As I said in a previous post I have recently read the Cormoran Strike novels by Robert Galbraith. It is pity that those books would not have sold well, if it had not be known that Galbraith is no one but J. K. Rowling herself, as the Strike novels are well-written detective stories. And to be honest I believe these books are far better than the Harry Potter series. Continue reading →
Windhaven by George R. R. Martin and Lisa Tuttle is described on Wikipedia as a “science fiction and fantasy” novel. This triggers me, really. As one might know, I endorse a strong demarcation between both genres of speculative fiction. Only almost everyone has his or her own definitions of science fiction and fantasy, and as always with definitions, discussions on this topic cannot be settled in a definite way. Continue reading →
I have now read all six books of the original Dune series by Frank Herbert. I won’t bother to give a summary of the books here, those can be found on the internet, rather I will present here my impressions of these classic works of science fiction. Continue reading →
Recently I finished The Wishsong of Shannara, the third installment of Terry Brooks’ Shannara trilogy. The other books are The Sword of Shannara and The Elfstones of Shannara. This fantasy series is remarkable because it is not set in a far and forgotten past or in some other universe but in the far future. After a nuclear war all technology is destroyed and replaced by magic. Continue reading →
I am almost finished reading Isaac Asimov’s Forward the Foundation. Despite the fact that Asimov is by far my favorite SF author, I wonder whether FtF is actually science fiction? The reader might ask if I am crazy as the Foundation series is set in space and in the future. However, I do not consider these two condition sufficient to consider a work of fiction to be science fiction. Continue reading →
If you need to find someone to run a manned mission to Mars and you have two applicants, Andy Weir and Bas Lansdorp, then I would recommend you to hire Weir. Though both men are primarily associated with manned missions to Mars, only Weir shows a deep understanding of the difficulties of living on Mars. Continue reading →
Since I have not had much time to write much, it would be an idea to share some nice fan fiction here. It’s really amazing the amount of fan fiction one can find on the web, though I mostly stumble upon nice ones by accident – the result of crazy search queries. I am particularly fond of “cross overs”. Continue reading →
Spanking author “Lurking Dragon” has created his own vision of the 28th century, a world known as the Rejuve Universe. In this fictional universe society has been changed significantly due to a technology called rejuvenation. According to his novel Melody’s Stories this technology was introduced on Earth by aliens (in the remainder of this review I will ignore the alien part, as I find this a deus ex machina type explanation, which I don’t like). Continue reading →
Yesterday I came across a story at FanFiction. In this cross over story, Rincewind (from Pratchett’s Discworld series) is appointed as the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts (the wizard school in the Harry Potter books). Continue reading →
Recently I have been reading Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World (EotW). In this post I will share some of my thoughts of the book. For a summary I will refer to the Wikipedia page on this work of fiction. Here I will focus on my impressions.
EotW is clear example of high fantasy as it follows the typical hero’s journey or monomyth schedule. The story begins with the lives of ordinary people in a rural region, Two Rivers, where big events do not happen. After a couple of outsiders, a merchant, a gleeman, an Aes sedai and her warder came to the village of Emond’s field, where the protagonist and his friends live, the village of Emond’s field is suddenly attacked by dark creatures which normally lives far away from Two Rivers.
After this attack is over, the Aes Sedai informs that the Dark Creatures were looking for three young men from the village (Rhand Al’thor, Matrim Cauthon and Perrin Aybara) and tells them the come with her to travel to the headquarters of her order to find our why. Suddenly the group is joined by the Gleeman, Thom Merrilin and a young woman, Egwene. With little preparations they live the next morning in a hurry.
On the way they are attacked several times by Dark Creatures and at some moment the group is split into three fractions. It takes a lot of time before they got reunited, meanwhile our main hero, Rhand, has to deal without guidance of the Aes Sedai.
And finally, at the very end of the book, we have a battle between Rhand and the Dark One and his associates.
Let me now focus on the book’s protagonist, Rhand Al’thor. In this part I will discuss the issue of father figures. I am inspired by American-Dutch movie scientist Dan Hassler-Forest’s analysis of “The Lord of the Rings”. DHF identifies a number of father figures of Frodo. I will repeat this excerices for EotW.
There are number of father figures for Rhand in EotW. First we meet his own father Tham, of whom we have reason to doubt whether he is really Rhand’s biological father. Anyway he has raised from infancy till manhood. During the sudden attack Tham is, however, mortally injured and survives only because intervention by Moiraine, the Aes Sedai who happens to visit Emond’s field.
Tham is too weak to join his son on his journey. But Rhand is in the company of two other men; Lan, Moiraine’s warder, and the gleeman, Thom Merrilin. Lan’s main duty is to defend his mistress and has to be courageous. And though Thom is an entertainer by trade, he has a great knowledge of the danger in the world outside Two Rivers and shares this with Rhand and his friends.
Both men teach important things to Rhand. Lan teaches how to handle a sword properly and Thom provides essential information about a wide range of creatures and other important stuff. However, these man represent certain values. Lan enshrines both courage and loyalty (to his female companion), Thom has knowledge.
Interestingly I also identified a number of mother-figures in EotW, triggered by Hassler-Forest’s remark about the remarkable lack of women in the Lord of the Rings.
We learn in the beginning that Rhand lost his “own” mother, Kari, at young age and was consequently raised by his father. The most importantt mother-figure in the story is, of course, Moiraine. She takes care of Rhand and his friends Mat and Perrin, as if it were her sons and takes steps to protect them against the Dark One’s armies. And like a good mother she reprimands the boys when they behave stupidly.
Another important mother-figure is Nynaeve. When it is discovered that three young men and her pupil Egwene has left the village, she travels in their steps to get back to Emond’s field. Though we know Nynaeve is a young woman, she is still significant older than Rhand and his friends. Furthermore she is the village’s Wisdom, the highest position of authority for women in Emond’s field.
The Eye of the World is clearly written and is devoid of long, boring passages with no action. But all action in the story serves a clear purpose in the plot and there is no meaningless action for the sake action alone. And though it is not a literary master piece, it is fun to read – if you like this kind of fiction – and in its genre it is definitely one of the best.