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Views from the Oldest House
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Views from the Oldest House

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  55 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Turner Ashenden is failing as a student in a college he despises. All around him are misfits, inept terrorists, and would-be philosophers. His only friend is a lunatic named Black Malachi Pantera, who spends his days seducing young coeds and ranting about Turner's heroic destiny.

But today, all that is going to change. Before sundown, Turner will discover the Bad Winters In
Mass Market Paperback, 496 pages
Published November 1st 1990 by Spectra (first published 1989)
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I read this one shortly after it was published, which was a long time ago, so I'm pretty fuzzy on the details. One thing that I remember finding incredibly appealing at the time was the notion that much of the world as we know it-- the institutions, governments and power structures we consider facts of life-- might just dissolve away, and actual flesh-and-blood people not be particularly worse off for it. This was very refreshing after a diet of mostly techno-utopian/anarcho-dystopian futures. A ...more

4 stars

In a world devastated by climate change, some institutions cling to life, among them a university in a valley isolated from the turmoil. Turner Ashenden, a nominal student, lives with Black Malachi Pantera, a preternaturally able (and lazy) fellow student, in a house part maze, part party. When the government pushes local landholders to accept more refugees, Turner is caught up in the ensuing struggle.

I don't really know what Views From the Oldest House is about. I
I gave up about a third of the way through. It just felt like work. As much as I read was impregnated with a vagueness. Vague, vague, vague. The character never seemed to know what was going on and neither did I.
There was also this second voice that would cut in once in a while, and nothing ever explained it's origins. I'll guess that one would find out eventually if they read the whole book but it's damn hard to care about a character that keeps interrupting the main characters thoughts withou
Self-indulgent stream of consciousness from the author. Stopped reading about 3/4 of the way through. The confused story line didn't appear to be going anywhere, and when I flipped through the last quarter of the book, it was clear that whole new characters and environments were taking over, abandoning the work done in the first 3 quarters. Overall impression is of author babbling on a mary jane high, thinking he is oh so intelligent. Just tiresome.
It took two tries to get through this one. Somehow the first time, it just didn't click. The second time, though, I was hooked. You have to be a little patient with Grant, whose intricate and oddball plots combined with his slightly ( or really) bizarre, but intriguing characters make it hard to dive right in, but boy, is it a worthwhile journey.
View from the Oldest House by Richard Grant (1989)
A challenging book, one which I think people will either love or hate, and perhaps an acquired taste. At times deliberately obtuse and meandering, it's nevertheless an interesting take on fantasy concepts. It took me three tries to finish but I found it very rewarding to reach the end. I feel it's very much worth a second look so I am going to reread this sometime, now that I know the overall structure, so that I can savor the details and come to a more complete understanding.
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Richard Grant is a science fiction and fantasy author.
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