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The Order of Oddfish

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The Origins of Eldritch City

February 16, 2010

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Another knockout entry for the Order of Odd-Fish art show! This time it’s the creation of the universe as depicted in the Odd-Fish tapestry: the All-Loving Mother tricked by Aznath, the Silver Kitten of Deceit into vomiting the 144,444 gods into existence.

I love this! It’s gorgeous, raucous, and strangely solemn. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: The Order of Odd-Fish may not be known to many, but it’s known by the right people.

Karen Alexander is the artist—you may remember her from the great Lily Larouche portrait she drew back in January. Great work, Karen! This is just what I imagined the tapestry to be like—wild, colorful, crammed with life, but its rambunctiousness streamlined into a flowing whole.

Even better, Karen has included many of the gods mentioned in Odd-Fish in the picture! Can you find all of them? Along with Ichthala, the All-Devouring Mother and Aznath, the Silver Kitten of Deceit, there’s also Zam-Zam, the Dancing Ant of Sadness; Fumo, the Sleeping Bee; Quafmaf, the Pigeon of the Moon; Nixilpilfi, the Gerbil Who Does Not Know Mercy; Mizbiliades, the Bleeding Butterfly; Pzarnarfalasath, the Rhinoceros Whose Laughter Destroys Worlds; Zookoofoomoot the Maggot of Dismay; Pft the Mouse; and more! Karen’s giddy profusion of gods puts me in the mind of the otherworldly bathhouse in Miyazaki’s Spirited Away—which was, after all, precisely what inspired me.

Karen’s densely populated, lovingly detailed, fantastically imagined fragment of the tapestry also puts me in mind of the panoramic bas reliefs at Angkor Wat in Cambodia and the temples around it. No picture can do these reliefs justice—they’re just too big, they demand the viewer’s entire vision field—but this might give you an idea, when the Hindu gods and demons are churning the Ocean of Milk to create an elixir of life:

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Thanks again, Karen, for bringing another aspect of Odd-Fish into visual reality. Your work is exquisite!

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the kind reviews for Odd-Fish that are still coming in (a year or so after it came out!) from far-flung places all over the world. Lyndon Riggall from Tasmania (!!) wrote a great review on his blog A Quick Word. In Dublin, Ireland “Lady Schrapnell” So Many Books also wrote an enthusiastic review of the Odd-Fish audiobook. And a great thumbs-up from Miss Corene in Vancouver, Canada! Closer to home (much closer; Bolingbrook, Illinois, as a matter of fact), Mr. S’s BiblioBlog has a generous review.

Thanks, all you reviewers, for taking the time to write nice things about the book. And of course, thanks to all the artists who are rocking my world right now.