THE CROCODILE, or THE WAR BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL
by Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin
adapted by Brian Stableford
cover by Mike HoffmanI’m no volcano, lava or any kind of fossil;
I’m a living crocodile, and quite colossal.
My permanent abode is the plains of Memphis,
Without quitting them, I’ve come to Paris.
The Crocodile (1792) is a brilliant epic, one of those rare books of which one can say that no one ever wrote anything else like it.
The eponymous Crocodile is an attempted saboteur of the Divine Plan, an instrument of the Adversary, who claims to have created and shaped the universe—but who is, after all, a liar. As for the divinity, he remains invisible, but is described as a jeweler whose wife who supervises a Society of Independents, the members of which never meet but are always in session.
Add to these concepts a plague of books, which reduces human knowledge to a soggy pulp; the sunken city of Atalante, where everything stopped dead at the moment of its submersion; and the fact that the ultimate hope of a beleaguered Paris in the face of diabolical catastrophe is an aging Jew armed with a little box, and the cocktail is, to say the least, original and appealing to the connoisseurs of the bizarre.
Le Crocodile, ou La Guerre du bien et du mal, arrivée sous le règne de Louis XV: poème epiquo-magique en 102 chants (1792)
Introduction, Afterword and Notes by Brian Stableford.