Discussion:
SM Stirling's "Change"/"Emberverse"/"Nantucket" series...
(too old to reply)
Don Bruder
2011-12-02 03:22:16 UTC
Permalink
I've been through the currently available books in the set (tho I
haven't yet waded into "Tears of the Sun" - it's on my "To get to soon"
list - probably some time next week, actually) and I'm left wondering:

Does anyone think it likely that he's ever going to get around to
addressing the key concern? Namely, the who? what? why? of "The Change"?
Or is the series going to continue to be little more than a
"post-apocalyptic medieval-style fights and politics with some (1)
wiccan spiritual blathering (in the obligatory fake scottish accent, of
course) thrown in for spice" wankfest?

He's repeatedly "bumped up against" the possible source/cause/reason of
"The Change", which, to me, is the absolute heart of the whole thing,
but he keeps shying away from actually DOING anything significant with
it - seemingly in favor of repeated (2) battles full of fairly graphic
descriptions of people and horses (3) being killed in various ways with
assorted sharp pointy things since bullets don't work anymore.

I've kept going so far in hopes that he'll actually get his act together
and at least *PRETEND* to explain "The Change", but with the end of the
series supposedly approaching (two more volumes planned, according to
the latest info I've seen) I'm beginning to wonder if he's actually
going to do something to pull it together, or if it's going to be the
literary equivalent of "LOST" - As in "What? The smoke monster?/Dharma
Initiative?/The Numbers?/The hatch?/The supply drops?/The logbooks
dumped in the middle of nowhere?/All those other interesting things we
brought up but never even tried to explain? Oh, never mind that stuff -
it wasn't important."

What say you, folks - Should I bother to continue with the set, or do
you think (as I'm beginning to) that "The Change" was nothing more than
an excuse to (very poorly) justify jumping off into a rather extended
bit of "pseudo-medieval-gorefest-with-wicca-on-the-side" wankery?


(1) Far too much, if you ask me, and getting steadily thicker and less
palatable as it goes along. And this is coming from a reader who has
more than a passing acquaintance with "The Craft". I can only imagine
how "whackazoid" anyone without at least a passing familiarity with
Wicca would consider it...

(2) And repeated, and repeated again, and then repeated once more,
apparently to make sure that any reader who managed to duck the first
three times gets splattered with at least SOME of it.

(3) Particularly horses - I'm beginning to wonder if he asked for a pony
in his youth, got it, then got thrown, kicked, bitten, or otherwise
traumatized by it, leading to a lifelong urge to cause them suffering -
As a horseman myself, it gets kind of "squicky" to watch him invent new
ways to make a horse suffer (and describe in detail how much the poor
beast is suffering, with a heavy stress on how it has no idea why it's
suffering) before somebody comes along and, after reciting some idiotic
variation of "So sorry, brother horse, here, let me help you finish
dying", shove a dirk into its ear/cut its throat/thrust a sward into its
heart/etc.
--
Email shown is deceased. If you would like to contact me by email, please
post something that makes it obvious in this or another group you see me
posting in with a "how to contact you" address, and I'll get back to you.
Dimensional Traveler
2011-12-02 03:50:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Don Bruder
I've been through the currently available books in the set (tho I
haven't yet waded into "Tears of the Sun" - it's on my "To get to soon"
Does anyone think it likely that he's ever going to get around to
addressing the key concern? Namely, the who? what? why? of "The Change"?
Or is the series going to continue to be little more than a
"post-apocalyptic medieval-style fights and politics with some (1)
wiccan spiritual blathering (in the obligatory fake scottish accent, of
course) thrown in for spice" wankfest?
Um, he already has. I think it was 'Sword of the Lady' but if you were
paying attention during the visit by Rudi to Nantucket Island you know
who caused The Change and why. (A really, _really_, REALLY stupid "why"
IMHO so perhaps you can be forgiven if you've forgotten it. :) )
Don Bruder
2011-12-02 17:30:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dimensional Traveler
Post by Don Bruder
I've been through the currently available books in the set (tho I
haven't yet waded into "Tears of the Sun" - it's on my "To get to soon"
Does anyone think it likely that he's ever going to get around to
addressing the key concern? Namely, the who? what? why? of "The Change"?
Or is the series going to continue to be little more than a
"post-apocalyptic medieval-style fights and politics with some (1)
wiccan spiritual blathering (in the obligatory fake scottish accent, of
course) thrown in for spice" wankfest?
Um, he already has. I think it was 'Sword of the Lady' but if you were
paying attention during the visit by Rudi to Nantucket Island you know
who caused The Change and why. (A really, _really_, REALLY stupid "why"
IMHO so perhaps you can be forgiven if you've forgotten it. :) )
<ponders>
Rudi to Nantucket... What do I remember about that part? Something about
encountering some indians/prehistoric aboriginal-type americans, wasn't
it? Who I figured pretty well HAD to be the folk who got swapped from
the "Island in the sea of time" series in exchange for
Nantucket-present. Now that I think about it, beyond that, I actually
can't recall many specifics from the first time I went through it. Mebbe
gonna hafta do it again. If I can bring myself to.
--
Email shown is deceased. If you would like to contact me by email, please
post something that makes it obvious in this or another group you see me
posting in with a "how to contact you" address, and I'll get back to you.
Richard R. Hershberger
2011-12-02 18:24:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Don Bruder
Post by Don Bruder
I've been through the currently available books in the set (tho I
haven't yet waded into "Tears of the Sun" - it's on my "To get to soon"
Does anyone think it likely that he's ever going to get around to
addressing the key concern? Namely, the who? what? why? of "The Change"?
Or is the series going to continue to be little more than a
"post-apocalyptic medieval-style fights and politics with some (1)
wiccan spiritual blathering (in the obligatory fake scottish accent, of
course) thrown in for spice" wankfest?
Um, he already has.  I think it was 'Sword of the Lady' but if you were
paying attention during the visit by Rudi to Nantucket Island you know
who caused The Change and why.  (A really, _really_, REALLY stupid "why"
IMHO so perhaps you can be forgiven if you've forgotten it.  :) )
<ponders>
Rudi to Nantucket... What do I remember about that part? Something about
encountering some indians/prehistoric aboriginal-type americans, wasn't
it? Who I figured pretty well HAD to be the folk who got swapped from
the "Island in the sea of time" series in exchange for
Nantucket-present. Now that I think about it, beyond that, I actually
can't recall many specifics from the first time I went through it. Mebbe
gonna hafta do it again. If I can bring myself to.
I crapped out after the book where Rudi took hundreds of pages to walk
about a third of the way, with drearily uninteresting adventures along
the way. So I could only guess what he found once he finished
slogging through the page count. One reason I didn't bother to find
out is that I disagree with you about this being the key concern. I
regard the Event as essentially a MacGuffin. It serves to set the
story in motion, but the real point is to explore the idea of what
would happen if electricity suddenly stopped working. Unfortunately,
this exploration turned out to be good for about two books. But even
apart from that, the shameless handwavium Stirling applies to try to
give the Event a scientific veneer bodes strongly against wanting it
laid out explicitly.

Richard R. Hershberger
Dimensional Traveler
2011-12-02 22:16:53 UTC
Permalink
***************SPOILERS BELOW*******************
Post by Richard R. Hershberger
Post by Don Bruder
Post by Dimensional Traveler
Post by Don Bruder
I've been through the currently available books in the set (tho I
haven't yet waded into "Tears of the Sun" - it's on my "To get to soon"
Does anyone think it likely that he's ever going to get around to
addressing the key concern? Namely, the who? what? why? of "The Change"?
Or is the series going to continue to be little more than a
"post-apocalyptic medieval-style fights and politics with some (1)
wiccan spiritual blathering (in the obligatory fake scottish accent, of
course) thrown in for spice" wankfest?
Um, he already has. I think it was 'Sword of the Lady' but if you were
paying attention during the visit by Rudi to Nantucket Island you know
who caused The Change and why. (A really, _really_, REALLY stupid "why"
IMHO so perhaps you can be forgiven if you've forgotten it. :) )
<ponders>
Rudi to Nantucket... What do I remember about that part? Something about
encountering some indians/prehistoric aboriginal-type americans, wasn't
it? Who I figured pretty well HAD to be the folk who got swapped from
the "Island in the sea of time" series in exchange for
Nantucket-present. Now that I think about it, beyond that, I actually
can't recall many specifics from the first time I went through it. Mebbe
gonna hafta do it again. If I can bring myself to.
I crapped out after the book where Rudi took hundreds of pages to walk
about a third of the way, with drearily uninteresting adventures along
the way. So I could only guess what he found once he finished
slogging through the page count. One reason I didn't bother to find
out is that I disagree with you about this being the key concern. I
regard the Event as essentially a MacGuffin. It serves to set the
story in motion, but the real point is to explore the idea of what
would happen if electricity suddenly stopped working. Unfortunately,
this exploration turned out to be good for about two books. But even
apart from that, the shameless handwavium Stirling applies to try to
give the Event a scientific veneer bodes strongly against wanting it
laid out explicitly.
***********SPOILER***************

Basically it was far, far, FAR distant future humanity after they had
merged with all other intelligent life into basically God who went back
in time and made The Change to give themselves more time to mature as a
species.
Richard R. Hershberger
2011-12-05 18:19:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dimensional Traveler
***************SPOILERS BELOW*******************
Post by Richard R. Hershberger
Post by Don Bruder
Post by Don Bruder
I've been through the currently available books in the set (tho I
haven't yet waded into "Tears of the Sun" - it's on my "To get to soon"
Does anyone think it likely that he's ever going to get around to
addressing the key concern? Namely, the who? what? why? of "The Change"?
Or is the series going to continue to be little more than a
"post-apocalyptic medieval-style fights and politics with some (1)
wiccan spiritual blathering (in the obligatory fake scottish accent, of
course) thrown in for spice" wankfest?
Um, he already has.  I think it was 'Sword of the Lady' but if you were
paying attention during the visit by Rudi to Nantucket Island you know
who caused The Change and why.  (A really, _really_, REALLY stupid "why"
IMHO so perhaps you can be forgiven if you've forgotten it.  :) )
<ponders>
Rudi to Nantucket... What do I remember about that part? Something about
encountering some indians/prehistoric aboriginal-type americans, wasn't
it? Who I figured pretty well HAD to be the folk who got swapped from
the "Island in the sea of time" series in exchange for
Nantucket-present. Now that I think about it, beyond that, I actually
can't recall many specifics from the first time I went through it. Mebbe
gonna hafta do it again. If I can bring myself to.
I crapped out after the book where Rudi took hundreds of pages to walk
about a third of the way, with drearily uninteresting adventures along
the way.  So I could only guess what he found once he finished
slogging through the page count.  One reason I didn't bother to find
out is that I disagree with you about this being the key concern.  I
regard the Event as essentially a MacGuffin.  It serves to set the
story in motion, but the real point is to explore the idea of what
would happen if electricity suddenly stopped working.  Unfortunately,
this exploration turned out to be good for about two books.  But even
apart from that, the shameless handwavium Stirling applies to try to
give the Event a scientific veneer bodes strongly against wanting it
laid out explicitly.
***********SPOILER***************
Basically it was far, far, FAR distant future humanity after they had
merged with all other intelligent life into basically God who went back
in time and made The Change to give themselves more time to mature as a
species.
Meh. This does nothing to affect the actual books one way or the
other. All it does is provide the thinnest of science glosses to a
fantasy series. This seems to be important to Stirling, but it isn't
to the books. Playing the "sufficiently advanced technology" card is
uninteresting and cheap.

Richard R. Hershberger
Howard Brazee
2011-12-06 01:50:40 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 5 Dec 2011 10:19:22 -0800 (PST), "Richard R. Hershberger"
Post by Richard R. Hershberger
Meh. This does nothing to affect the actual books one way or the
other. All it does is provide the thinnest of science glosses to a
fantasy series. This seems to be important to Stirling, but it isn't
to the books. Playing the "sufficiently advanced technology" card is
uninteresting and cheap.
The first time we were introduced to that idea it was neat. But not
the 50th.
--
"In no part of the constitution is more wisdom to be found,
than in the clause which confides the question of war or peace
to the legislature, and not to the executive department."

- James Madison
David DeLaney
2011-12-02 04:52:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Don Bruder
Does anyone think it likely that he's ever going to get around to
addressing the key concern? Namely, the who? what? why? of "The Change"?
He's repeatedly "bumped up against" the possible source/cause/reason of
"The Change", which, to me, is the absolute heart of the whole thing,
but he keeps shying away from actually DOING anything significant with it
I have not read any of the series - I've been exposed to a couple of shorts
in various collections, but that's all. But as I understand it, a) Alien
Space Bats Did It for unexplained reasons, and b) no, he's NOT going to turn
it into a "humanity rebuilds and goes after the Alien Space Bats" series,
because the ASB were there specifically TO change the Earth, as a setting,
into a setting in which he could tell the kind of stories he wants to tell,
which are the ones that aren't interesting you that much any more. They're
dei ex machinae.
Post by Don Bruder
I've kept going so far in hopes that he'll actually get his act together
and at least *PRETEND* to explain "The Change",
Alien Space Bats, dude. Sorry.
Post by Don Bruder
Do you think (as I'm beginning to) that "The Change" was nothing more than
an excuse to (very poorly) justify jumping off into a rather extended
bit of "pseudo-medieval-gorefest-with-wicca-on-the-side" wankery?
yes plz
kthxbye

Dave
--
\/David DeLaney posting from ***@vic.com "It's not the pot that grows the flower
It's not the clock that slows the hour The definition's plain for anyone to see
Love is all it takes to make a family" - R&P. VISUALIZE HAPPYNET VRbeable<BLINK>
http://www.vic.com/~dbd/ - net.legends FAQ & Magic / I WUV you in all CAPS! --K.
Brian M. Scott
2011-12-02 05:26:51 UTC
Permalink
On Thu, 01 Dec 2011 19:22:16 -0800, Don Bruder
<***@sonic.net> wrote in
<news:jb9g7p$r5j$***@dont-email.me> in rec.arts.sf.written:

[...]
(1) Far too much [wiccan spiritual blathering], if you ask
me, and getting steadily thicker and less palatable as it
goes along. And this is coming from a reader who has more
than a passing acquaintance with "The Craft". I can only
imagine how "whackazoid" anyone without at least a
passing familiarity with Wicca would consider it...
I can't see why anyone who reads a lot of fantasy would
consider it especially 'whackazoid' regardless of his or her
familiarity with Wicca.

In any case you're obviously not part of the intended
audience.

[...]

Brian
Dahak
2011-12-05 01:57:47 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, 2 Dec 2011 00:26:51 -0500, an orbiting mind-control laser made
Post by Brian M. Scott
I can't see why anyone who reads a lot of fantasy would
consider it especially 'whackazoid' regardless of his or her
familiarity with Wicca.
In any case you're obviously not part of the intended
audience.
I haven't read the series, other than IitSoT, but I've read bits &
pieces of the Emberverse books as I snippet them...

When I read a character who was /fourteen/ at the time of the
Change refer to the Ewoks from /The Return of the Jedi/ as 'little
furry Halfling men,' I pretty much screamed at my monitor.

Add to that, their - to me - annoying habit of bursting into song
at the drop of a hat.

It seems that I, too, am not the target audience.

-JPB
Brian M. Scott
2011-12-05 03:39:47 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 04 Dec 2011 20:57:47 -0500, Dahak
Post by Dahak
On Fri, 2 Dec 2011 00:26:51 -0500, an orbiting mind-control laser made
Post by Brian M. Scott
I can't see why anyone who reads a lot of fantasy would
consider it especially 'whackazoid' regardless of his or her
familiarity with Wicca.
In any case you're obviously not part of the intended
audience.
I haven't read the series, other than IitSoT, but I've
read bits & pieces of the Emberverse books as I snippet
them...
When I read a character who was /fourteen/ at the time of
the Change refer to the Ewoks from /The Return of the
Jedi/ as 'little furry Halfling men,' I pretty much
screamed at my monitor.
Why?

[...]

Brian
Dahak
2011-12-05 13:07:23 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 4 Dec 2011 22:39:47 -0500, an orbiting mind-control laser made
Post by Dahak
When I read a character who was /fourteen/ at the time of
the Change refer to the Ewoks from /The Return of the
Jedi/ as 'little furry Halfling men,' I pretty much
screamed at my monitor.
Why?
Because anyone of her age would have /at least/ known what she
would have been talking about at the word 'Ewok,' let alone have
likely seen the movie while growing up.

Yet nine years later, after apparently everyone's drunk the Wicca
Koolaid has to refer to 'Halflings.'

The quote in mind /does/ refer to 'the Emperor,' and the listeners
seem to been expected to get that (seemingly all-pervasive pre-Change)
pop-cultural reference, but felt the burning need to - ahem - change
the Ewoks to little woodland fairy-folk.

It broke, not only, my WSoD, by my threshold of WSoWTF.

-JPB
Brian M. Scott
2011-12-05 21:23:16 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 05 Dec 2011 08:07:23 -0500, Dahak
Post by Dahak
On Sun, 4 Dec 2011 22:39:47 -0500, an orbiting mind-control laser made
Post by Dahak
When I read a character who was /fourteen/ at the time of
the Change refer to the Ewoks from /The Return of the
Jedi/ as 'little furry Halfling men,' I pretty much
screamed at my monitor.
Why?
Because anyone of her age would have /at least/ known what
she would have been talking about at the word 'Ewok,' let
alone have likely seen the movie while growing up.
She's one of the Dúnedain. Their in-group language was
Sindarin. 'Halflings' here undoubtedly represents an actual
spoken <periain>, which seems a perfectly natural
substitution in a group that seems not to go in much for
code-switching.

[...]

Brian
Lynn McGuire
2011-12-05 04:08:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Don Bruder
I've been through the currently available books in the set (tho I
haven't yet waded into "Tears of the Sun" - it's on my "To get to soon"
Does anyone think it likely that he's ever going to get around to
addressing the key concern? Namely, the who? what? why? of "The Change"?
Or is the series going to continue to be little more than a
"post-apocalyptic medieval-style fights and politics with some (1)
wiccan spiritual blathering (in the obligatory fake scottish accent, of
course) thrown in for spice" wankfest?
He's repeatedly "bumped up against" the possible source/cause/reason of
"The Change", which, to me, is the absolute heart of the whole thing,
but he keeps shying away from actually DOING anything significant with
it - seemingly in favor of repeated (2) battles full of fairly graphic
descriptions of people and horses (3) being killed in various ways with
assorted sharp pointy things since bullets don't work anymore.
I've kept going so far in hopes that he'll actually get his act together
and at least *PRETEND* to explain "The Change", but with the end of the
series supposedly approaching (two more volumes planned, according to
the latest info I've seen) I'm beginning to wonder if he's actually
going to do something to pull it together, or if it's going to be the
literary equivalent of "LOST" - As in "What? The smoke monster?/Dharma
Initiative?/The Numbers?/The hatch?/The supply drops?/The logbooks
dumped in the middle of nowhere?/All those other interesting things we
brought up but never even tried to explain? Oh, never mind that stuff -
it wasn't important."
What say you, folks - Should I bother to continue with the set, or do
you think (as I'm beginning to) that "The Change" was nothing more than
an excuse to (very poorly) justify jumping off into a rather extended
bit of "pseudo-medieval-gorefest-with-wicca-on-the-side" wankery?
(1) Far too much, if you ask me, and getting steadily thicker and less
palatable as it goes along. And this is coming from a reader who has
more than a passing acquaintance with "The Craft". I can only imagine
how "whackazoid" anyone without at least a passing familiarity with
Wicca would consider it...
(2) And repeated, and repeated again, and then repeated once more,
apparently to make sure that any reader who managed to duck the first
three times gets splattered with at least SOME of it.
(3) Particularly horses - I'm beginning to wonder if he asked for a pony
in his youth, got it, then got thrown, kicked, bitten, or otherwise
traumatized by it, leading to a lifelong urge to cause them suffering -
As a horseman myself, it gets kind of "squicky" to watch him invent new
ways to make a horse suffer (and describe in detail how much the poor
beast is suffering, with a heavy stress on how it has no idea why it's
suffering) before somebody comes along and, after reciting some idiotic
variation of "So sorry, brother horse, here, let me help you finish
dying", shove a dirk into its ear/cut its throat/thrust a sward into its
heart/etc.
The real question is, is Stirling going reverse the
change ?

Lynn
Dimensional Traveler
2011-12-05 21:59:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lynn McGuire
The real question is, is Stirling going reverse the
change ?
I seriously doubt it.
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