child Pierce was no stranger to magic. Transplanted from his native Brooklyn to the Cumberland Mountains of Kentucky, he and his cousins formed a secret club called the Invisible College. Fueled by books, adventures, and the imagination of youth, they scratched the surface of ordinary life and found the hints of something glittering and strange underneath. For most children these revelations fade with the coming of adulthood, but for Pierce the search for the hidden history of the world is just beginning.
It is a search that begins with the unfinished manuscript of a writer named Fellowes Kraft and leads to the real-life history of the doomed heretic Giordano Bruno and the Elizabethan metaphysician John Dee. These mysteries reach from past to present, to intertwine themselves with the life of Rosie Rasmussen, who brought Pierce that unfinished manuscript and will be given charge of Pierce's destiny. And as he delves deeper, Pierce begins to apprehend a power beyond reckoning, a knowledge beyond imagining, and a love that can waken sleeping souls.
Only rarely does an author emerge with the vision, the voice, and the courage to speculate on the alchemy that transforms the everyday into something transcendent. Crowley opened the gates to this feared and desired land in his magnificent novel AEgypt. Now he leads us far within.

Little Big

John Crowley's masterful Little, Big is the epic story of Smoky Barnable, an anonymous young man who travels by foot from the City to a place called Edgewood not found on any map to marry Daily Alice Drinkwater, as was prophesied. It is the story of four generations of a singular family, living in a house that is many houses on the magical border of an otherworld. It is a story of fantastic love and heartrending loss; of impossible things and unshakable destinies; and of the great Tale that envelops us all. It is a wonder.

Dæmonomania - The Ægypt Cycle Book 3

In a perfect world, John Crowley would be universally recognized as one of our greatest living writers. His novels which include Little, Big, arguably the finest single volume fantasy of the past half century are intricate, beautifully composed creations that demand and repay repeated readings. We don't, of course, live in a perfect world, and so Crowley never has become a household name. He is, rather, the quintessential cult figure, the focal point of a relatively small, intensely devoted readership. His latest novel, Daemonomania, is unlikely to change this situation, but should provide the members of the Crowley cult with a legitimate, long-overdue reason to celebrate.

Daemonomania is the third installment after Aegypt (1987) and Love and Sleep (1994) in a massive, multi-volume novel that has occupied Crowley for almost 20 years. This latest volume (whose title derives from a 16th century treatise on sorcery and demonic possession) once again explores the little/big dichotomy so central to Crowley's work, neatly juxtaposing the "ordinary" lives of an ongoing cast of central characters against the gigantic backdrop of an infinite and infinitely strange universe. As always in Crowley's fiction, the further in you go, the bigger it gets.

A single, central conceit animates the entire sequence of novels: the notion that the universe itself is malleable, that each "World Age" is followed by a radically different age governed by radically different physical laws. An age dominated by magic can be followed by an age in which magic is and always was impossible. As each new epoch establishes itself, its past its history retrospectively realigns itself, conforming to the governing principles of the newborn age. Reality is sporadically, at least fluid, protean. And there is more than one history of the world.

Daemonomania and its predecessors all take place in what Crowley calls a "passage time," a brief period of limitless possibility between the end of one age and the beginning of the next. In passage times, the old rules the old limits sometimes give way, and certain individuals can comprehend and perhaps even influence the changes taking shape around them. One such individual is Pierce Moffett, the failed lover, failed teacher, and failed historian who stands at the center of this vast complex of interconnected narratives.

Pierce is, among other things, a seeker after Meaning. Early in the opening volume, he leaves his home in New York City and moves to the mythical, bucolic Faraway Hills, where he begins to write a pseudo-scholarly study of the various superstitions and systems of belief that have arisen throughout history. Once settled in his new home, Pierce finds himself caught up in a vast, ongoing Story that seems (maybe, possibly) to have been waiting just for him. Some of the stories nested within that larger Story concern the troubled lives and evolving relationships of Pierce's neighbors. Other stories concern older, more arcane matters, matters that Pierce by virtue of his peculiar past and eccentric erudition finds strangely, teasingly familiar.

The story begins in earnest when Rosie Rasmussen, another troubled seeker, hires Pierce to sort through the posthumous papers of Fellows Kraft, a once popular historical novelist who was one of the iconic figures of Pierce's childhood. Among these papers is an unfinished, perhaps unfinishable novel called Aegypt, which is set amidst the pervasive strangeness of 16th century Europe, an earlier World Age just then entering its own turbulent passage time. Kraft's novel follows the parallel, occasionally intersecting paths of two Renaissance mages, John Dee and Giordano Bruno. The world these men inhabit a world filled with angelic visitations and impossible acts of magical transformation contains numerous, subtle reflections of the late 20th century, a world that is itself (maybe, possibly) heading toward a moment of fundamental, irreversible change.

As Daemonomania shuttles back and forth between one age and another, one story and another, the tone of the narrative grows perceptibly darker. John Dee descends into a lonely old age marked by poverty and neglect, while Bruno a notorious heretic moves toward his inevitable and fatal encounter with the Roman Inquisition. Meanwhile, in the later, very different world of the Faraway Hills, Pierce struggles to survive a doomed, lacerating love affair; Rosie Rasmussen struggles with her daughter's illness, and with the competing custody claims of her estranged husband; and an ominous, seductive religious cult (The Powerhouse) gradually establishes a foothold in the community. As these events and others move slowly toward their various resolutions, a very literal wind of change blows through the novel, rearranging the world into a new as yet unglimpsed configuration.

This huge, ambitious novel which still has one volume to go is erudite, wonderfully well written, and endlessly fascinating. It works, with equal facility, on a number of levels: as a meditation on the nature of magic, and on the magical power of love and memory; as a corollary meditation on the endless human yearning for meaning and coherence; as a vast, metaphysical speculation on the nature and progress of human history; and as an equally vast metaphor for the nature and progress of the individual life. The result of all this is a dense, sometimes daunting work that is clearly not for everyone. But readers who approach these books with patience, energy, and openness of spirit will find themselves enriched, enlivened, and possibly even enlarged. Daemonomania together with Aegypt, Love and Sleep, Engine Summer and Little, Big has found a permanent place on my personal shelf of important, enduring novels. I hope it finds a similar place on yours. - Bill Sheehan


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