You know a writer's great when he has the ability to change the way you think about the world. Borges' mathematical interpretation of cosmology branchYou know a writer's great when he has the ability to change the way you think about the world. Borges' mathematical interpretation of cosmology branches off in several directions with all the stories he writes. Some are set in the real world, but most are set in fantasy worlds, where the narrator might appear to be talking about our world at first, instead of his own.
Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius left me speechless. Imagine a world of immaterial things- only the thoughts and ideas of geniuses, with no actions whatsoever. It's like a representation of what the afterlife might look like on the Mental Plane of metaphyisical philosophy.
The Circular Ruins is like the idea behind The NeverEnding Story - that our creator is imagining (or dreaming) us into existence, while we in turn dream him (or others) into existence.
The Lottery of Babylon suggests that the creator of the world leaves everything up to chance; that everything that happens, even something as insignificant as a grain of sand landing on a beach, is the result of a lottery number drawn from an infinite number of others.
The Library of Babel also plays with the idea of infinite possibilities. It suggests that the narrator's universe is made up of an infinite number of rooms where books can be arranged in an infinite number of letters. I sure wouldn't want the daunting task of doing research in that library!
The idea behind The Garden of Forking Paths probably makes the most sense out of all of them. It says that time is an infinite fractal of constantly diverging paths; that everything that has happened and could possibly happen exists in our universe and ones parallel to it. This seems to predict some of the new multiverse theories in cosmological physics, though I don't think he ever studied it.
Borges was a straight up genius. Even though his stories are fast-paced, he leaves enough on the table for you to understand, though not always completely!...more
Simply incredible. Valente has created an original blend of moving prose, surreal fantasy, and religious adventure. Her mythological sorcery is enhancSimply incredible. Valente has created an original blend of moving prose, surreal fantasy, and religious adventure. Her mythological sorcery is enhanced by some very profound writing. She is an instant favorite....more
I’ll start by saying that Pryan is another fascinating, otherworldly planet, unique in scope like Arianus in Dragon Wing and Aberrach in Fire Sea .I’ll start by saying that Pryan is another fascinating, otherworldly planet, unique in scope like Arianus in Dragon Wing and Aberrach in Fire Sea . The planet is turned inside out, meaning its surface is on the inside and subjected to constant daylight by four “stars” centered at the core. Naturally, this creates a planetary greenhouse effect, which causes the jungle-laden surface to sprout mega trees the size of continents.
Elven Star is also interesting for its diverse cast of species & characters. Elves, dwarves, humans, giants, dragons, and one kooky wizard bring balance to a story loaded with contrasting personalities. The thing that really enhances this book, at least for me, is the coupling of forbidden romance with raw, apocalyptic adventure. Not to mention the well placed comic relief; there’s no shortage of wisecrack humor and dramatic hysterics. The unstable relationships between Alethea & Roland; the dragon and Zinfab; Roland & Rega; the dwarf and pretty much everyone; Zinfab and pretty much everyone; Haplo and pretty much everyone, is the chaos one might expect after centuries of racial instability yields to the sudden unification of a global alliance, much like in Lord Of The Rings .
It has it’s moral perks and immoral downfalls as well: from the breaking of race barriers to betrayal and abandonment (Haplo, you dick!). Don’t let the first hundred pages of character development turn you off, or the fact that it’s far different from Dragon Wing . The action & drama comes at you in full force for the remainder of the book. Once the giants invade the land it’s an unrelenting page turner. One of the most intense passages I've ever read was when the giants first rumbled onto the pages- when Paithan and Rega were trapped on that enormous mushroom....more
A little too much Douglas Adams and not enough Clive Barker. It's funny, but over-the-top randomness is a turn-off for me. The City Of Dreaming BooksA little too much Douglas Adams and not enough Clive Barker. It's funny, but over-the-top randomness is a turn-off for me. The City Of Dreaming Books is more subdued in that department (though not by much), and it also has something resembling a plot. First timers to Walter Moers should start with that book, not this jumble of aimless wandering. The creativity factor earned it an extra star, but other than that there's not much going for it....more
This is a great start to what appears to be a phenomenal fantasy series. On Arianus a storm of political discontent makes life interesting for an assaThis is a great start to what appears to be a phenomenal fantasy series. On Arianus a storm of political discontent makes life interesting for an assassin, an abandoned prince, two estranged magicians, and a revolutionary dwarf. Arianus, the world of air, is every bit as wondrous as Abarrach in Fire Sea. With floating continents of coralite, a deep-core maelstrom, an icy firmament, arrogant elves, repressed dwarves, and flying dragons, this book did not disappoint. Trust me, this isn't your typical medieval-based fantasy; it's complex, multi-dimensional, otherworldly, has mysterious characters, and the plots are perfectly paced....more
It’s alive I tell you, alive! Everything in this book is alive, and even the book itself might be as well, possessed by the Orm and all the astral dusIt’s alive I tell you, alive! Everything in this book is alive, and even the book itself might be as well, possessed by the Orm and all the astral dust in between Earth and Bookholm. Moers conjures up a vast catalog of species and settings in this metafiction-fantasy, that is mostly set in the catacombs below a city of readers and writers. Some parts in this book are unforgettable- like the trombomusic, the trash dump, the crystal caves, and the mine-shaft “rollercoaster”, which might be the most intense segment of any book I’ve read this year. For fans of adventure don’t let the metafiction dissuade you; after 100 pages the wild journey begins, a journey that left me scratching my head in between the epic, often horrifying dangers that lurk beneath Bookholm's dark, mysterious caverns. I’m quite certain that fans of the Abarat series by Clive Barker will love this to pieces. They are very similar in the factors of genre, style, and outlandish creativity. So if you love Abarat , read this!...more
Magma, necromancy, magic, giant dragons, massive subterranean caverns, armies of the dead... this book is pure awesome. I picked it up not knowing itMagma, necromancy, magic, giant dragons, massive subterranean caverns, armies of the dead... this book is pure awesome. I picked it up not knowing it was the third in a series, but it didn't matter because the concept is easy to gather. Humans, on evolving after desecrating planet Earth, split into factions of species with supernatural powers, and inhabited various planets distinguished by the four elements. Each book in the series is set on a different planet (Fire Sea is set on a planet representing the Earth element), and if any of the other planets are as interesting as this one then this is going to be one of my favorite series ever! ...more