54 years old, blue collar worker, I like imported beer, when it is not hay fever season. Favorite authors; Card, King, Hobb, Koontz, Clarke, Iggulden, Silverberg, Michener, Krakauer
Years ago, while reading an anthology I came across "The Signaller" by Keith Roberts. This was over ten years ago and the story has haunted me every since. I had never heard of KR, but I did find a old book called "Kite World" by KR. I never got around to reading it, but I will listen to it since I can get on audible. Gaimen recommended this book, so I went with it first. To my surprise "The Signaller" ended up being the second story in this book. It was still just as haunting.
This is a book of short stories or novellas. The First two "The Lady Margaret" and " The Signaller" are five star stories. Roberts prose is beautiful and very descriptive. I usually don't like descriptive type books, but Roberts is so good at it, that he puts you right into the story. When he talks about a cold night with a full moon in the sky, you shiver, even if you are reading the book on a beach in July. He gives the best description of the death of a loved one I have ever heard. When someone you love dies, it is like the pulling of a thread from your life.
Why, only three stars? The five stories that remain are not near as good as the first two, matter of fact it was painful to get through them. The prose was not as good, the stories not as compelling, they sucked.
Warning: Roberts does not believe in happy endings and he will break your heart.
This is not steampunk, but kind of a precursor to steampunk.
In trying to figure out if this is worth buying, let me say figure on getting about 2 and half hours of really good writing and the rest you may want to skip.
The mysterious nature of the interwoven stories. The characters.
That it didn't solve everything. I so enjoyed it, I bought it for my father on his Kindle. We can discuss it together.
The semaphore communication system is intriguing. We communicate around the world from our smart phone on twitter.... the semaphores reminded me of what life used to be like. slower, methodical, somewhat limited, somewhat less frenetic.
yes. I ended up saving it at times... telling myself, "you can listen to the book again, after you've done this dreaded thing that you're avoiding." Then I'd hurriedly do the dreaded thing so I could return to the story.
Yet, I wanted to rest between chapters/stories as well. To let their philosophy sink in. To mourn some of the characters, or what I'd learned about the time perios.
So very glad that it's been reissued. I would not have discovered it unless I saw Neil Gaiman Presents' list of his favorite books to re-issue.
An alternate history of 20th century England, where giant semaphore towers are the main means of communication. The book is divided into six "measures" and a coda. It took me a while to get into it, but overall I enjoyed it.
Audio performances are about the only way I can find the time to take in a book, but around the third story I realized the prose was so lush, so magnificent, it demanded I read it myself. It's a dry, dark world Roberts creates, but when he cranks his descriptive engine to full, I sit back in awe. Were I to passively listen I could only take in a fraction of its beauty. Don't get me wrong, the performance is excellent. Just understand, this is the most beloved book from a writer's writer. I started it while driving and eventually turned it off when I realized I couldn't give it the attention it deserved and stay on the highway. Buy this performance, but don't be surprised if you find yourself buying it in print as well. I bought two copies so I could give one as a gift.
I've listened to hundreds of audio books, but this is the first I've heard him read. Gaiman describes this as a book that touched him deeply, and Crossley's performance had to have pleased him. The characters were rendered with care and surprising depth. The man is damned good at his job!
Never read anything like it. Thanks Neil for turning us on to it.
I would recommend to all sci-fi fans - really great way to keep your brain working on different levels.
Coda put a great spin o things...
I both laughed and cried - at different points of the story
Perhaps having read it when I was younger? The theme has been done by others with better results.
Nah - one bad apple....
The part where he's talking.
Well, I'm sure the physical book would make a pretty good door stop.
Really disappointed, it came well recomended.
I felt raped after reading these dark and utterly horrible stories. I am stunned that Gaiman would recommend these and wish I could wash the filfth out of my mind.