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Dies the Fire (Emberverse, #1)
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March Discussions > Dies The Fire - March 2013

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message 1: by Clay (new) - added it

Clay | 126 comments Yes, I know that we were supposed to start this one yesterday, but I actually started a couple of days ago...and I have to say, I am now done. I just could not get past the first chapter. Nothing reached out and grabbed me and said "continue reading".

Sad, really, because I was expecting to like it since I loved this author's Draka books.

Nothing really hooked me in and, in my experience, if I have to struggle through the first chapter, I won't make it very much further.


message 2: by Kenny (new)

Kenny Chaffin (kennychaffin) | 96 comments I was wondering that myself as I don't see the result/selection readily available.


message 3: by Clay (last edited Mar 15, 2013 09:25AM) (new) - added it

Clay | 126 comments This is the book listed here in the group (SciFi and Fantasy eBook Club > books > sf-monthly-selection - link below) as the March SF book selection. (or look on the front page of the group, under currently reading/upcoming, and click on "more upcoming books..." (and if you are looking at the polls, it is Poll #11 ended on 01/08/2013)

http://www.goodreads.com/group/booksh...


message 4: by Clay (new) - added it

Clay | 126 comments I don't think I was a member yet while those polls were up. The theme was Post-Apocalyptic. I would have nominated Hiero's Journey by Sterling E. Lanier
Hiero's Journey by Sterling E. Lanier


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

I've read Stirling's Dies the Fire numerous times - the last time over the past Christmas and I'm really not certain how many times I've read it.

I really like it and I know there are those who really can't get into it at all.

The story really focuses on three different groups and how they manage to survive when the laws of physics change and our advanced technology ceases to work. They are the MacKenzies, the Bearkillers and The Portland Protectorate and they are very different groups each based around a single charismatic leader.

I enjoy his portrayal of the collapse of society with the emergence of apocalyptic goodie like cannibals, disease and mass starvation. The mass die off in the book is portrayed well. Also, his battles are well written. He can certainly write a good battle scene.

I've seen criticism around the amount of Wicca this and Middle Earth that in the story and also criticism that the survivors have a large number of members with cool, useful hobbies like archery, blacksmithing and the like. Well, I guess there is a lot of Wicca in the book and there loads of hobbyists and none of that bothers me. I find it amusing the foundations he uses to base the surviving communities in this book as well as the entire trilogy. It's no less strange than the survivoring groups in The Stand or Lucifer's Hammer. I find them colorful in a fun way.


message 6: by Charles (new)

Charles (nogdog) I read the sample and found myself too busy questioning the main plot premise and how it could be explained in any manner other than extreme Deus ex machina (is this supposed to be sci-fi or fantasy -- I don't recall), plus I got the feeling that what appear to be the 2 main characters were not going to sit too well with me.

So for now I'm saving money, waiting to see if I'm swayed by any of you to part with my hard-earned (?) cash.


message 7: by Clay (new) - added it

Clay | 126 comments Geoffrey wrote: "I've seen criticism around the amount of Wicca this and Middle Earth that in the story and also criticism that the survivors have a large number of members with cool, useful hobbies like archery, blacksmithing and the like. Well, I guess there is a lot of Wicca in the book and there loads of hobbyists and none of that bothers me...."

Being Wiccan myself, that part would not have bothered me. LOL


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

I read the book almost six years ago. The premise is a little flaky and implausible, but the author takes a sold stance on what people could do afterwards if such an event did occur. It still put me off a bit, giving the book a heavy fantasy flavor. I think mostly the author wanted people to play with swords again and have the SCA be relavant to a society. I did correctly guess they'd eventually use (view spoiler). I can't remember if there were (view spoiler) or not.

As for the numerous Wiccans, well, Portland and Seattle probably have a higher percentage of them than the rest of the county except maybe California. Portland is also the most bicycle friendly city in the country. It's a weird place; not bad weird, just weird.

I tried reading the second book, but gave up after a chapter.


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

The Fantasy elements really come out in the next series set 25 years after the Change when a group sets off across North America to find Nantucket ....


message 10: by Kenny (new)

Kenny Chaffin (kennychaffin) | 96 comments Greg wrote: "I read the book almost six years ago. ...."


Yeah, but what I want to know is how you put that "Spoiler Thing" in ?


Frank Hofer | 34 comments I read Dies the Fire because I really enjoyed his Nantucket series - Island in the Sea of Time Against the Tide of Years and On the Oceans of Eternity. Dies the Fire is what happens when the Nantucket event occurs so I thought I would enjoy it.

Dies the Fire manages to cram 100 pages of plot in to 500 pages of novel. I got really annoyed with the constant Wicca references. I get it, they're Wiccan. Move on. He'd go on for pages with descriptions that did nothing to advance the plot.

I actually read several of the books in the series because I kept hoping to find out what caused the Nantucket event. I gave up because I started getting really annoyed as the book moved more and more in to fantasy. The series overall is a disappointment.


Donna (donnahr) Kenny wrote: "Yeah, but what I want to know is how you put that "Spoiler Thing" in ?"

Kenny, spoilers are hidden by < spoiler>text< /spoiler> Just don't put a space between the bracket and the word spoiler.


I finished the book today. Here's my review (nothing very spoiler-ish):

"I almost gave up on this one but stuck with it and it finally grew on me. I like this type of story, seeing how people deal with the post apocalyptic world. I didn't like that not only was there no explanation of what caused the Change, it actually altered the laws of physics. That seemed such a weak way to set up the conditions the author wanted, i.e., a world with technology of the Middle Ages and no ability to develop anything else.

The thing that kept making me cringe was how the post-Change world was absolutely littered with people who were experts at Middle Ages technology. Both of the main groups keep picking up everybody they need, a farrier, a cooper, a bowyer for cryin' out loud...it just went on and on. Yes, they had to fight some really bad guys, but in the development of their new society, there was really very little hardship and almost no mistakes.

I did like the characters and the way they pulled together to re-make their world. The story was interesting and half way through, when most of the improbable coincidences were over, I got pulled into it and enjoyed the rest of the book. I like that the ending felt finished, no cliffhanger. I don't think I'll continue with the series."

One thing I like about stories like this is they make me think about what it would be like. I really appreciate that my husband (who doesn't read SciFi or Fantasy) is willing to take it in stride and then have a meaningful discussion when out of nowhere, I come out with questions like "So, if the s*** hit the fan, do you think you could ever eat anybody?" or "If we were starving, do you think you could kill our friends for their food?"


message 13: by Kenny (new)

Kenny Chaffin (kennychaffin) | 96 comments Thanks Donna!


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

Donna wrote: " I come out with questions like "So, if the s*** hit the fan, do you think you could ever eat anybody?" or "If we were starving, do you think you could kill our friends for their food?" "

Around the time I read this book, my wife fretted about the Peak Oil Doomsayers' imminent collapse of civilization, and I used a few themes and ideas from this novel. I remember a point when some character said there would be three classes of people after the Change (or Peak Oil Doom): Ruling Elite, Warriors, and Farmer\Tradesmen serfs (slaves). She believed we'd all become peaceful subsistence farmers; I countered that it would be more war-like as in this book. And, more to the point, if forced to choose between subsistence farming or cannibalism, I'd probably go outhouse rat crazy and fricassee our neighbors children. Yum! Bwhahaha!


message 15: by Kenny (new)

Kenny Chaffin (kennychaffin) | 96 comments Yes, when everything changes, people's true natures come out. :)


Donna (donnahr) One thing that I think this book did get right was that the cities would implode and then the survivors would start looking at the countryside with its farms. You might think you would be lucky to live on a farm but I think you would be taken out by the first band of marauders that happened by or if the bad guys were a bit smarter, you be enslaved.

This reminds me that I'm looking forward to Season 3 of Falling Skies this summer. I've enjoyed its take on the post-alien-invasion world.


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

Donna wrote: " You might think you would be lucky to live on a farm but I think you would be taken out by the first band of marauders that happened by or if the bad guys were a bit smarter, you be enslaved...."

Not only that, but it takes a certain knowhow and temperament to live on a farm. When my wife was in the height of her Peak Oil Doom fears, we looked at a small farm for sale with house, barn, workhouse, and second dwelling on about an acre of land. The neighbors had cows. Walking around the property line, I noticed a lot of wood rot on some of the fencing. I said that would have to be replaced. The real estate agent said that was the sort of thing new owners are supposed to do for themselves. I don't have any clue how to replace fence posts. I know I'd be cussing myself hoarse if I tried. I'd be in the masses who'd die early if civilization ever crashed and burned.

I also agree that Stirling did give his characters too many out of the ordinary skills to survive well.


message 18: by Sandy (last edited Mar 21, 2013 09:02PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sandy Lu | 1 comments I really enjoyed this book and will be continuing the series ;)

Some of the things that kept me entranced:
A strong female lead written from a very feminine PoV. In fact, it was often difficult for me to believe the author is male!
The Wiccan rituals were amazing and a refreshing change from Christianity. The Gaelic was annoying since I couldn't figure out how to pronounce it but the translations were helpful for meaning.
Following three major groups transitioned a bit awkwardly at times; yet the different points of view created a richly woven story.

I kept searching for the "science fiction" or "fantasy" part of the book; I guess the Change itself is the only element and that made the novel seem more like plain fiction to me.

Very fun read and I'll be finishing this trilogy and reading the Nantucket trilogy as well.

Greg, you're right that farming is HARD! I grew up on a small (20 cows) dairy farm and we all worked 16 hours a day. I still don't know how my dad accomplished it all and there was always more upkeep than one family could possibly maintian. Like you, I really appreciate city life!

Wow! just found out I have 8 more books to go in the Emberverse!! Fun times ;D


message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

The first 3 are about the Change and the eventual war with the Portland Protectorate Association.

The next 7 are set 25 years later as Juniper's son and his companions cross North America along with a war with religious zealots from Montana. I've been reading this series for 9 years now and the last book finally comes out this September. :)


message 20: by Kenny (new)

Kenny Chaffin (kennychaffin) | 96 comments So slightly faster that George RR Martin's writing schedule. :D :D ;D


Frank Hofer | 34 comments Geoffrey wrote: "The first 3 are about the Change and the eventual war with the Portland Protectorate Association.

The next 7 are set 25 years later as Juniper's son and his companions cross North America along..."


Dies the Fire is a companion piece to his Nantucket series - Island in the Sea of Time Against the Tide of Years and On the Oceans of Eternity. IMHO, the Nantucket series was far superior to this one. Much less hand waving and more interesting plots.


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