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text 2018-05-24 20:50
Reading progress update: I've read 74%.
The Well At The World's End: Volume II - Lin Carter,William Morris

Prior updates:

 

http://lindahilton.booklikes.com/post/1761247/reading-progress-update-i-ve-read-61

http://lindahilton.booklikes.com/post/1760982/reading-progress-update-i-ve-read-48

http://lindahilton.booklikes.com/post/1735429/reading-progress-update-i-ve-read-40

http://lindahilton.booklikes.com/post/1698883/reading-progress-update-i-ve-read-25

http://lindahilton.booklikes.com/post/1675308/reading-progress-update-i-ve-read-20

 

From the actual beginning of the Quest as such, with Ralph and Ursula and so on, to the ending of the Quest, is but 13% of the total of the book.

(spoiler show)

 

This is probably my last interim update.  I have a few specific observations to make when the book is over.

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review 2018-05-24 14:59
Back to basics
Windows on a Lost World - V.E. Mitchell

There is something appealingly basic about Victoria Mitchell's second contribution to the Pocket Books series of Star Trek novels. In it the Enterprise takes a team of archaeologists to a deserted planet. There they uncover evidence of an even older civilization than the one they were sent to investigate, one that left behind mysterious "windows" that are still active and were subsequently buried by their successors. An accident sends Kirk, Chekov, and one of the archaeologists into the window, where they vanish . . . and the Enterprise suddenly detects alien life on a previously uninhabited world.

 

What struck me about Mitchell's novel as I was reading it was how well her book captures the essential framework of an episode of an original series: the Enterprise explores something, encounters a problem that jeopardizes some of the crew, and then the rest of the crew works together to unravel the mystery and save the crew members in jeopardy. For this comfortingly familiar structure Mitchell provides a story that would have been impossible with the budget and effects of the series, with a refreshingly original alien species unlike any that had been envisioned beforehand. And even if the the the character traits and skill sets of her new characters are a bit too convenient for the story, overall the combination makes for one of the better Original Series novels, one that synthesizes well the best elements of the show and the possibilities of the written page.

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text 2018-05-24 04:09
Reading progress update: I've read 61%.
The Well At The World's End: Volume II - Lin Carter,William Morris

Prior updates:

http://lindahilton.booklikes.com/post/1760982/reading-progress-update-i-ve-read-48

http://lindahilton.booklikes.com/post/1735429/reading-progress-update-i-ve-read-40

http://lindahilton.booklikes.com/post/1698883/reading-progress-update-i-ve-read-25

http://lindahilton.booklikes.com/post/1675308/reading-progress-update-i-ve-read-20

 

The story of Ralph's quest for the Well at the World's End actually begins at the 60% mark.

 

This would never fly in the market today.

 

And yet I'm still keeping this book in my personal canon.

 

 

 

 

At this point, Ralph meets again the girl from Bourton Abbas, an encounter that lasted a few pages way way back in the story.  He never knew her name, but he has fond memories of her as a friend.  Okay, fine.  But in the meantime, he met the unnamed Lady of Abundance, he had a significant sexual liaison with her, and then she was killed by her husband.

 

After her death, Ralph sets off a little more determined to find the Well, which the Lady of Abundance had been to and to which she intended to guide him.  But Ralph proves over and over again to be a bit of a naif, being duped by numerous folk, male and female, who promise to help him and do anything but.  Eventually he ends up enslaved by the evil Lord of Utterbol -- he doesn't have a name either -- who apparently plans to provide Ralph as boy-toy to his wife the Queen -- nope, she doesn't have a name -- so that he, the Lord of Utterbol, can cavort with another slave, who is presumed to be the girl from Bourton Abbas.

 

Got that? 

 

Ralph is really not much of a hero, but he is . . . perfect.  Every woman who sees him falls in love with him.  He turns out to be a champion jouster and a superb archer.  But he also trusts everyone who comes to him with any kind of promise, and he always gets betrayed.

 

But finally he meets up again with the girl from Bourton Abbas, about whom he had dreamed.  In that dream, he learned that her name was Dorothea.  But when he meets her, he asks if her name is Dorothy . . . but she says no, her name is Ursula!

 

Now, remember that Ralph had this relationship with the Lady of Abundance, and he knows Ursula was taken as a slave of the evil Lord of Utterbol.  So the first thing he needs to know about her is how she was treated during her enslavement.

 

Then Ralph looked sore troubled, and he said: "Dear friend, this is the thing hard for me to say. In what wise did they use thee at Utterbol? Did they deal with thee shamefully?" She answered him quietly: "Nay," she said, "fear not! no shame befell me, save that I was a thrall and not free to depart. Forsooth," she said, smiling, "I fled away timely before the tormentors should be ready . . .

Morris, William. The Well at the World's End: a tale (p. 201).  . Kindle Edition.

 

So, whew! Ursula is still a virgin, even if Ralph is obviously not.

 

 

(spoiler show)

 

And now, back to reading.  This is the part that goes a lot quicker because, hello, this is where the real story is!

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review 2018-05-24 01:56
Agricola and Germany
Agricola and Germany (Oxford World's Classics) - Anthony Richard Birley,Tacitus

Every one of Roman’s greatest historians began their writing career with some piece, for one such man it was a biography of his father-in-law and an ethnographic work about Germanic tribes.  Agricola and Germany are the first written works by Cornelius Tacitus, which are both the shortest and the only complete pieces that he wrote.

 

Tacitus’ first work was a biography of his father-in-law, Gnaeus Julius Agricola, who was the governor of Britain and the man who completed the conquest of the rest of the island before it was abandoned by the emperor Domitian after he recalled Agricola and most likely poisoned him.  The biography not only covered the life of Agricola but also was a history of the Roman conquest of Britain climaxed by the life of the piece’s hero.  While Agricola focused mostly one man’s career, Tacitus did give brief ethnographic descriptions of the tribes of Britain which was just a small precursor of his Germany.  This short work focused on all the Germanic tribes from the east bank of the Rhine to the shores of the North and Baltic Seas in the north to the Danube to the south and as far as rumor took them to the east.  Building upon the work of others and using some of the information he gathered while stationed near the border, Tacitus draws an image of various tribes comparing them to the Romans in unique turn of phrases that shows their barbarianism to Roman civilization but greater freedom compared to Tacitus’ imperial audience.

 

Though there are some issues with Tacitus’ writing, most of the issues I had with this book is with the decisions made in putting this Oxford World’s Classics edition together.  Namely it was the decision to put the Notes section after both pieces of writing.  Because of this, one had to have a figure or bookmark in either Agricola or Germany and another in the Notes section.  It became tiresome to go back and forth, which made keeping things straight hard to do and the main reason why I rate this book as low as I did.

 

Before the Annals and the Histories were written, Tacitus began his writing with a biography of his father-in-law and Roman’s northern barbarian neighbors.  These early works show the style that Tacitus would perfect for his history of the first century Caesars that dramatically changed the culture of Roman.

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text 2018-05-22 23:21
Reading progress update: I've read 150 out of 150 pages.
World Without End (Star Trek Adventures, #10) - Joe Haldeman

Now this was an excellent read! It's unfortunate that most authors who write Star Trek novels can't write as well as Haldeman.

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