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  1. #16
    Member of the Month™ Ropie's Avatar
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    Afraid I had to give up on this one. I quite enjoyed the first fifty pages or so with the initial adventures through the city in the mountains - as usual Aldiss is fantastic at creating an unsettling world.

    Since the 'contemporary' part of the story began though, it has been about as interesting as a telephone directory. All the characters are interchangeable and they have the most stupid names and, despite the protracted timeline as we follow the seasonal change, very little happens apart from the odd fight or flounce. The only interesting part of the plot, and the only SF aspect in this mundane fantasy book, is the orbiting observation craft from Earth which makes 3 short appearances in 500 pages.

  2. #17
    Administrator Administrator Hobbit's Avatar
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    I'm on a reread on this one.

    When I read them 20-odd years ago, Ropie, I felt as you did. The pace is VERY slow.

    But now, though they are slow, it is a majestic tour. I appreciate them much more second time around.

    Perhaps that's me slowing up as well, then!

    Mark
    Mark

  3. #18
    Member of the Month™ Ropie's Avatar
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    Hi Mark, yes perhaps I've been reading too much Stephen King recently and can't quite slow down to the required pace. That said, all the other Aldiss books I've ever read have been so packed full of ingenious ideas that there's hardly room to breathe in the 300-or-so pages they tend to take up.

    Has anyone seen that there is a SF Masterworks omnibus version coming out later this year? That's going to be a big book...! edit - oh yes, first post of the thread has it!

  4. #19
    Administrator Administrator Hobbit's Avatar
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    That said, all the other Aldiss books I've ever read have been so packed full of ingenious ideas that there's hardly room to breathe in the 300-or-so pages they tend to take up.
    Agreed: and I think that may be why I found it difficult when I first read it.

    Perhaps now I 'get it' and am letting it take its time this time around. It is, as you say, more of a fantasy than SF, though the SF is there in the worldbuilding.

    Has anyone seen that there is a SF Masterworks omnibus version coming out later this year? That's going to be a big book...!
    Yes, that's what I've got to review with. Over 1000 pages...

    Mark
    Mark

  5. #20
    Member of the Month™ Ropie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbit View Post
    It is, as you say, more of a fantasy than SF, though the SF is there in the worldbuilding.
    I might eat my words a little here - spurred on by comments here I have now almost finished the book and have found the last 150 pages to be actually quite excellent as the action breaks away from Embruddock. The SF aspect does also come more to the fore with the detailed description of the progress of the bone fever. I may even go on to read the next installment...

    Yes, that's what I've got to review with. Over 1000 pages...
    Funny, I saw the new Gollancz edition in Forbidden Planet the other day and it is actually the same size as one of the original trilogy. That's some condensed reading (although paper thickness has obviously been thinned down from the early 1980s)!
    Last edited by Ropie; August 18th, 2010 at 04:46 AM.

  6. #21
    Registered User devilsadvoc8's Avatar
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    Meh, I must be in the minority. I couldn't stand this series. It always got rave reviews by the posters here so I slogged through it since this community never steered me wrong.

    Too many unexplained elements, lack of a protagonist that i actually cared about and simply no purpose to the story that I saw led me to regret the time spent on it. Perhaps I am just thickheaded.

  7. #22
    Omnibus Prime Moderator PeterWilliam's Avatar
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    I've been researching and reading a lot of posts and threads regarding this series around SFFWorld lately. I even read up on Hobbit's review.

    I'm in something of a quandry. I really want to read and like sci-fi, but have only read the first 2 books in the Night's Dawn series. They're ok, but not doing a lot for me. I keep hoping to run into a sci-fi read that will get me fired up. I think I'm going to give this one a try, especially since I can get it in the most wonderful format in existence today - the omnibus, in the SF Masterworks series, no less. It must be a sign.

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