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  1. #46
    Member of the Month™ Ropie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArthurFrayn
    Ellison is an easy target, but I confess, I fail to see the point in writing such a thing.
    Writers, by and large, seem to be a very sensitive lot. Maybe it's because their type of art often finds a much larger audience than, say, painters, dancers or (ahem) architects and they receive more popular criticism as a result.

  2. #47
    Registered User Mugwump's Avatar
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    You only need to read a few editions of Dave Langford's Ansible to know SF writers hate each other with a passion.

    (Some paraphrasing here)

    Philip K. Dick on Ursula Le Guin: “I don’t get any of her work. What’s it all about?”
    (Ditto Robert Silverberg)

    Damon Knight on A.E. van Vogt: “He’s just dull” (retracted).

    Isaac Asimov on George Orwell: “He failed to predict the future 1984”. (!)

    Dave Langford on Isaac Asimov: “He’s a pain in the Asimov”.

    Stanislaw Lem on just about everyone: “They’re all mental mice in comparison to me”.

    Dave Langford on Stephen Donaldson: “Interminable”.

    Dave Langford on Piers Anthony: “A failed wit”.

    Keith Roberts on everyone: "I hate you".

  3. #48
    the puppet master ArthurFrayn's Avatar
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    Isaac Asimov on George Orwell: “He failed to predict the future 1984”. (!)
    Yes it was Asimov's essay on Orwell's 1984 that put him on my s***t list for years. It's hard to believe that the essay was written by someone I thought to be a well educated man . It goes on about what a Luddite Orwell is, as if that has anything to do with ANY of the points Orwell was trying to make. It's like he didn't read the whole book.
    Actually Langford has comments about this essay in one of his reviews:

    http://www.ansible.co.uk/writing/crystal.html



    Phil Dick's remarks about Robert Silverberg always smack of a barely contained professional jealousy. He should have tried to write porno on the side like Silverberg, maybe he wouldn't have had to eat horsemeat.
    He retracted his remarks about LeGuin (since Lathe of Heaven reads like a PKD pastiche), but the criticism of most of her writing that he made, is the same as mine, so I can only accuse him of being impolitic.
    Last edited by ArthurFrayn; June 7th, 2006 at 11:37 PM.

  4. #49
    Earthman1
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    I haven't read the more 'recent' (from past 20 years) Priest books mentioned, but have read some of his earlier novels - I enjoyed 'The Space Machine'. He had a novel called 'Indoctrinaire' that I really liked - though haven't reread it for many years. It was one of those short NEL novels of early 1970s.

  5. #50
    Registered User Mugwump's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ropie
    BTW, did anyone ascertain the significance of the fourth line of numbers (the 1234/23) on the cards in the crypt at the end of the book?
    Skipping through the book again, the format is:

    Location: Dominion Theatre, Kidderminster
    Date: 14/04/01
    Time: 3:15pm M (for Matinee) or E (for Evening)
    Performance Number (4 digits) 2359 / Performance Type (2 digits) 23 (which is an 'In a Flash' trick).
    Money received: 25g (guineas).

    It's interesting that Angier is so obsessive about his system of cataloguing he marks the Nicky Borden accident down as a Matinee performance for no money. A nice touch by Priest.

  6. #51
    Member of the Month™ Ropie's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Well spotted. I had thought the 'g' in 25g was for grammes of weight lost for some reason.

  7. #52
    Registered User odo's Avatar
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    You can find a recent (short) interview with Christopher Priest at

    http://scifi.uk.com/2006/07/03/chris...-the-prestige/

  8. #53
    Member of the Month™ Ropie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mugwump
    Hothouse is another great piece of world building. Aldiss is a bit of an acquired taste. I love the guy's stuff, but many I know can't bear more than a few pages. There's a streak of ugliness throughout his work
    Funny, I had just started reading Hothouse when I saw a copy of The Glamour in the library - I picked it up, and now Hh has had to take a back seat whilst I plough through TG. Priest's work is just so readable, so measured. He is not a great stylist - he tells it like it is - but he knows exactly how to keep you reading.

    You are quite right about Hothouse - it is a brutal book and reading it is such an effort! It's like being dropped straight into the middle of the book's setting where you can't see the jungle for the tree(!), or the story for the words. It's claustraphobic and difficult but I was enjoying it in some strange way. Aldiss writes like an even more bloated Moorcock.

  9. #54
    Registered User Mugwump's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ropie
    Funny, I had just started reading Hothouse when I saw a copy of The Glamour in the library - I picked it up, and now Hh has had to take a back seat whilst I plough through TG. Priest's work is just so readable, so measured. He is not a great stylist - he tells it like it is - but he knows exactly how to keep you reading.

    You are quite right about Hothouse - it is a brutal book and reading it is such an effort! It's like being dropped straight into the middle of the book's setting where you can't see the jungle for the tree(!), or the story for the words. It's claustraphobic and difficult but I was enjoying it in some strange way. Aldiss writes like an even more bloated Moorcock.
    Odd, I don't find Aldiss any effort at all. Yes, he's prone to lapses of flowery language - but I think this adds a lot of texture to his work. I mean, Hothouse's steaming jungle, with its trappersnappers, dripperlippers and other such fantastic creations, practically grows out of the pages of the book to surround you. It's a brilliantly conceived, beautifully surreal and (most importantly) fundamentally alien future world. I love it.

    I can see why a lot of people don't like Aldiss's work. It's bleak, brutal, scientifically ludicrous, lacks likeable characters etc. But I think these attributes are strengths. Aldiss never bows to formula. He's also very funny. I love all that dark humour stuff.

    Wait till you hit the Tummybelly men. I laughed so much it hurt.

  10. #55
    Member of the Month™ Ropie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mugwump
    I can see why a lot of people don't like Aldiss's work. It's bleak, brutal, scientifically ludicrous, lacks likeable characters etc. But I think these attributes are strengths.
    Yes, I agree. I love a bleak book though, especially one suffused with such wonder. I think it's the rhythm of his language, the slightly jarring 1960s style character names, the wild ideas about carnivorous vegetables coupled with the many but scant descriptive passages - it adds up to a tricky text. However, as I said, I appreciate this in some way.
    Last edited by Ropie; July 27th, 2006 at 06:51 AM.

  11. #56
    Member of the Month™ Ropie's Avatar
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    The Glamour is the third Priest book I've read (just finished it). Talk about consistency - the man can't put a word wrong. This one was slightly less 'SF' than the others that I've read, more along the lines of an urban ghost story, but then it's Priest so nothing is really what you expect.

    Overall it gave me very much the same feeling as The Prestige in that it was written to be read with extreme ease whilst having a very interesting structure and extremely evocative ideas. His use of different points of view (first and third person), as in The Prestige, were particularly important to the story.

    If I had to be critical, the ending of The Glamour had just a touch of the deus ex machina about it, at least as I understood it. It reminded me of the final chapter in P K Dick's Ubik. Still, top marks for this one, once again.

    I've been slowly getting along with Hothouse as well. A far more gritty read and actually a good balance for the effortlessly smooth environs of Priest's worlds!
    Last edited by Ropie; August 4th, 2006 at 11:10 AM.

  12. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by cloudXXI
    I´ve read five books of this author, The separation, Inverted World, The afirmation, The prestige and Dream Archipielago. This man is really incredible, I think is the most intelligent writter of sci-fi I´ve ever read. He doesn´t write typical sci-fi (Are The afirmation and The separation sci-fi?), but he´s so good, I don´t matter.

    What´s your opinion?
    I've read the Inverted World, The Glamour, The Prestige, and The Extremes. I have really enjoyed all of them so far. I think I will read The Seperation next. His books are so hard to find in the US!

  13. #58
    Member of the Month™ Ropie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mugwump
    Wait till you hit the Tummybelly men. I laughed so much it hurt.
    Yes indeed! I had put Hothouse down for a few weeks while I was away on holiday but have returned to it and all the "Have you brought us food for our tummies?" nonsense. Very amusing but things turn a bit sadistic when Gren loses his patience with them.

  14. #59
    Yobmod Yobmod's Avatar
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    Yes indeed! I had put Hothouse down for a few weeks while I was away on holiday but have returned to it and all the "Have you brought us food for our tummies?" nonsense. Very amusing but things turn a bit sadistic when Gren loses his patience with them.
    I found the Tummybelly men to be one of the best things in the books. Overall i don't rate the book highly: too many ideas making too little sense, I think i would have preferred it if it had been split into the short stories it was produced from.

  15. #60
    Member of the Month™ Ropie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yobmod
    Overall i don't rate the book highly: too many ideas making too little sense
    I finished Hothouse this morning - it got to the point where I almost couldn't put it down, it really did get better and better the more I read. I agree it is a book with many, many ideas but I found they all eventually made perfect sense. The transversers going into space, the vegetable birds, the fungus brains, the tummy bellies, the zone of eternal twilight. Absolutely brilliantly realised world building, though I admit I found it more interesting when they eventually escaped from the confines of the Banyan Tree with it's mind-boggling array of dangerous enemies.

    The characters were wonderful too, even more so for the fact that they were so unpleasant, barbaric, scheming or just plain stupid, and yet still all engaging. The morel with its 'twanging' voice (such a great description) ; highly intelligent but twisted through its immobility, Gren; ambitious but sadistic through necessity. The maternal Lilly-yo and her band of followers.

    A really superb book once you get into Aldiss' strange style of writing.

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