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Brust

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  • spark654@aol.com
    In a message dated 12/31/02 3:11:02 PM Eastern Standard Time, ... I read one of Brusts about a vampire, and it was over in about two hours. I have the
    Message 1 of 6 , Dec 31, 2002
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      In a message dated 12/31/02 3:11:02 PM Eastern Standard Time,
      mythsoc@yahoogroups.com writes:


      > > Can anyone think of any so far unnamed fantasy novels that take place in
      > > created worlds, written post-LOTR, that aren't Tolclones?
      >
      > The most complete I can think of can be found in Steven Brust's works,
      > beginning with _Jhereg_. His created world is "Adrilankha", in which Men
      > are a second-class, subject race, and the "elvish" race is emphatically
      > not like Tolkien's. Brust was my favorite writer for a time, but after a
      > while I tired of him, partly because his work (to borrow an expression
      > from Ursula LeGuin) is about one part Elfland and nineteen parts
      > Poughkeepsie.

      I read one of Brusts about a vampire, and it was over in about two hours. I
      have the opposite problem with this that some have with Jackson: Upon closing
      the book, I couldn't recall having read anything. But Brust has been
      suggested to me.

      Sparkdog


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Ernest S. Tomlinson
      ... This sounds like _Aygar_, a stand-alone novel. (I ve never read it.) The Taltos series (no relation to Ann Rice s book of the same name) runs thus:
      Message 2 of 6 , Dec 31, 2002
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        On Tue, 31 Dec 2002 15:19:25 EST, spark654@... said:

        > I read one of Brusts about a vampire, and it was over in about two hours.

        This sounds like _Aygar_, a stand-alone novel. (I've never read it.)
        The "Taltos" series (no relation to Ann Rice's book of the same name)
        runs thus: _Jhereg_, _Yendi_ (the worst of the series), _Teckla_,
        _Taltos_, _Phoenix_, _Athrya_ (the best), _Orca_, _Dragon_, _Issola_,
        with more to come. Brust also wrote a different series of novels in the
        same universe, novels which are more or less derived from Dumas's
        Musketeer novels.

        Cheers,

        Ernest.
        --
        Ernest S. Tomlinson
        thiophene@...
      • Joshua Kronengold
        ... I can t agree with this -- Brust is one of those gifted writers who writes the way he wants to for a given book, and does it well, rather than only having
        Message 3 of 6 , Jan 1, 2003
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          spark654@... writes:
          >> not like Tolkien's. Brust was my favorite writer for a time, but after a
          >> while I tired of him, partly because his work (to borrow an expression
          >> from Ursula LeGuin) is about one part Elfland and nineteen parts
          >> Poughkeepsie.

          I can't agree with this -- Brust is one of those gifted writers who
          writes the way he wants to for a given book, and does it well, rather
          than only having a single style. As someone once said about another
          gifted writer who writes fantasy in created worlds that aren't in any
          way tolkien clones, "Diana Wynne Jones does not write like Diana Wynne
          Jones."

          The -Vladamir Taltos- books are one part Elfland and 16 parts
          -Dasheil Hammet-, with nothing of (modern) Poughkeepsie, because that's what
          they're intended to be; some of the later books in that series have
          slightly different styles, but anyone accusing Brust of being a writer
          who can't manage to carry a voice may be missing the point.

          (The Phoenix Guards romances are one part Elfland and one part Dumas,
          and I'd say manage this consistently better than Dumas (or his
          translator) does, while _The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars_ is one part
          [Hungarian] Elfland, and one part modern artistic parable, with each
          in its own carefully labeled box)

          >I read one of Brusts about a vampire, and it was over in about two
          >hours.

          _Agyar_. It's very good, but intended for a mainstream audience, and
          does read very fast (though I still remember largish portions of the plot
          after one reading). I'd recommend the Phoenix Guards books for a more
          challenging read (and _S,tMatS_ for just a truly excellent, and
          Mythepoeic, novel)...though the Vlad books are excellent, especially
          taken as a whole [and do gain significantly with multiple readings,
          as Wolfe does, though Brust is much easier].


          --
          Joshua Kronengold (mneme@...) "I've been teaching |\ _,,,--,,_ ,)
          --^--him...to live, to breathe, to walk, to sample the /,`.-'`' -, ;-;;'
          /\\joy on each road, and the sorrow at each turning. |,4- ) )-,_ ) /\
          /-\\\I'm sorry if I kept him out too late"--Vlad Taltos '---''(_/--' (_/-'
        • Joshua Kronengold
          ... I couldn t agree that they are derived , though they are certainly written in homage to same. The Phoenix Guards romances are written in a style somewhat
          Message 4 of 6 , Jan 1, 2003
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            Ernest S. Tomlinson writes:
            >with more to come. Brust also wrote a different series of novels in the
            >same universe, novels which are more or less derived from Dumas's
            >Musketeer novels.

            I couldn't agree that they are "derived", though they are certainly
            written in homage to same. The Phoenix Guards romances are written in
            a style somewhat resembling that in which Dumas is usually translated
            [and Teresa Neilsen Hayden has a couple of essays on "How to Write
            like Paarfi" [the Dumas-anlogue who "wrote" the books] and "How to
            Write like Steven Brust" that are both entertaining and insightful in
            the afterword of the latest novel], with, like the Musketeer novels,
            an initial novel about four protagonists, followed by a book set
            roughly a generation later during a period of unrest, followed by a
            longer book set about half a generation later than that, large enough
            to be divided into multiple books (Vicomte de Bragelonne has been
            divided into 3, 4, or 5 novels; Brust elected to divide his _Vicomte
            of Adralanka_ into three, of which one has recently been published,
            and another due out this Spring).

            However, the plot, as much as it makes alusions to the Dumas, is
            original (and, in fact, provides a backstory, if a confusing one to
            the later Taltos novels); it is very clear that this is not (like the
            later Volsky novels, or the Pat Murphy _There and Back Again, by Max
            Merriwell_) a point by point retelling of another story in an
            unfamilar context; a device which, I confess, gets old for me at about
            one page in; as clever as the allusions sometimes are, they never even
            attempt to turn the books into a mere pastiche...for which I am very
            greatful.

            --
            Joshua Kronengold (mneme@...) "I've been teaching |\ _,,,--,,_ ,)
            --^--him...to live, to breathe, to walk, to sample the /,`.-'`' -, ;-;;'
            /\\joy on each road, and the sorrow at each turning. |,4- ) )-,_ ) /\
            /-\\\I'm sorry if I kept him out too late"--Vlad Taltos '---''(_/--' (_/-'
          • Ernest S. Tomlinson
            On Wed, 1 Jan 2003 23:55:54 -0600, Joshua Kronengold ... That s hardly what I am accusing Brust of (and, by the way, picking on Poughkeepsie
            Message 5 of 6 , Jan 5, 2003
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              On Wed, 1 Jan 2003 23:55:54 -0600, "Joshua Kronengold" <mneme@...>
              said:
              > spark654@... writes:
              > >> not like Tolkien's. Brust was my favorite writer for a time, but after a
              > >> while I tired of him, partly because his work (to borrow an expression
              > >> from Ursula LeGuin) is about one part Elfland and nineteen parts
              > >> Poughkeepsie.

              > The -Vladamir Taltos- books are one part Elfland and 16 parts
              > -Dasheil Hammet-, with nothing of (modern) Poughkeepsie, because that's
              > what
              > they're intended to be; some of the later books in that series have
              > slightly different styles, but anyone accusing Brust of being a writer
              > who can't manage to carry a voice may be missing the point.

              That's hardly what I am accusing Brust of (and, by the way, picking on
              "Poughkeepsie" is a little cheap; I was using LeGuin's famous words for
              effect, not so much for accuracy.) I don't agree that the Taltos books
              are very much like Dashiell (note spelling) Hammett's work, which despite
              their colloquial, pulpy style are still not anything as crudely
              contemporary as _Jhereg_ or _Yendi_. (Mario Puzo might be a closer
              comparison.)

              I think that Brust can carry a voice quite well.[*] I just don't like
              the voice any more.

              [*] I thought of one definite counterexample. In Orca, there's a scene
              where Kiera is trying to break into someone's office, disabling magical
              protections as she goes. The narrative, as I remember, switches rather
              suddenly from the no-nonsense, description fashion which we've come to
              expect from Kiera into some strange, allusive mode (I remember something
              about a spider?) which jarred me right out of the flow of the story with
              the heavy realization, "Oh, Brust is on about _magic_ again, isn't he?"
              But then, Brust has been rather ham-fisted at other times about
              describing magic, especially the "witchcraft" which Vlad practices; his
              passages recounting Vlad's spells read like the ludicrously earnest
              descriptions of "magick rituals" from New Age spell books, where we're
              supposed to be blown away by the mystery and awe of the whole affair of
              mumbling chants and lighting candles.

              > ...while _The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars_ is one part
              > [Hungarian] Elfland, and one part modern artistic parable, with each
              > in its own carefully labeled box)

              I thought _The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars_ (the only non-Adrilankhan
              Brust I've read, BTW, except for the collaborative _Freedom and
              Necessity_) was an interesting failure. The attempt to interweave
              Elfland with Poughkeepsie (I'm keeping at it, you see) failed because the
              Poughkeepsie story was ultimately not one I cared about; the narrator,
              especially, came across as a bit self-centered, pretentious, too
              self-consciously "Bohemian". Somewhere years ago, I think on
              rec.arts.sf.written, I learned the Eight Magic words that doom a story:
              "I Don't Care What Happens to These People." Once you find yourself
              uttering them while reading a story, the author has forever lost you.

              Cheers,

              Ernest.
              --
              Ernest S. Tomlinson
              thiophene@...
            • Joshua Kronengold
              ... So was I -- LeGuin s point was that most junk fantasy characters speak like modern people, with no voice whatsoever. I can understand not liking Brust s
              Message 6 of 6 , Jan 7, 2003
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                Ernest S. Tomlinson writes:
                >That's hardly what I am accusing Brust of (and, by the way, picking on
                >"Poughkeepsie" is a little cheap; I was using LeGuin's famous words for
                >effect, not so much for accuracy.)

                So was I -- LeGuin's point was that most junk fantasy characters speak
                like modern people, with no "voice" whatsoever. I can understand not
                liking Brust's voice in the Jhereg books...but isn't his own, and
                tarrign him with the same brush as Xanthony, Evans, Eddings, etc seems
                a bit cheap.

                >I don't agree that the Taltos books are very much like Dashiell (note
                >spelling) Hammett's work, which despite their colloquial, pulpy style
                >are still not anything as crudely contemporary as _Jhereg_ or
                >_Yendi_. (Mario Puzo might be a closer comparison.)

                Eh...possibly.

                >I think that Brust can carry a voice quite well.[*] I just don't like
                >the voice any more.

                That's fair enough.

                >[*] I thought of one definite counterexample. In Orca, there's a scene
                >where Kiera is trying to break into someone's office, disabling magical
                >protections as she goes.

                Hmm. This isn't really nearly as much of a failure of voice as you
                thought at the time, I think. [IIRC, we find out what this is on
                about in Issola or Dragon or some such].

                >describing magic, especially the "witchcraft" which Vlad practices; his
                >passages recounting Vlad's spells read like the ludicrously earnest
                >descriptions of "magick rituals" from New Age spell books,

                Vlad's voice does change into a very faerie tale [I wouldn't say
                they're much like, say, _Spiral Dance_, myself]-ish magic description
                when he's doing witchcraft...but IMO, this is intentional; witchcraft
                is as much about setting a mood as anything else, and is meant to be
                in contrast to the sorcery descriptions, which are like opening the
                fridge.


                >> ...while _The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars_ is one part
                >> [Hungarian] Elfland, and one part modern artistic parable, with each
                >> in its own carefully labeled box)
                >I thought _The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars_ (the only non-Adrilankhan
                >Brust I've read, BTW, except for the collaborative _Freedom and
                >Necessity_) was an interesting failure.

                I disagree, and liked it even better on a more recent second reading
                than a first -- I thought the narrator being a bit too full of himself
                earlier in the narrative was one of the things that made it work.

                But this is a matter of taste, really.

                >"I Don't Care What Happens to These People." Once you find yourself
                >uttering them while reading a story, the author has forever lost you.

                Not -always-, though it's hard to get you back once it's come up.

                --
                Joshua Kronengold (mneme@...) "I've been teaching |\ _,,,--,,_ ,)
                --^--him...to live, to breathe, to walk, to sample the /,`.-'`' -, ;-;;'
                /\\joy on each road, and the sorrow at each turning. |,4- ) )-,_ ) /\
                /-\\\I'm sorry if I kept him out too late"--Vlad Taltos '---''(_/--' (_/-'
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