March 19th, 2010, 06:08 PM #16
- Join Date
- Apr 2000
- NSW, Australia
I have a feeling this may be a result of the entrenchment of the "show not tell" rule. When I first read Moorcock (Hawkmoon if memory serves correctly) one thing that stood out was that he told us what we needed to know about the characters straight up, and then whoosh, off with the story. I think we see some of this in The Fade - need to know something about a culture to advance the plot? The narrator tells us rather than messing about with a 100 page subplot to flesh it out.
March 22nd, 2010, 06:00 PM #17
- Join Date
- Apr 2009
Yeah, one of the founding principles I had when I decided to write this book was simply: no infodumping. When I started writing The Braided Path I was kind of sloppy about infodumping, cause I didn't really know any better, and I learned on the way through that trilogy to do it less and less. So when I came to the Fade I wanted the language to be clipped and straightforward, and I didn't want the narrator explaining tons of history to the reader, because a) it's all normal to her and b) she's kind of terse anyway.
Then I discovered that it's really, really hard to do that when you're setting up a big underground world and the reader has no idea how it works
I have a bit of a babble about it in my blog here. I always like to stuff tons of things into a book in the background, but then I drive myself nuts trying to work out ways to let the reader in on it all without cramping the story. Before, I would have probably done it anyway, but nowadays I do my best not to let anything get in the way of the main drama. If I can't fit it in and make it look like it's meant to be there, it gets chucked.
I had a similar thing with Retribution Falls: some reviewers thought it was great that so many peripheral things in the world were mentioned but not followed up, as they felt it implied a living, breathing world. Others thought that the lack of detail revealed a shallow world that hadn't been thought out. In fact, it has the most thorough background I've ever done: it's just that I refuse to sit the reader down and tell 'em about it until I can find the right moment to show it to them in a way that involves that particular aspect of the world in the plot. You have to wait for later books to get certain things fleshed out. Some readers like that, some don't. Horses for courses, etc etc
As to the allegory, read into it what you will; I think it can be looked at in various ways. But the theme of the book is really that of loyalty, and when loyalty goes too far. Whether it's your country you believe in, or a religion, or a person that you follow or a system of government you favour: blind, unconsidered, unexamined loyalty to a cause is a very silly thing indeed, IMO.
March 24th, 2010, 12:53 AM #18
- Join Date
- Mar 2009
- Tacoma, WA/ Seoul, South Korea
- Blog Entries
As for The Fade, the sun burns too hot so, they had to move underground. Not much more you need to know. The various groups and races (right term?) split over time, while we do not know the full details I found that I had the overall impact of the individual groups and was perfectly fine with what was unveiled. Sometimes less is more.
I have Braided Path and a few other large omnibii waiting to be read, but I am trying to widdle them down and get to it. It will take some time as the pile is rather large at this time.
May 12th, 2011, 12:32 AM #19
It was actually the presence of the road-makers. Can't remember what they were called, but it sounded like many of the caverns and such that were used for travel were excavated by sorcerers of some sort. That's what tipped me into fantasy, I think. Aside from that, I don't recall anything that committed it one way or the other.
May 12th, 2011, 07:56 AM #20
(Late to the party, but....) I would call it fantasy as well, but probably more so because I've not read much sci-fi to really identify the split. I think the real point is that Chris does a great job of skirting the boundary between sci-fi and fantasy and makes it work. He does this well in the Ketty Jay books as well.
The world building has been commented on quite a bit, and I'll agree. I again found it similar to the approach he took in the Ketty Jay books. There was so much to explain, with such a different setting to what we are used to, and he managed to portray this through very little infodumping. Very streamlined experience.
I also thought the characterization was great. One of my favorite parts of the book was when one of the twins (I'm pretty sure it was Casta) says something along the lines of "We forgot about you. We do that." Mostly I loved that because it was set up so well, and it is something you expect of them. But I also thought it was great because it is one of the flashbacks, and you know and have a better sense of the twins personalities than Orna does. That is one instance, but I found most of the characters to be well constructed and consistent in that way. It was also this that helped me kind of figure out the ending:
I didn't work out that Casta was the Silverfish, but I did know she was the traitor. And I also figured that Ledo was working on a peace treaty and was not the traitor. The second bit I only figured out 10 pages or so before Orna attacked, but I worked Casta out fairly quickly. From the little detail that we were given of Ledo's personality, I didn't feel that it was in him to betray the Eskarans. And the coldness that Casta had about the war and the certainty that she had that it did not serve the class for it to end, pointed her out to me as the traitor. There were other small things that helped me come to those conclusions, but those were the main points.
But despite this, we also see character growth, even if it is given to us in a somewhat unconventional way. We see Orna as she is now, and she doesn't really sway in her personality or develop in any way, but her back story reveals much of the growth that she has gone through and kind of reveals how she comes to the conclusions that she does, despite the fact that they are so far from being right, which must have been exceptionally difficult for her to process, given that its her job and lifestyle to find out the truth. She jumped to conclusions without being sure, which IS out of character, but we are given the back story as to why she does this, and it's made to be believable.
I thought it was an excellent read, despite the fact that I managed to work out the ending. This is something I hardly ever do, and I think figuring it out beforehand kind of dampened it for me. But the journey, and especially the world building and character development, are what made it so special.
Last edited by Darksbane; May 12th, 2011 at 08:00 AM.
June 5th, 2011, 08:44 PM #21
- Join Date
- Jul 2001
I thought the book was pretty average. I've got Retribution Falls and The Braided path omnibus on the shelf still to read, but due to my "meh" reaction to this, those two books fall on" the to read list."