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Group Reads Discussions 2010 > "Magic of Recluce" Final Thoughts *spoil away*

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Brad (judekyle) | 1640 comments I had such big plans for many different topics this month (if anyone is interested to continue the discussion after the offical end date, I will be more than happy to add those topics too), but a major computer meltdown that sent my gear packing to the manufacturer kept me out of the discussion all month. Apologies to everyone, especially you Mr. Modesitt, for my absence.

Since there are only a couple of days left I thought (and I am back) I thought this was a good time to toss out the "final thoughts" thread. So, whattay'all got?


message 2: by Kim, The Zinoviev (new)

Kim (shirezu) | 674 comments Mod
It was a good book that could have been greater. It was let down by annoying sound effects and a strange writing style that at times made the reader feel lost which I don't think is ever good in a book.

But it was good enough that at some stage I will pick up the rest of the series.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Kim pretty much said exactly what I was going to say.

Except I'm not sure if I'll be picking up the rest of the series anytime soon, if at all.


Brad (judekyle) | 1640 comments I was sucked in enough to pick up the next book, myself. It's funny, even though I was the one who brought up the sound effects they didn't bother me that much. But there was enough going on for me to want to jump into another book and see where it's going.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

I recall looking into getting the next book, but read somewhere that you're supposed to go by publication date and not chronological order. So, I went to see which one would be 'next' but...

I saw something shiny and completely forgot what I was doing...


Brad (judekyle) | 1640 comments Hahaha! Hilarious. "I saw something shiny ..."! I say that all the time.


Martin (mafrid) | 37 comments Ala wrote: "I recall looking into getting the next book, but read somewhere that you're supposed to go by publication date and not chronological order. So, I went to see which one would be 'next' but..."

I can see no reason why they should be read in accordance with publication date.
As an example The Death of Chaos is a direct continuation of The Magic of Recluce, with the same characters and with the story continuing where the previous book left off. The Magic of Recluce is the first one published, while The Death of Chaos is the fifth published.
So why should I have to read the three books in between before finding out what happens next (chronologically speaking)?


Jon (jonmoss) | 892 comments I read them in publication order because, well, I was waiting for them to be published so I could read them. :)

I enjoyed the books between Magic and Death which provided troves of history and world building and more insight on the Order/Chaos Balance.


Martin (mafrid) | 37 comments Jon wrote: "I read them in publication order because, well, I was waiting for them to be published so I could read them. :)

I enjoyed the books between Magic and Death which provided troves of history and wo..."


I've been in the same situation myself for some time, as I love Modesitt's Fantasy line. But the question was if there is a reason to read the three books (The Towers of the Sunset, The Magic Engineer and The Order War) in between Magic and Death, rather than before or after you read Magic and Death in sequence.

Actually looking up books 2-4 on Wikipedia the following was written before the publication order; "These are listed in order of publication: the author has insisted that this is the appropriate reading order".
Surfing Modesitt's official website and fan forums this seems to be fairly common knowledge, but I've failed to find a reason as to why. Does anyone know why?


message 10: by L.E. (last edited Nov 30, 2010 07:01AM) (new)

L.E. Modesitt | 49 comments I never "insisted" that the Recluce Saga be read in publication order. I suggested that it be done so because I felt it gave a better introduction to the world, but I've also said that, for those readers who need to read in chronological order, that doing so is fine. I have strongly suggested that, while every book is essentially a stand-alone, it is better to read the first book about any given character before the second one.


Charlotte (Charlotte-) | 41 comments Enjoyed the book, but not as much as other fantasy series, and I am disappointed that it is next to last in the series chronologically. I like following a set of characters as well as a theme / plot line. Prequels are for filling in some of the detail about the characters and/or how the "world" got to where it was. I may get around to reading The Death of Chaos, but was not sufficiently enchanted to plunge right into it.

I found the transition from Lerris being bored (which was getting boring!) to being, virtually, an order master rather abrupt. Somehow there should have been a bit more introspection about that. I don't think the motivation for him being sent out so young was ever particularly well explained either. Was there a plan? Was he expected to confront Antonin? Did Justen know he was coming? Why would sending him away so young be penance for his father? Somehow both finding out you are a wizard and being trained on the job does not seem to be the best way to approach the kind of power he had! Did the staff somehow have some power that "taught" him what to do at the appropriate time? Obviously I guess, but was this a power that his father etc. could count on to get him through? somehow it just does not seem reasonable that someone with his obvious abilities would be just thrown into the world to sink or swim.


Martin (mafrid) | 37 comments L.E. wrote: "I never "insisted" that the Recluce Saga be read in publication order."
Thank you for the clarification and it's just another proof that you can't trust everything that's on wikipedia.org (Wikipedia link). It's a good tool, but you can never trust it completely.

Charlotte wrote: "..I don't think the motivation for him being sent out so young was ever particularly well explained either. Was there a plan? Was he expected to confront Antonin? Did Justen know he was coming? Why would sending him away so young be penance for his father?.."
Your many questions is an indication that you should try to find the time to read The Death of Chaos before too long.
It will have the answer to at least some of your questions. :-)


Brad (judekyle) | 1640 comments I didn't share your frustration with Lerris' movement to order master, Charlotte, but I can see your point.

I was personally convinced that everything he was doing was his training, and that was good enough for me. The woodworking and bringing order to the lives around him with respect gave him control of the power that I think was probably inherent in him. I was planning on reading The Towers of Sunset next, but I may wait on that and do Death of Chaos as you suggest Martin.


Charlotte (Charlotte-) | 41 comments Actually I did consider moving on to Death of Chaos last night when I finished Magic of Recluce, but it is not available from Amazon for kindle, and as I am one of those rabid converts.... Is there an ebook version anywhere?

Yes, I agree that almost everything in the book did constitute training / learning, but there comes a point when he begins acting with more confidence, and stops being bored, and I thought there could have been more introspection about that, and whether he had become an order master, which everyone treats him as by the end of the book. Perhaps that is part of the reason for reading Death of Chaos.


Charlotte (Charlotte-) | 41 comments Trying to find a kindle version of Death of Chaos - seems to be available for every other major reader, as of last March/April, but not kindle, although 10 of the Recluce books are available - what gives L.E.?


message 16: by L.E. (last edited Nov 30, 2010 01:41PM) (new)

L.E. Modesitt | 49 comments It's not the cost of converting them, but the time and space for people. It's fairly easy to convert a book that is already in one ebook format into another. Unfortunately,a number of older books are not available in convertible format [why I don't know, except that it's so, and Tor wishes very badly that it were not so, because they'd make a lot more money right now if such versions were available],and that means that older books have to be scanned and proofed. That takes 10-20 person hours per book, which doesn't sound like all that much until you figure that the books of mine that aren't converted yet represent something like a month and a half of work for one person, and my output is less than one percent of Tor's backlist. If the books of other Tor authors are unconverted in the same proportion as mine are, Tor is facing 12-15 person years of conversion... and possibly a lot more, since some authors' older works aren't available at all. While they've opened a new office to do this, they have neither time nor space to accomplish this immediately.

The other problem is that publishers have known for years that ebooks would be the "wave of the future." The problem is that they didn't know when that wave would hit, and spending money on turning everything into ebooks for year after year, while waiting, has a negative impact on profits. E-books "hit" this year. Just this year, in one month, I sold more ebooks of just one "Imager" book than the TOTAL of all my books in ebook format at that time [roughly 25]had sold in the past ten years.

Over that time, publishers made the ebooks of best-sellers and other strong sellers generally available, although they did have the habit of only making the first few books in a series available in many cases, but it made no sense to the accountants to spend money on creating e-books that sold at most a few hundred copies [outside of a VERY few exceptions]. Now that everyone has discovered ebooks and e-readers, there's a hue and cry about non-availability,and everyone can gripe, but publishing is a low profit margin business and always has been, and to expect publishers to incur costs that resulted in only a few hundred or a few thousand extra sales a year, and for them to do so year after year... waiting... made no sense.

Now... ebooks make economic sense, and the publishers are scrambling to catch up.

As for the reason for delaying ebook sales on hardcover best-sellers... the profit margin is much higher on hard-covers than ebooks [as are the royalties to authors], and some publishers aren't exactly keen on cutting those profits. What I find interesting is that no one complained that the paperback versions of hardcovers came out a year later. So why is everyone complaining when the ebook versions come out later?

Anyway... I've tried to address the questions raised, as best I can.


L.E. Modesitt | 49 comments When a Kindle version of a book comes out is up to Amazon, not to Tor, although its much easier if Tor has the book available in electronic format.


Charlotte (Charlotte-) | 41 comments You do keep up with your comments L.E.! My gripe comment wasn't there for very long before I deleted it! Thank you for the detailed commentary in any case.

The reason that the gripes were not there for hardcover before was that it was not a huge difference in format - I have never liked the hardcover & find them poor quality and therefore resented the extra cost, but stores like Chapters always reduce the price in any case so that was never a big issue. And cost is not the issue with new releases for ebooks, it is the format - conversion to ebooks as a reading format is very immediate! I would be quite willing to pay a premium for a new release of an ebook if the print format release is only in hardcover & then, as with hardcover, have the choice of paying the premium or waiting for the price to come down, presumably at the same time as the paperback is released.

Still very odd that Tor has not released Death of Chaos for kindle when they have released so many of your other books, and it is available for all the other major readers. Maybe someone goofed?


message 19: by L.E. (last edited Nov 30, 2010 04:14PM) (new)

L.E. Modesitt | 49 comments I've made an inquiry of my editors, and we'll see what Tor has to say about when Death of Chaos will be available in Kindle/ebook format.


Charlotte (Charlotte-) | 41 comments L.E. wrote: "I've made an inquiry of my editors, and we'll see what Tor has to say about when Death of Chaos will be available in Kindle/ebook format."

Thank you!


Martin (mafrid) | 37 comments L.E. wrote: "...E-books "hit" this year. Just this year, in one month, I sold more ebooks of just one "Imager" book than the TOTAL of all my books in ebook format at that time [roughly 25]had sold in the past ten years..."

Thank you, Mr Modesitt, for offering an author's view into the publishing business and the conversion to ebooks.
I was a bit unhappy to learn that the author royalties are higher for hard-covers, or rather the opposite - that they are lower for paperbacks and ebooks.
The last ten years or so I've tried to avoid hardcovers as they are heavier to read and bulkier to store I've mainly bought paperbacks, both based on the physical format as well as I could get more books for the same amount of money. As I'm careful enough when reading they are durable enough to be reread several times without falling apart. I'm also likely to move to an ereader, when they have the capabilities I need.
I can only hope that the increased amount of books I could buy will compensate for the loss of royalty per book.


L.E. Modesitt | 49 comments Charlotte -- and others:

I've just heard back from Tor, and they tell me that The Death of Chaos has been made available in all formats. Tor is checking to see why Amazon doesn't list it as available in Kindle format.


Charlotte (Charlotte-) | 41 comments L.E. wrote: "Charlotte -- and others:

I've just heard back from Tor, and they tell me that The Death of Chaos has been made available in all formats. Tor is checking to see why Amazon doesn't list it as ava..."


Thanks L.E. I actually ended up downloading it from Kobo onto my Samsung Captivate smartphone, 4" screen - would not want to do all my reading on it, but an ok experience! And I really do have it with me everywhere!


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Books mentioned in this topic

The Magic of Recluce (other topics)
The Death of Chaos (other topics)
The Towers of the Sunset (other topics)
The Order War (other topics)
The Magic Engineer (other topics)
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