Cosmocopia is the first novel I read by Di Filippo and it does not tempt me to read other.
Frank Lazorg, a painter now old and with some health issues, gets from an undefined old acquaintance a powder obtained from magic scarabs (usable as pigment but also as a drug, as the foolish artist shows us).
Frenzy and angry Lazorg does something extreme that moves him in another universe – structured as a cornucopia – where he meets Crutchsump, an alien almost human creature who takes care of him. Lazorg will try to become a great artist also in this new environment, till his life changes again.
The beginning is quite interesting – I tought about an evolution like Limitless in an artistic field – the change of setting is unexpected but quite weak. The author choses to avoid misunderstandings between cultures and does not aim to an action novel (like for example the Planet of adventure by Vance): Lazorg is accepted in the alien community, in fact any issue about integration are solved by the omniscient manager of the temple.
The novel then becomes quite boring: its negative peaks coincide with the dialogues and reflections by Lazorg and Crutchsump; even in the evolution of their relation the emotional deep is shallow and naive. There is also a creepy sex scene, creepy not for the alien-non alien thing, but for it being totally out-of-place for the emotional development of the characters.
A last opinion: a novel does not have to be action like or about the communication issue between different culture and such, it can also talk philosophically about life, pain, the existence of God; unfortunately here I found neither.
Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.
* Cosmocopia by Paul Di Filippo ★★☆☆☆
*I read this book in English