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  1. #1
    Administrator Administrator Hobbit's Avatar
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    December 2011 SF BotM: The Carpet Makers by Andreas Eschbach

    Andreas Eschbach's The Carpet Makers was first published in English in 2005 by Tor Books, though the German edition was published in 1995.



    According to Wikipedia,
    The book is set on a planet whose sole industry is weaving elaborate rugs. The carpets are made of human hair and require a lifetime of work to complete. The book is a series of inter-related stories that give increasingly more detail on the nature and purpose of the rugs and why the universe has tens of thousands of planets solely devoted to making such a thing, each thinking they are the only one.

    There is a prequel to the The Carpet Makers, titled Quest (2001), which has not been translated into English so far.

    Discuss!

    Mark
    Mark

  2. #2
    Registered User livens's Avatar
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    Just ordered this for a penny off of amazon (+ 3.99 s/h of course)

  3. #3
    Orthodox Herbertian Omphalos's Avatar
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    Loved this story the second I read the excerpt in F&SF. the book is wonderful.

  4. #4
    Goblin Princess Teresa Edgerton's Avatar
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    I loved the book right up until the end, which felt contrived. I imagine it was foreseen by the author from the beginning and may have been, in a way, the whole point of the book, but the feeling that it was tacked on was enough to spoil the story for me.

  5. #5
    Registered User odo's Avatar
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    I read the book about 7 years ago, in the Spanish translation. The author was coming to a local Con, I asked several friends about the book and, since they recommended it I decided to buy it (in order to get it signed, mainly). When I read it, I was completely blown away from the first chapter. Excellent book. I don't remember all the details, but I recall that almost every chapter had a surprising final twist. And I really loved the "mosaic" structure of the novel.

    This is the Spanish edition, if you are interested:

    http://www.tercerafundacion.net/bibl...ver/ficha/8901

  6. #6
    Lemurs!!! Moderator Erfael's Avatar
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    For some reason, some books just don't sound appealing. This is one I'd heard good things about five years ago when it came out, eventually picked up used, then never read. It just never seemed that interesting. Boy, was I wrong. I tore through this in about a day. There was no part of the book that I didn't find very readable.

    Teresa, what about the end did you find contrived? The fact that all these carpets were being used to cover a world on the mere whim of a vengeful ruler? I think it definitely feels contrived and ridiculous. But I think that's the point.

    I think the book is all about belief systems...both how they can be used by those in power to manipulate and how they can be completely distorted by those who believe in them. By making the whole point of the hair carpets something almost farcical, I found Eschbach really drove home those points.

    I found a great deal of the book very moving, from the teacher who was stoned to death for having the wrong belief to the alien who was captured for stumbling into the situation to the many fathers who had to kill their sons because "thems the rules".

    The book does take things to extremes to point this out. To carry out one vengeful notion, billions of people's lives are changed for thousands and thousands of years.

    I was also really happy with the book on a structural level. I've been hunting for years for books told through different characters....either different characters in each chapter coming together to make an overall story or a series of books all taking place at the same time where each book follows a different character. So this can go into the first list (the second list is still pretty barren).

  7. #7
    Goblin Princess Teresa Edgerton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erfael View Post

    Teresa, what about the end did you find contrived? The fact that all these carpets were being used to cover a world on the mere whim of a vengeful ruler? I think it definitely feels contrived and ridiculous. But I think that's the point.
    Oh, I'm quite sure that it's the point. But I felt a little cheated. There could have been clues earlier. When an author just pulls an ending out of the air at the end to surprise the readers, it always feels a little cheap to me. Just my own reaction to these things; others may appreciate a surprise that they didn't and couldn't see coming. (I like a surprise that I didn't see coming, too, but it's the couldn't that bothers me.) The book up until that point, I felt, was too good for such an ending.

  8. #8
    Lemurs!!! Moderator Erfael's Avatar
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    I kind of figured from the early parts that it would be that kind of ending (and I may have seen a comment somewhere, maybe a Goodreads review that the ending was a big reveal kind of thing rather than a buildup of some sort). So for me that worked fine.

  9. #9
    Well I loved the book - thought it was quite brilliant.

    I enjoyed how each chapter was like a mini story, but it took a few chapters before I realised that this was how the whole book was going to be and I admit I felt a bit disappointed a couple of times when realising I wouldn't find out more about certain characters I had quickly come to care about.

    Never-the-less, I liked the way the story unfolded gradually and revealed more and more as it progressed, becoming more and more intriguing.

    I loved the ending because I didn't see it coming - nearing the end I was imagining all sorts of reasons why the carpets were being made (all quite lame reasons) and didn't think of anything near the truth.

    To me there was a very strong message about how power corrupts. Really it turned out to be a story about a man who was already dead - who had too much time and too much power - who affected countless millions of lives (and destroyed many) only to come to the place where he'd had enough and wanted to die.

    That was what blew me away really - man discovers that ultimate power is ultimately unsatisfying. The fact that the whole book led up to a realisation that countless atrocities were committed on a whim really brought that home.

    I'm quite convinced that the author has had a really bad experience in a traditional church somewhere - perhaps Catholicism - and has used the book to point at the hypocrises of the priesthood and the atrocities that have sadly been committed in our own time on our own planet.

    Great book - loved it.

  10. #10
    yeah great little read. I got given it my an old friend a couple of year ago and passed it on straight away, and he passed it on. One of those type of books. It's on tour. The final extra prologue chapter is a bit hollywood unnecessary to my mind.

  11. #11
    Heather Lafon
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    Although the name sounded quite boring the reviews are highly positive for the book. And being related to carpet industry i must read such books.

    carpet stair treads

  12. #12
    was that a weirdly cunning bot just did that? Wow, they're getting a bit ghost in the machine...

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