Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 47
  1. #1
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Near Cows in the Garden State
    Posts
    10,907

    The Dark Wing - June SFFWSFBC Book

    June starts, let the discussions begin!

  2. #2
    Lemurs!!! Moderator Erfael's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Up a tree
    Posts
    4,880
    I am only halfway through so far, and enjoying it with only a few gripes that I'll save until I'm finished.

    I do have to say, though, that I would NEVER have gone into a book store and picked this book. There is nothing about the actual presentation of the book that gives any indication what goes on in the book. The presentation looks like a toss-off YA book--Not a good YA book, but one that was thrown together in the hopes that a few people would pick it up and maybe profit a little.

    The art is cheesy, with all of these serious people standing around with ships blowing up in the background. There is no indication in the blurbs at all about what it is.

    Mankind faces extinction at alien hands.

    The only thing that stands in their way?

    THE DARK WING
    ________________________________________

    Where man may have to fight genocide with genocide if he hopes to survive.

    That's the back of the American version. Maybe I'm being petty, but it doesn't even look like the publisher took the book seriously.
    Hopefully the rest of the international community got a little better presentation.

    That said, I am enjoying it. Thank you Fitz for nominating it and pushing it through to June BoTM. I'l be back in a couple days with more thoughts. Erf.

  3. #3
    Anitaverse Refugee FicusFan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Nashua, NH
    Posts
    3,560
    I will jump in and say I loved the book. I am eagerly awaiting the second one to go into paper so I can snatch it up.

    I thought it started a little slow, and I didn't like the timeline that jumped back and forth around the sneak attack. I was also getting worried that is was just going to be routine MilSF, when there was finally a chapter with the Zor in it. Once that kicked in I was hooked. I really loved the chapters with the Zor, and the Humans who were fighting them. I really liked learning about the Zor culture and seeing things from their point of view. I particularly liked the grunt (forget his name) on the space station raid who started to channel the High Lord. I liked the little touches about the traditions on the Naval Space Ships.

    I was less crazy about the political, and Intelligence stuff, and the Stone situation, but I think that is all foreshadowing for stuff that happens later in the series. I think there are supposed to be 4 books in all.

    In terms of the cover art and the blurbs -- they didn't really appeal or detract from the book for me. I bought the book before we selected it, because the author has been to my discusion group twice (once after each book came out in HC). I missed him the first time but others there said it sounded very interesting. They said it sounded like he was writing stuff close to how CJ Cherryh writes: a combo MilSF/ Anthropological SF. So I bought the book when it went into PB.

  4. #4
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Near Cows in the Garden State
    Posts
    10,907
    Originally posted by Erfael
    The art is cheesy, with all of these serious people standing around with ships blowing up in the background. There is no indication in the blurbs at all about what it is.
    I don't think the cover is all that bad. To me it invokes some of the pulpy SF of the Golden Age of SF. I really found out more about the book from SFRevu

    Originally posted by Erfael
    That said, I am enjoying it. Thank you Fitz for nominating it and pushing it through to June BoTM. I'l be back in a couple days with more thoughts. Erf.
    No problem Erf, glad you like it.

    Myself, I just started it this morning and got through the prologue. (was busy into BDT for Fantasy and a book for review for SFFW)

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    21

    Dark Wing Author joins the conversation.

    I received e-mail from the Forum Moderator that my book was chosen for the book of the month. I'm flattered that it is getting attention and positive response.

    As I'm obviously in possession of the complete set of spoilers :-), I won't chime in on the plot, but will be happy to answer questions about the book or the series if I can.

    Regarding the cover art, I have to say that I'm pleased with it overall; the second book cover is actually a scene from the book - how often does that happen?

    Regarding the publisher, they make decisions on first-time authors that they think will sell the largest number of books; your mileage may vary. I don't feel that I can comment one way or the other on that, as I don't have input on how the book is marketed (or what goes on the flyleaf or inside cover). Glad that you bought the book anyway.

    Regards,

    Walter H. Hunt

  6. #6
    Lemurs!!! Moderator Erfael's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Up a tree
    Posts
    4,880
    Well, gee. I guess now we all have to be well behaved about what we say about it.


    I suppose my last night's experience says a lot about what I though about the book. I stayed up all night to read the last half of it. I really enjoyed it thoroughly.


    I thought the mix of mililtary, political, intelligence, religious, and alien elements was a great mix that really kept me interested in where things were going to go next. I felt that the transition from the primarily military beginning where Marais was considered a soft, staff man into the later parts where we really got to see how many different aspects of both the human and zor socieites were affecting the struggle was very well done.


    Something that I thought quite a bit about as I was reading this book was how history was handled. Even though the story took place in the early 2300s, there are few references to anything that has occurred in our recent history. Initially, I was a little put off by this, that there wasn't often a continuity of history exhibited as it was in, say, Hyperion. In Simmons' work, he would tie things in by lists of events that we would be familiar with extended into the future: Bach, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, 20th Century Guy, 21st Century Guy, etc... In working through Hyperion I was very impressed with this method.

    Back to The Dark Wing: In reading I thought a lot about the very occasional references to, say, the 20th Century in TDW, versus those in Simmons' work. I have to say, that upon thinking on the subject throughout TDW, I have been swayed to think that its treatment of history is better.

    When most people today turn on the radio and hear a song, they usually don't even consider how the recent history of popular music, say from 1950, led into what they are listening to at a given moment. Even in politically charged situations like we have in the world now with GW Bush and his war on terror, many people don't even go back as far as the end of the second world war and look at exactly how the Middle East came to be shaped in the way it is now. People certainly don't think on a regular basis how events of 300 years past have helped to bring the world to the place that it is now.

    After thinking about many of these things, I came to the conclusion that I would much rather see history treated, on the whole, as it is in TDW than in some way that everyone is constantly mentioning events from hundreds of years back. Granted, for any who may nit-pick, The Consul was a classical music buff and should know how different composers led into one another.

    I do think is a good exercise to be able to tie things together over time and relationships, though. (Is this too much of a drift here?) The jazz professor at the school of music that I attended in college would frequently stop a big band rehearsal and ask someone in the group the connection between two seemingly unrelated pieces of music or two people who never directly worked together. And it was usually some long convoluted line of who worked with whom over the course of twenty or so years, but in performing the music appropriately, it's important. It's important because it answers the question: "Why?"

    Again, back to TDW: Marais is the first person to delve into the zor and ask that same question. "Why do the zor do this? What is the driving force behind them?" It is only through these questions that humanity comes to some sort of terms with the zor. Simple retaliations of the course of sixty years didn't solve anything. Coming to terms with the zor on the grounds of mutual understanding ended the war.

    I feel that a lot of this applies to many things that are going on today. People in politics are making political foreign or domestic policy decisions that don't necessarily solve the problems. They are playing the same game that the emporer and the assembly are playing. "What will keep us in power?" They never ask the question, "What will really be better for people as a whole over the course of time?"

    I should stop this for now, but I am interested in some debate on these topics. I think the book has a lot to say about how a government reacts to things without necessarily taking history or future into consideration beyond the question of how to stay in power.


    Mr. Hunt, I am curious to hear (perhaps toward the end of the month after we hash things out a little more here) what some of your thinking was as you approached the writing. I am also curious (not necessarily at the end of the month) what some of your biggest influences are. I have a few that I might pick, but I'm curious what you have to say about it. Erf.

  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    21
    Originally posted by Erfael
    Well, gee. I guess now we all have to be well behaved about what we say about it.

    Well, I wouldn't worry too much about that. I'm pretty thick skinned :-)


    >Even though the story took place in the early 2300s, there are few references to anything that has occurred in our recent history.
    ...
    After thinking about many of these things, I came to the conclusion that I would much rather see history treated, on the whole, as it is in TDW than in some way that everyone is constantly mentioning events from hundreds of years back.


    I tend to agree with this. I have been working on some material that takes place between the present and the events in DW; I'm writing a short story about the founding of the Solar Empire now.

    >I do think is a good exercise to be able to tie things together over time and relationships, though.

    So do I, and it's important to realize that there's a whole lot of stuff packed into even recent history. I try not to make references just for the sake of making them.

    >Mr. Hunt, I am curious to hear (perhaps toward the end of the month after we hash things out a little more here) what some of your thinking was as you approached the writing. I am also curious (not necessarily at the end of the month) what some of your biggest influences are. I have a few that I might pick, but I'm curious what you have to say about it. Erf.
    Let me ponder an answer to that (as soon as you stop calling me "Mr. Hunt") :-)

    Walter.

  8. #8
    Lemurs!!! Moderator Erfael's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Up a tree
    Posts
    4,880
    Sorry. Didn't know if you might be an oldie that would prefer Mr. Hunt......

  9. #9
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    21
    Originally posted by Erfael
    Sorry. Didn't know if you might be an oldie that would prefer Mr. Hunt......
    I'm not sure how old one must be in order to be qualified as an "oldie". First names will certainly do, though my books are shelved under H :-)

    Walter.

  10. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    21

    Some Info

    I realize that this discussion is primarily focused on The Dark Wing. My thoughts these days have been primarily on the third book, currently in MS. form at Tor, with the working title "The Dark Ascent". One of my fellow writers, after reading the second book, informed me that he assumed I was "about to commit Trilogy", and he was almost right - I'm in the process of committing Tetralogy. There's actually a fourth book that completes the cycle; I've only written about 20% of it.

    Probably the hardest part of discussing the first book is to exclude comments on the subsequent work. Even leaving aside the issue of spoilers, it's hard to remember exactly what I've revealed and what I haven't; a recent poster made some comments about history, and I've been checking back to see what I actually mentioned.

    More answers as I invent them :-)

    Walter.

  11. #11
    Seeker of Stuff Moderator Kamakhya's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Somewhere to the Left
    Posts
    795
    Wow, what a surprise and what a treat! Thank you for joining the discussion, Walter. While I wish that I could be completely positive, I am going to be brutally honest.

    Overall, I enjoyed the book. I always like a book that can portray an alien species with some depth. The Zor were an interesting species. I liked their mystical nature and their slow and steady approach. I also enjoyed seeing how humans blundered in trying to understand them in terms of human reactions and morals. I also loved the wing speech. While I think I have read about other avian type cultures, the wing speech was really made them seem plausible.

    That said, this novel did not really grab me. First off, I am not a big fan of military SF. The seemingly endless descriptions of the space craft in the beginning nearly caused me to stop reading the book. Had it not been for the fact that this was a book club book, I probably would have given up on it. I am glad I finished it, as I did enjoy the book once I got past the "boy" stuff

    One thing that kind of bugged me was the whole "dark wing" and "bright wing" stuff. It basically was just way too like Christian Good and Evil, God and Satan, etc. I would have thought with a truly alien culture, they would have a truly alien metaphysics. On the other hand, if they were spoon-fed this by the mysterious other culture, then perhaps earth was spoon-fed christianity as well. That would make some sense.

    While I understand this is just the first book of a four book series, I was frustrated by the confusion that Stone caused. While it was made clear he was a minion of the mysterious other culture, the part where he departed from the ship was confusing. There was talk of red, blue and purple "bands" of light. That seemed to indicate he was talking with the secret service, yet it was clear later in the book that he was not. At first I thought the secret service was also part of this mysterious other culture, but by the end it was made clear that they were not.

    Speaking of the secret service, they seemeed to be in the employ of the emperor, yet they clearly acted without the emperor's authority. While I liked the concept of a secret group with great power more or less running the show, I found their motives and desires confusing and difficult to follow. I was disappointed that their role was not more clearly defined or explained.

    I also never really understood why all the officers under Marais would follow him into battle with the Zor, knowing that they would be destroying their careers, before they even truly comprehended the Zor. Yes, they had Marais' book, but no one knew for sure that his theory was correct. Clearly, Torrijos was seriously apprehensive about committing genocide, yet, when he was forced to make a decision, he jumped right in behind a commandor that he thought might be a bit insane. It just didn't make a lot of sense to me.

    Finally, I was equally confused by the trial. I mean, Marais comes back with proof that he was right and that his approach was not only appropriate but right. Why would it be so hard to explain to the people the nature of the Zor and the need for a brutal hand? Heck, it wasn't so alien that it was completely incomprehensible. Of course, the noble hero scapegoated by his own government was a better ending, but it just didn't sit right with me.

    I liked the Solar Empire. I liked the politics and the structure of it. I liked some of the social commentary, particularly that involving our own brutal nature. I liked the alien culture and how it was developed. I also enjoyed the background material involving Torrijos. I also really liked the gender and racial equality of the main characters. It was done with a subtle touch.

    So, despite the criticisms, I did enjoy the story and at times was finding it difficult to put down. Yet, I also found myself questioning many aspects and re-reading parts trying to understand how things happened. I don't mind that some aspects were not resolved, it is more that I did not find aspects believable or not explained well enough to make me want to read more. I may just to learn more about some aspects of the story, but I do not feel compelled to go out and buy the next book.

    So, there is my brutally honest first thoughts. I feel bad not raving about the book with the author present, but I would rather be honest.

    Kamakhya

  12. #12
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    21

    Brutally honest, eh?

    First off, don't worry about "raving" in front of the author. If you aren't willing to take good comments with bad, you shouldn't be releasing books to the general public.

    To answer the criticism of the first part of the book: you should know that the original first scene of the book was the interview between McMasters and Torrijos - the battle at the beginning was told in brief flashback. Because of the way the book is marketed, it was required that there be the sort of descriptive scenes which you found uninteresting.

    i understand that you find the religion insufficiently alien. First, your description is a bit short of the mark: the zor believe in four forces (esesLi, esGa'u, esHu'ur, and esTli'ir) each of which provide a different part of the explanation of how the world works. The Dark Wing operates independently of either "good" or "evil". The exposition of these forces does make them more alien - at least that's my intention. Second, if you want to understand the zor culture better, I took on the task in the second book (at the request of people like yourself :-)).

    The similarity of the colored bands to the colors of the Intel agents is what's called a "red herring". Except, in this case, the herring has six colors. As for acting without the Emperor's authority, there are numerous examples in human history in which an agency or governmental institution operates independent of its head; if it's intentional, it's called "plausible deniability" - if not, it's called "usurpation of power".

    Next, Sergei has a conflict with Stone just before Marais commits a treasonable act: he tells Marais that he must make his intentions clear to the other officers before asking them to commit treason along with him. I thought that was fairly clear. He - like most of the other commanders - is forced to choose between the need to fulfill the mission and his oath to an Emperor who would thwart it. It is intended to play up the difference between the views of bucolic civilians and professional soldiers.

    I have been told that scapegoating is actually quite common - particularly the use of Article 133, which is a part of the American UCMJ, by the way - when the military wants a desired outcome and can't find any other way to achieve it.

    So, there are my replies. Thanks for your interest in the book.

    Walter.

  13. #13
    Anitaverse Refugee FicusFan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Nashua, NH
    Posts
    3,560
    Hi Walter,

    I just saw you a couple of weeks ago when you were the guest author at the Toadstool in Milford, NH. You were there for Dark Path, but you also talked about Dark Wing. I had not read either book at that time, though I had already purchased Dark Wing (but left it at home so was unable to have you sign it ). You were very fluent with the Zor names (of course I realize you made them up ) and I was really unprepared for what a mouthful they were when you confront them on the page (let alone try to pronounce them ).

    My question is: did you have some specific language (on earth) that you were using as a guide or trying to emulate ? Also does the pattern of how the words start and are broken up mean something linguistically or culturally to the Zor ?

    I also wondered if you had a specific bird or type of bird that you were using as the proto-ancestors of the Zor ?

    The other question I have is about Stone and the intelligence agents. The way it was written he seemed to be one of them, but then it seems he wasn't. I read what you had written on the board previously about the color being a red herring, and I remember what you said at the Toad about other explainations (which are spoilers and I won't mention here), but at one time, perhaps before 'Stone' appeared and joined the fleet, was he ever one of the operatives of the intelligence group -- fooling them as well as the fleet ? I was unclear about that part.

    Thanks.

    PS: Will you be at Readercon this summer ? If so, I will remember to bring my DW book to get it signed. I am waiting for DP to go into paper before purchasing it.

  14. #14
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Near Cows in the Garden State
    Posts
    10,907
    Ok, I haven't read the posts too in depth since I'm at about page 300 and don't want to spoil much.

    I like the race of the zor...well detailed and constructed.

    Stone...I'm glad Sergei finally stood up to him...Stone was really irking me as well.

    Marias...I REALLY like his character thus far and it is hard to argue with his strategy. Very much of a darwinistic attitude towards the zor.

    Overall, there are parts of the story that remind me a bit of Doc Smith's Lensmen books...the epic feel of the story, to the names of the characters.

  15. #15
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    21
    Originally posted by FicusFan
    My question is: did you have some specific language (on earth) that you were using as a guide or trying to emulate ? Also does the pattern of how the words start and are broken up mean something linguistically or culturally to the Zor ?


    The apostrophes represent some sort of glottal or verbal break. I could imagine the wing movements corresponding with the stops.


    I also wondered if you had a specific bird or type of bird that you were using as the proto-ancestors of the Zor ?
    No, though an artist named Joe DeVito drew some great sketches that I intend to put up on my web site at some point. I thought of them as eagles with bat-like wings.


    The other question I have is about Stone and the intelligence agents
    . . .
    but at one time, perhaps before 'Stone' appeared and joined the fleet, was he ever one of the operatives of the intelligence group -- fooling them as well as the fleet ? I was unclear about that part.
    No, Stone has been an attache for Admiral Marais - there's a passage in the book where Marais explains to Sergei where he first met him.

    Regarding ReaderCon, yes, I'll be there - just got my invitation to be part of the program. I look forward to seeing you there.

    Regards,

    Walter.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •