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text 2017-11-30 15:50
November Wrap-up
Devil's Day - Andrew Michael Hurley
Captives of the Flame (The Fall of the Towers, #1) - Samuel R. Delany
Dark Carnival - Nancy K. Duplechain
Fools and Mortals - Bernard Cornwell
First Person: A novel - Richard Flanagan
Children's book: Moshe Comes to Visit: Fun Rhyming book about Overcoming fears and positive thinking - Tehila Sade Moyal,Fatima Pires
Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra - Anne Rice,Christopher Rice
The Discovery of Witches - Hopkins, Matthew

Eight books finished this month and two more well in progress. An easy favourite among the above would be Fools and Mortals, but Cornwell is a great author. Dark Carnival gets the award for best indie and I've put her other two books on my ereaderiq list.

 

This was mostly a month for clearing Netgalley and fulfilling holiday Bingo reads. I have one and a half netgalley books still to finish and highly recommend The Toy Makers, which I'm halfway through! I also have the science book to finish for my Newtonmass square, but it's time travel so I'm enjoying that too.

 

I have some books put aside for this year's Christmas reads.  I'll post about those soon.

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review 2017-11-23 12:57
Captives of the Flame
Captives of the Flame (The Fall of the Towers, #1) - Samuel R. Delany

by Samuel R. Delany

 

Typical early 1960s science fiction.

 

"The Empire of Toromon had finally declared war. The attacks on its planes had been nothing compared to the final insult—the kidnapping of the Crown Prince. The enemy must be dealt with, and when they were, Toromon would be able to get back on its economic feet."

 

Add to this a radiation barrier that leaves a people isolated and an enemy called the Lord of the Flames and you're set up for epic battles and other fun geeky stuff.

 

This is considered the first of a trilogy, but quite honestly it didn't impress me enough to continue. None of the characters stood out for me and apart from an interesting contrast between the rich and the poor, the plot was fairly generic. There's also a mock-Arthurian Fantasy element in the young prince being kidnapped to be trained among the forest guardians to be a good king so the elements of a good story are there, but I found my mind wandering as I read. Somehow it just didn't grip me.

 

Very much a thing of its time.

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review 2017-11-15 14:55
The Einstein Intersection - Samuel R. Delany
The Einstein Intersection - Samuel R. Delany,Neil Gaiman
**Slightly spoilery and full of pretension.**
 
You remember the legend of the Beatles? You remember the Beatle Ringo left his love even though she treated him tender. He was the one Beatle who did not sing, so the earliest forms of the legend go. After a hard day's night he and the rest of the Beatles were torn apart by screaming girls, and he and the other Beatles returned, finally at one, with the great rock and the great roll.
 
Given a long enough time-span, our reality will turn to myth. When we are lucky, what we know about our lives will survive in stories, fuel the imagination of others, being re-lived in the grand tales and the small.
 
There is no death, only love.
 
On the surface, The Einstein Intersection is a quest. Lobey loses his beloved Friza and goes on a journey to wrestle her back from death. He has monsters to fight, cattle to tend to, and underworlds to enter. He has to leave old friends behind, to make new acquaintances and foes. Just like every hero, he has to confront his arch-nemesis, Kid Death, a read-headed child-devil.
 
It's a quest, a coming-of-age story, and a re-enactment of myths. Lobey and the other characters channel mythic figures, more than one at a time. Lobey is Orpheus and Theseus, further we have Minotaurs and oracles, a Cyclops who is also Jesus, the traitor who is every traitor combined, Persephone who is Jean Harlow who is every dream you ever had, and Death who is Billy the Kid who is the Devil. Through re-enacting, Delany confronts our myths and our myth-making. He uses the hero's quest as a rumination about differences and how we come to terms with them. These differences are the heart of the story, as are the contrasts: live and death and the in-between, village and town and city, feral Minotaurs and cattle-like dragons and tame dogs, the old tryst and the lost love and the object of pure desire. Lo and La and Le.
 
There is no death, only rhythm.
 
Delany creates an irrational universe in spellbinding prose. His writing is lyrical; it has rhythm. Poetic descriptions are juxtaposed with action sequences channelling classic pulp, in the best tradition of Alfred Bester (I have been told Delany is a fan).
 
While the prose is beautiful on a sentence to sentence level, and the individual episodes of Lobey's quest are fun to read, they don't connect all that well. I have too little familiarity with ancient myths to say if Delany was trying to imitate them here, or if he was simply making things up as he went along.
 
Each chapter – or rather episode, as there are no real chapter breaks – starts with an epigraph, some of them taken from Delany's own author's journal. That's more than a bit pretentious; but Delany was just in his mid-twenties when he wrote this book, a young author very full of himself (and, to the most part, rightly so); I'm willing to cut him some slack. 
 
There is no death. Only music.
 
Lobey is a musician. His flute is also his machete, an instrument to create and to destroy. It's one example for Delany's surrealist, metaphorical writing. It sometimes reaches obscurity and leaves the reader with an ending that is, just like the author wanted it to be, inconclusive.
 
No answers, but are the questions really that important? Endings can only be inconclusive, because there are no endings. This post-apocalyptic world is peopled with aliens who have taken over humanity's legacy, trying to walk in our shoes. But just like Lobey must transcend his role as Orpheus, earth's new inhabitants must learn to transcend the old myths and go on, making their own stories, to fully become themselves. A new beginning.
 
The appropriate soundtrack here would be the Beatles. But I'm really not that into the Beatles, so I chose the Orpheus tale from someone who is one of the greatest storytellers the great rock and the great roll ever had: The Lyre of Orpheus

 

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text 2017-11-12 19:41
Square 16: I've read 9%.
Captives of the Flame (The Fall of the Towers, #1) - Samuel R. Delany

"Read a book written by an author of African descent"

 

 

I don't usually note the racial group or ethnicity of an author. So, after checking books I already planned to read and looking at author pages, I actually Googled authors of African descent. Lucky for me, this author had been recommended in a science fiction group and I was able to get a copy from gutenberg. So far the book seems typical of the era. Not bad really.

 

 

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text 2017-09-20 19:37
I have no idea what's going on
Dhalgren - Samuel R. Delany

But I'm liking it.

 

Writing is also incredibly lyrical.

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