Well there is one scene in this here book which bumps this book up a star and everybody who has read it will know exactly what I'm talking about. JustWell there is one scene in this here book which bumps this book up a star and everybody who has read it will know exactly what I'm talking about. Just think Melville......more
Great language in this book, a polyglot of English, French, and Indian languages and just the glory of the language of sea literature, which is a natuGreat language in this book, a polyglot of English, French, and Indian languages and just the glory of the language of sea literature, which is a natural mix of all the tongues of the world. Interesting history of the opium drug trade, by those most self-justifying drug dealers -- the British Empire (of which my own ancestors hail from, though I don't know how many of whom dealt drugs out of the back of their own sailing ships). The large cast of characters grew on me especially Deeti after her funeral and Neel after his fall. Indo-English man Doughty gets the award for the most blue Kipling language.
This isn't the complete the novel though, for that I'll have to wait for the next two of the projected triology. Sea of Poppies is the first deck of a Victorian-Indian triple decker. I kept thinking how goddamn slow this was going, not realizing that SofP is just the introduction. We don't get out to sea until page 360 (or something like). I will read on, but will probably wait until the full run is out because this is one story cut into three parts.
***Oh, reader warning: Ghosh does use truth with a capital 'T' but as far as I can tell he only did it once. (English majors and award panels might even like this sort of thing...)***...more
Mr. Poe is definitely messing with us on this one. It just gets odder and odder: cannibalism (don't pick the short splinter), racism (an evil black coMr. Poe is definitely messing with us on this one. It just gets odder and odder: cannibalism (don't pick the short splinter), racism (an evil black cook and the treacherous natives), and gotta have some being buried alive (twice if you include being trapped below decks). Some of the aping of explorers journals gets tired and a couple of the chapters are just non-fiction essay (which may be trickily mucked up by Poe, but I don't have the heart to check them). He may be using the forms of adventure, sea-lit and horror, with a little sf mixed in, but mostly this seems kinda of post-mod, done pre-mod. The white figure at the end of the story could be the white of the page, or a retreat into whiteness after all the 'evil blackness' of what came before. The final words of book may be Poe's message to the unaware reader, or perhaps a quote from some missing pages of the bible......more
It's a Huckleberry-Finn-steampunk adventure! But it isn't light-hearted fluff. The Hollow Earth: The Narrative of Mason Algiers Reynolds of Virginia mIt's a Huckleberry-Finn-steampunk adventure! But it isn't light-hearted fluff. The Hollow Earth: The Narrative of Mason Algiers Reynolds of Virginia may be light-hearted but it is also Southern Gothic sf with racism, rape, drug use and the generally dodgy characters that Rucker loves to fill his fiction with. And add to this historical characters, most especially Edgar Allen Poe and his marriage to Virginia, his thirteen year old cousin.
Like Poe's 1883 Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym which this book is an alternate retelling, Rucker puts the story forward as an manuscript written by another, in this case Mason Algiers Reynolds. Mason, a naive 15 year old Virginian farm boy at the beginning of the novel, who with his companion Otha (his slave) and his dog Arf, manages to get himself in a hell of a lot of trouble as soon as he ventures off his father's farm. On the run, he seeks employment with his favourite author who works at the Southern Literary Messenger.
Here is where Rucker strikes gold because this author, Edgar Allan Poe, better know as Eddie Poe, is not only a great writer. He also a drunk, drug addict, racist kook who is helping a friend outfit his expedition to Antarctica to prove John Cleves Symmes' (dubious even at the time) Hollow Earth theory. Rucker seems to specialize in these odd, disreputable characters who operate at the margins of society, so I take it with a grain of salt of how much of this is the historical Poe and how much of this is just how Rucker sees the world. Anyways it is great fun, a welcome change from the usual Heilien/Stephensonian/Strossian supermen. Rucker's dudes are fuck-ups, sometimes smart, always self-destructive.
Rucker's take on the Hollow Earth benefits from some equally kookie, if far more respected modern science via Einstein, and ends up being far more fantastical than Poe's more symbolic tale. As well, the haunted darkness of Poe's psychology is allowed to air here, in sort of an all-accepting hippie/70s California, 'we're not judging you, man' sort of way. Yeah, that defuses Poe's vexing power, but now we are in Rucker-land. Light up and enjoy dude. ...more
(A 2.5 review) Verne is an odd guy to write a sequel to Poe's The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. He's arguably the father of hard science fiction - a(A 2.5 review) Verne is an odd guy to write a sequel to Poe's The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. He's arguably the father of hard science fiction - a very prosaic/rational author to Poe's nightmare visions. The differing orientation is the chief source of disappoint for me: Pym's final vision is dismissed as a hallucination and replaced with a rational - quasi-scientific mystery. What Verne does give us is a well written 'men in extremis' story, with the usual tensions shipboard of the honourable officers against the craven lower seamen. Though the fate of Dirk Peters was just groan inducing. I liked 'the half-breed' Peters as a bastard in Poe far more than as a whinging loyal servant going on about "my poor Pym!"...more
Yup, a popsicle pirate. Unfortunately, this former best-seller hasn't weathered time as well as the pirate does (at first). Seaman Paul Rodney isn't aYup, a popsicle pirate. Unfortunately, this former best-seller hasn't weathered time as well as the pirate does (at first). Seaman Paul Rodney isn't a very interesting character (passive and priggish) and the book didn't really hold my interest. It takes ten or eleven chapters to get to the pirate and these are not chapters filled with exciting events. When we finally do get a defrosted pirate he's almost as boring as Rodney. The secret of a pirate book is to delight in the depravity of these rascals of the sea -- author William Clark Russel will have none of that. As for the resolution, well all I can say is freezer-burn isn't much of a plot device. The rest of the book is Rodney working out, in excessive detail how to get his booty home. For a pirate book there is a distressing lack of fun here.
I listened to this as a free download from Librivox (Well, I did skim listen some of the middle chapters.) There are multiple readers, but once I got past the first two chapters the volunteer narrators get better and it is read quite competently mostly by Barbara Derksen, though I think her French accent sort of drifts over into Russian -- all part of the charm of having regular people read....more
I think it is time one of us stopped, and I guess it will be me. I've loved the past collections, but this one feels like Millionaire is starting to gI think it is time one of us stopped, and I guess it will be me. I've loved the past collections, but this one feels like Millionaire is starting to go through the motions....more
I enjoy pulpy Michael Moorcock. I think his skill of writing stories that remind me of Robert E. Howard is a significant part of his enduring charm. TI enjoy pulpy Michael Moorcock. I think his skill of writing stories that remind me of Robert E. Howard is a significant part of his enduring charm. This is the start of a series rather than a stand-alone. I don't have a driving need to track down the rest of the books in the series but I did enjoy this one. This was more fun as a sea story (on ice) on its travels rather than the conclusion. Not to spoil the -- umm surprise -- but the resolution of one character was pretty under-cooked. ...more