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Re: [mythsoc] Paul Park

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  • David Bratman
    ... Wasn t it? Most fictional worlds that (within the fiction) are more real than ours seem to feel distinctly less real. Actually, most fictional worlds
    Message 1 of 8 , Sep 25, 2006
      At 02:03 PM 9/24/2006 -0500, David Emerson wrote:

      >His setting up our world to be an invention of the other world was
      >definitely not a cliche.

      Wasn't it? Most fictional worlds that (within the fiction) are "more real"
      than ours seem to feel distinctly less real. Actually, most fictional
      worlds seem less real than ours, but when the author uses this set-up it
      really brings it out. E.R. Eddison almost got away with it in "A Fish
      Dinner in Memison", purely by stylization, but Roger Zelazny certainly
      didn't with Amber. How would you measure Park's achievement against those?

      David Bratman
    • alexeik@aol.com
      ... From: emerdavid@peoplepc.com To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Sent: Sun, 24 Sep 2006 3:03 PM Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Paul Park ... I don t need every book I read
      Message 2 of 8 , Sep 25, 2006
        -----Original Message-----
        From: emerdavid@...
        To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Sun, 24 Sep 2006 3:03 PM
        Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Paul Park


        > It's not a fast-paced read...

        I don't need every book I read to be the kind I can't put down, but at the very
        least I need for there to be enough happening for me to want to pick it back up
        again later. I found myself very bored with the slow pace, and wishing I could
        have been his editor so I could have told him, "Leave this out, skip this,
        condense this, go away and don't come back until you can fit it all in one
        book."
        <<
        Well, different readers have different expectations, and there may be something about an individual
        reader's initial response to a book that will create expectations inappropriate to the kind of book it
        is. In my case, I was intrigued by the story right from the beginning, so I had no trouble being drawn
        into it, and I actually enjoyed the slow place because it prolonged the many mysteries of the plot,
        while constantly providing new material to consider.

        <<>...Park, while not very prolific, is one of the
        >foremost stylists in sf & fantasy to emerge in the last decade or so.

        What about his writing makes you consider him so? I didn't see anything out of
        the ordinary in his prose style, so are you talking about characters and plot?
        Or something else I'm missing?>>
        Park's writing is economical but very precise: he has a good sense of the _mot juste_. The style manages to
        be
        concise and rich at the same time (no *padding* there at all, unlike most commercial fantasy).
        And careful use of language, of course, enhances characterisation
        and plot. Both, in this book, are very complex. I enjoyed the way he foreshadows coming developments in
        subtle ways, and the way every layer of complexity that is explained reveals another layer beneath it that
        is just as complex and mysterious.

        <<> I thought the world-building
        >was superior (an alternate-history leading to a world much like ours on the
        surface, yet startingly
        >different in some unexpected ways).I also liked the fascinatingly complex
        villains, who have weaknesses with
        >which one can almost sympathise.

        I agree with both of those points. His setting up our world to be an invention
        of the other world was definitely not a cliche. And I appreciated his showing
        the antagonists (one can't really call them villains) as having complex emotions
        about their own actions.>>
        I think "villains" is the appropriate word for them because, even though they have complex motivations and
        serious doubts about their actions, their actual decisions strongly tend to be evil.
        One should point out that there's also a genuine mythopoeic dimension to Park's story, as well as
        a serious consideration of moral and spiritual issues that is quite Inklings-like. The subcreation of our
        world by the other world places an evident moral burden on those responsible for it. Park is also very
        good at showing how the practice of magic can be exhilarating and spiritually dangerous at the same time.
        I thought the episodes set in the Land of the Dead were quite moving. It may also become significant to
        the plot that the heroine's family is one of the few influential Christian families in the other world
        (where Christianity never achieved dominant status).
        Alexei

        emerdavid

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      • alexeik@aol.com
        ... From: dbratman@earthlink.net To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Sent: Mon, 25 Sep 2006 1:10 PM Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Paul Park ... Wasn t it? Most fictional
        Message 3 of 8 , Sep 25, 2006
          -----Original Message-----
          From: dbratman@...
          To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Mon, 25 Sep 2006 1:10 PM
          Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Paul Park


          At 02:03 PM 9/24/2006 -0500, David Emerson wrote:

          >His setting up our world to be an invention of the other world was
          >definitely not a cliche.

          Wasn't it? Most fictional worlds that (within the fiction) are "more real"
          than ours seem to feel distinctly less real. Actually, most fictional
          worlds seem less real than ours, but when the author uses this set-up it
          really brings it out. E.R. Eddison almost got away with it in "A Fish
          Dinner in Memison", purely by stylization, but Roger Zelazny certainly
          didn't with Amber. How would you measure Park's achievement against those?

          David Bratman
          <<
          It's hard to measure, because the two worlds (one being essentially modeled on the other, with a few
          tactical changes) are so intimately entwined that a lot of things we take for granted feel like they can
          be assumed about the other world as well, until the plot surprises us by showing us otherwise.
          _A Fish Dinner in Memison_ is actually a pretty good parallel, although there's no resemblance between
          the plots.
          Alexei






          The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
          Yahoo! Groups Links







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        • Diane Joy Baker
          Wondered if it was worth a look. Am currently reading *Paradox* by John Meaney. Anyone else seen? ... From: David Emerson To:
          Message 4 of 8 , Sep 27, 2006
            Wondered if it was worth a look. Am currently reading *Paradox* by John
            Meaney. Anyone else seen?

            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "David Emerson" <emerdavid@...>
            To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Friday, September 22, 2006 7:10 PM
            Subject: [mythsoc] Paul Park


            > I've been slogging through A PRINCESS OF ROUMANIA by Paul Park -- has
            anybody here read it? I found it interesting in places, although I felt it
            dragged badly. Then when I was about 2/3 of the way through I found out
            it's not a self-contained novel. Apparently the complete story is going to
            take 3 or 4 books to tell. I gave up.
            >
            > If anyone on this list has any positive opinions about it, I'd be glad to
            hear them.
            >
            > emerdavid
            >
            > ________________________________________
            > PeoplePC Online
            > A better way to Internet
            > http://www.peoplepc.com
            >
            >
            > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
            > Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
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          • Diane Joy Baker
            OK, Alexei, you ve persuaded me. Will take a look. ---djb ... From: To: Sent: Saturday, September 23, 2006 6:12
            Message 5 of 8 , Sep 27, 2006
              OK, Alexei, you've persuaded me. Will take a look. ---djb
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: <alexeik@...>
              To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Saturday, September 23, 2006 6:12 PM
              Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Paul Park


              >
              > -----Original Message-----
              > From: emerdavid@...
              > To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
              > Sent: Fri, 22 Sep 2006 7:10 PM
              > Subject: [mythsoc] Paul Park
              >
              > I've been slogging through A PRINCESS OF ROUMANIA by Paul Park -- has
              anybody
              > here read it? I found it interesting in places, although I felt it
              dragged
              > badly. Then when I was about 2/3 of the way through I found out it's not
              a
              > self-contained novel. Apparently the complete story is going to take 3 or
              4
              > books to tell. I gave up.
              >
              > If anyone on this list has any positive opinions about it, I'd be glad to
              hear
              > them.
              >
              > emerdavid
              >
              > <<
              >
              >
              >
              > I found it brilliant. I understand that the whole story is to be a
              trilogy: the second book, _The Tourmaline_,
              >
              > has been out for a while now, and the third book will be called _The White
              Tyger_.
              >
              > It's not a fast-paced read, but it's meticulously written (Park, while
              not very prolific, is one of the
              >
              > foremost stylists in sf & fantasy to emerge in the last decade or so). It
              begins rather like a typical y/a
              >
              > novel (American teenager discovers she's secretly someone important from
              another world, and goes on an
              >
              > adventurous quest to that world, accompanied by some sidekicks), but it
              soon becomes obvious that Park is
              >
              > only playing with this trope, and he quickly takes it into uncharted
              territory. I thought the world-building
              >
              > was superior (an alternate-history leading to a world much like ours on
              the surface, yet startingly
              >
              > different in some unexpected ways).I also liked the fascinatingly complex
              villains, who have weaknesses with
              >
              > which one can almost sympathise.
              >
              > Alexei
              >
              >
              > ________________________________________________________________________
              > Check out the new AOL. Most comprehensive set of free safety and security
              tools, free access to millions of high-quality videos from across the web,
              free AOL Mail and more.
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
              >
              >
              > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
              > Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > --
              > Internal Virus Database is out-of-date.
              > Checked by AVG Free Edition.
              > Version: 7.1.405 / Virus Database: 268.12.3/447 - Release Date: 9/13/2006
              >
              >
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