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Night's Master  (Tales from the Flat Earth #1)
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Night's Master > NM: Symbology or reality?

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message 1: by John (Taloni) (last edited May 02, 2018 08:02AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 4272 comments In the intro thread someone took objection to a sex act early in the book on the grounds that the object was described as a son. When I got to that passage I saw that the person was described as several male relationships. It made me think more of a Jungian archetype of relationships than an actual one.

I am taking large chunks of this book as dream symbology rather than reality. First there's the location of the Demon realm underground. Then how time passes as it needs to for the story without affecting other events. For instance, the Drin works on the necklet for "many seasons" but no one seems older. The ship, pulled by something vast and unknown under the surface. The Mare that Sivesh rides collapses in the light of day. (Also, a night mare? Perhaps Lee didn't make the pun because it was so obvious.)

I don't know that we should be offended by the more extreme plot points because to me they are symbols rather than expressions of actuality.


message 2: by Rick (new)

Rick | 2929 comments It's written as mythology. It's real in the context of the fictional world, but that world is full of symbols in relation to ours.

On that particular objection - SFF people seem just as bound by cultural norms as others and it's always taken me aback that a fandom which has to accept aliens and other realities in order to even participate in the fictions we read is so unable to deal with things that don't conform to 21st century Western reality.

I'm not saying we should accept them in the sense of approving things but being unwilling to deal with the fact that our mores and attitudes are particular to us and really have no applicability in other realities is just odd for a fandom that seems OK with aliens, magic and the rest.


message 3: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 1251 comments John (Taloni) wrote: "In the intro thread someone took objection to a sex act early in the book on the grounds that the object was described as a son. When I got to that passage I saw that the person was described as se..."

I think I'm the person in the intro thread you're referring to. What I found objectionable about the scene wasn't so much the content itself (I mean it was pretty ew, but I've certainly read worse) but a) the way it came out of the blue; and b) the purple prose.

When it comes to that kind of extreme content, I think my reactions are influenced by the fact that I've read a lot of fanfic. By which I mean, fanfic often has some pretty weird/taboo stuff going on. However it's usually warned-for at the outset so you know what you're letting yourself in for and can mentally prepare. And the writing is almost never overblown. So that kind of stuff happening suddenly and with penetration described in terms of conquerors entering cities... ew ew ew. I just find it unreadable tbh.

As for the mythology/symbology thing... I guess I get what you're saying, but also... it's a fantasy book, so I already have some distance from it. The idea that I should be less squicked out by that scene because it's symbolic, not reality... too late! I already put the book down feeling queasy, and whenever I approach it, thinking I might give it another try, I feel queasy again.

tl;dr that scene grossed me out and framing it as dream symbolism doesn't make it feel any less gross.


message 4: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tassie Dave | 3676 comments Mod
The sex scenes aren't what irk me about this book. They are not that graphic or prolonged.

It's not even the dark, downbeat nature of the stories. I love a lot of grim dark books and I have read a lot of mythology that is darker than Lee's

I just don't like the overall style. It is at best meh :-? At worst just plain boring, and a chore to listen to.


message 5: by Phil (last edited May 02, 2018 01:05PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Phil | 1185 comments As a warning to others who are sensitive to books depicting such things, there are a few rapes and sexual assaults in this book. It can get rather disturbing.
I haven't put this in spoilers as it wouldn't work as a warning then.


Phil | 1185 comments Tassie Dave wrote: "The sex scenes aren't what irk me about this book. They are not that graphic or prolonged.

It's not even the dark, downbeat nature of the stories. I love a lot of grim dark books and I have read a..."


It is written in a poetic and "fable-like" style that I find alternately beautiful and tedious.


AndrewP (andrewca) | 2554 comments Anyone else think that N. K. Jemisin's The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms was influenced by this book? I can see quite a few similarities.


Anthony | 5 comments Ruth, I didn't really care much for that passage in the book either. However, it was short ( I think less than a page) and so far 40% into the book I haven't found any similar interactions.

Having said that, I do like the way this book is written. I love fables, mythology, and gods. But this book is slowly losing me. So far there seems no plot, except perhaps to explain the background of Azhrarn and his maliciousness.


message 9: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 1251 comments Anthony wrote: "Ruth, I didn't really care much for that passage in the book either. However, it was short ( I think less than a page) and so far 40% into the book I haven't found any similar interactions."

That's good to know, but I didn't really get on with the writing style in general so I think this is going to remain as one of my quickest Lems.

It's a shame because I haven't read any Tanith Lee before and I was looking forward to giving her a try - this experience has put me off!

I'm going to continue following the discussion though and - who knows - maybe something will rekindle my interest.


message 10: by Tina (new) - added it

Tina (javabird) | 725 comments Phil wrote: "As a warning to others who are sensitive to books depicting such things, there are a few rapes and sexual assaults in this book. It can get rather disturbing.
I haven't put this in spoilers as it ..."


Thank you for posting this.


Allison Hurd | 227 comments It is interesting, because I really like to be warned before reading this content (and often avoid rape altogether)... I think there were two things that really helped me to get through this book:

1. That it did feel so much like mythology, I was expecting it? Like, from the second a human was taken to the demon home I knew the shape of this story, so I could read it more as something understood and possibly desired than as exertion of influence.

2. That Tanith Lee, for me (and again, I have no judgments here on people who bounce off it, I get it!) reads like she never is doing something to shock me or to make me feel as vulnerable as the character. I feel like she's with me when she describes these things and then leads me through them to their conclusion, unpleasant or no. That lack of trying to do something to me, as reader, really goes a long way for me. I've read so many "fridges" and "lazy shorthand for bad person" that a bad person written honestly, not gleefully or laboriously, feels (again! for me!) less hurtful.


Matthew (masupert) | 215 comments AndrewP wrote: "Anyone else think that N. K. Jemisin's The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms was influenced by this book? I can see quite a few similarities."

Quite possibly. Has N.K. said she has read this book? The "world structure" and social interactions definitely gave off the same vibe to me.


message 13: by David H. (new) - added it

David H. (farrakut) Jemisin's Goodreads profile has "The Lords of Darkness" (which collects the first 3 Flat Earth tales) as read. She reviews it here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


Tasha So Jemisin says she liked them, but didn't love them. Is that enough to influence her work? I say yes, but maybe not wholly intentional.


message 15: by David H. (new) - added it

David H. (farrakut) I would hesitate to ascribe direct influence when Tanith Lee is not the only one who likely writes that way.


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