The Nemo trilogy works like a fast meditation on Kubla Khan’s paradise, a classic hell of first ice and then fire. The infernal translation from the Antarctic’s ‘sunless sea’ turned to ‘ a hot and copper sky’ is caught in the arc of an Ancient Mariner’s tale, the sun a hellish moon like the alien eye of an alligator, ‘small and sunk’ which ends in the slithering horrors of ‘Christabel.’ What Nemo is charting is a journey where the awesome fountain of the centuries erupts and there’s a demon lover wailing something dreadful under a waning moonshine. She’s gone to a sacred universe where all the women are lunar women. It’s a reaffirmation of what happened a long time ago in a dreamtime.
Richard Marshall reviews Moore and O’Neill’s Nemo: River of Ghosts.