(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Imajica, one of Barker’s longest novels, continued his move toward combining horror and fantasy that began with Weaveworld (1987). Imajica was generally well received by reviewers. It is an ambitious work that explores many themes and questions within its vast framework, including the true nature of a supreme being, the search for identity, and the power of love.

One of Barker’s central themes is the relationship between men and women. Barker does not limit this examination to simple personal relationships; he explores the consequences of the association between male and female on a societal and a universal level. Barker initially presents a world in which males wish to dominate and control women. If men cannot control women, then they will attempt to destroy them. This desire to control or destroy women is seen in ordinary humans such as Charles Estabrook, who hires Pie oh Pah to kill Judith after Judith leaves him, and in a powerful male deity, the Unbeheld, who wants to destroy the Goddesses by using fire to annihilate all life in the Imajica.

The desire for control does not end with women, however; both human and divine males build vast cities to control nature, which Barker portrays as a feminine force. Male attempts to control women and nature prove to be an exercise in futility and lead only to sterility, whether the controller is human or divine. Efforts to control or destroy ultimately are...

(The entire section is 404 words.)