Larry Niven told me that if I read "Fleet of Worlds" and "Fate of Worlds" all my questions about Puppeteers would be answered - and then he changed the subject. That made me laugh so and I came up with another question about something else and he answered that one. This was about 6 years ago. I didn't much care for "Ringworld's Children," and "Fleet of Worlds" was awkward. Niven and Lerner wrap up many of the Tales of Known Space here, take a couple of subtle pokes at society along the way, and there is pretty much all the Puppeteer Action you could want. I finally got my answers, they just had to travel at sub-light speed to get to me or something... (About the same length of time New Horizons is taking to get to Pluto/Charon.) It was worth the wait. I have to give the book a 5 star rating for story because Mr. Niven gave us an ending to a story that unfolded along a road with many forks. I had forgotten about some of the characters and knowing what happened to them, "In the end" was satisfying. Niven cares about his fans, and this book shows it. It is also less awkward then the last collaborations I have read. This book flows very nicely and is full of action and surprises. Again, thank you Larry for giving us a conclusion.
The Vampire Chronicles spans 38 (Real Life) years now. I read borrowed copies of “Interview With The Vampire” and “The Vampire Lestat” (which ended in a cliff-hanger) then waited what seemed like an eternity for “Queen of the Damned.” I read that novel, and the ten subsequent novels and the related Mayfair Witches novels as they were released. After Blood Canticle, I did not expect to ever meet my old fictional fiend-friends again.
This is the 13th book in the Vampire Chronicles. It is written in mixed 1st Person, and 3rd Person Narration, with Lestat primarily written in First person. It flows together very nicely and I did not initially even notice the change in narration Point of View. I was impressed by this. Often changing of points of view in this fashion jolts me out of the story, and in “Prince Lestat” that only happened once, and only for a few paragraphs. This is not a flaw in the book. I learned something new to me about writing that I need to study further.
There is noticeable product placement in “Prince Lestat.” Good for Ms. Rice. It isn’t done in a heavy handed way, and in this case (as apposed to some best selling novels where the product placement often is so blatant it seems more important then story,) using product brands enhances the story. This is modern age “Patronage.” Marius would approve. Celebrity Endorsements are more difficult for writers then musicians. The one issued that Ms. Rice doesn’t face with use of brand names is dating the story. Dating the story actually an enhancement when writing about the angst of immortal creatures.
Simon Vance did an amazing job reading this book. He got to warm up reading the long awaited unabridged version of “Memnoch the Devil.” Bravo Mr. Vance! Lestat’s accent comes and goes, French to American, or a Fusion of both. This was well done and realistic. Marius’ accent must have been a challenge. I would have made his spoken voice more languid and detached, however that is just my personal take on the character. This is also not a flaw. I’m looking forward to hearing him read “Memnoch,” but I’ll wait a weeks or so before taking that journey again.
I enjoyed every single word of “Prince Lestat.” There were several passages that moved me very deeply. I suspect other readers fill also find bits of their own mortal life’s journey reflected in this novel. If one has read all the preceding books, I believe you will find this 13th a welcome reunion with old friends. To me it felt like, “Putting on my old leather jacket once again, as Winter cold approaches.”
I do not recommend starting with this novel. If you haven’t read the preceding novels, I suggest that you go back and read “Interview With The Vampire,” “The Vampire Lestat,” and “The Queen of the Damned” before (if you really have to) skipping ahead to “Prince Lestat.” The reader will get the most out of this 13th book by reading all of them in order, as well as “The Witching Hour,” “Lasher,” “Merrick,” “Blackwood Farm” and “Blood Canticle.” I thought until recently that “Blood Canticle” was the end of the story. It most certainly is NOT.
This is bad writing, Overly verbose, and often words are mis-used. Michael Kramer tries hard, but there is no way I can get past the quality of the prose, the poor use of point of view, modern slang, Adjective and adverb overload, and no back story to explain all the invented fantasy words and sudden superpowers.... There is a story here, but I am surprised anyone would publish it. It is just plain bad work. I may be pickier then others, some might not care about these issues. I do, enough to review it and lose 1 credit. I would otherwise return this manuscript (as the publisher should have.)
This prequel to “Mariners” is the story of a Slaver and one of his Earth Barbarian captures. We learn of secrets and conspiracy before the sailing of the Great Ship With No Eyes. Duel Narrated. I enjoyed this book very much and I didn’t expect to. It contains information that will make events in “Rebels” much clearer, but does not resolve any mysteries. We do learn more of the Panther Girls in the Northern Forests, some of whom we first met in “Hunters.”
Told by an Earth Girl Slave, we once again meet Lady Bina and Lord Grendel. I read a really negative review of this book. I think it is very enjoyable. The author seems to have regained his sense of humor, and the story is engaging and well told.
This is the first part of two novels, Renegades and Vagabonds. Renegades was not available in audio for a while and I skipped both, having read them years ago, and went on with "Magicians." Once I was caught up with Tarl's adventures in "Mariners," I went back and bought "Renegades" and then listened to them in the right order. I believe the author insisted that they be released unedited and there are some really distasteful Rape comments, (particualarly on in Vagabonds about 15 hours in) that just were not appropriate (my strong opinion) in a work of Fiction. I suspect this is what got him in trouble, cost him his publisher, and ended up in a blacklisting and lecture tour on censorship. I don't think it is Censorship, just editing. This is fiction, and some of the retorical digressions are not even in character. Any editor would have redlined them. I'd have refused to publish Vagabonds with the rape on EARTH passage in it. (It is otherwise a great book.) Just yell "I am quite aware of that..." or "Shut Up!" and ignore these passages. Tarl's journey through Ar's Station, the Vosk Delta, and onward is a turning point in his life and the story is well worth your time. This is a good story and should be read in the right order. Don't go on to Magicians unless you have read this book, and Vagabonds.
Our Narrator is not Tarl Cabot here, but Tarl is very much present in this story. This is a return to what I expect of a Gor Novel, thorns and all. I loved it, I loved the different narrator, and understand why it was necessary. Comments on the story would all be spoilers,but Tarl Cabot ends going on a grand adventure to the Ends of the World. Enjoy.
This book is badly written and though popular, I gave up and do not intend to finish it. I've read all this before, nothing new, and the writing can't possibly have gotten past any serious editor. It may get better, but I will never know. There are so many good books, and this, in my opinion, is just a re-hash of other people's ideas. Try Nancy Collins if you want to read this done well.
Vagabonds and Renegades are dependent on each other and Renegades was not released until recently in Audio Form. Both should be read before Magicians. These books are the true turning point in the story and with out both it would be hard to continue reading the story.
In which Tarl Cabot learns much of the Kurii and obtains a Kajira and a sleen.
Wow, so much story, so little rhetoric. One does not need to read “Prize of Gor” to enjoy this book. I can’t review “Kur” very well without spoilers so I’ll just do brief “book jacket teaser”
Kur of Gor, in which we hear a tale told by an unknown, probably Kur, narrator: Tarl Cabot runs afoul of agents of the Priest Kings who have outlawed him for his rescue of Half-Ear the Kur War General in the Gorean North. As is expected of those who once shared Paga, the favor is returned and Tarl learns much of the Kurii, obtains a slave, a sleen, makes friends, and has many grand adventures.
The narration style is coherent, not head-hopping 1st to 3rd confusion like “Prize,” and justified because Tarl could not have written this story down. The “Narrator” allows Tarl to tell most of the story in his usual style, but he tells the story and influences it with his viewpoint. It does occasionally cross the line where the Narrator knows what Tarl is thinking, something he could not know, but it is done well enough that it doesn’t bother me at all.
“Kur” is mostly adventure, and a real delight. This was written in 2009 long after the blacklisting issue was behind the author. He returns to his main character in all his introspective, brooding self-analysis, and introduces many new characters and ideas.
NOTE: He does attempt, rather stumblingly in my opinion, to address the RAPE issues in “Prize.” In his (via Tarl) own words, “One can not refute nonsense.“ He fails to make any real rhetorical point but does not re-offend and drops the subject much to my relief. I’m apposed to censorship. “Prize” must stand as it is, but one does not need to read it to continue. “Prize” can be skipped or skimmed if you have hard copy or one can jump from chapter to chapter in the audio book. It is torture and other then buying a copy to own the entire series, there is nothing to recommend one bother with it at all. If you skip “Prize,” and I recommend that you do, the issues one needs to know are hardly spoilers. I suggest that one skip listening to Prize and continue with this book, but buying “Prize” to complete the set would not be a mistake. If you are going to read “Prize,” please DO NOT READ the final paragraph.
“Kur of Gor” is a return to Tarl Cabot’s adventures, well written, and with more adventure then rhetoric. I really enjoyed it. *Stop Here if you are going to read “Prize of Gor.”
***** Not Spoilers, but if you are going to read “Prize of Gor” you may want to stop reading here. **************************************************************
We learn in “Prize” that: The Priest Kings are once again active and in control of their technology. The Delta Brigade continues their partisan operations in Ar with little assistance from the “Large Peasant with Amnesia.” They have begun to attempt to use financial leverage on the Mercenaries who compose a great deal of Cos’ forces occupying Ar. Janice is happy and living in Ar. A Kajira is still masquerading as Ubara. There are Kurii now involving themselves with the Cos/Ar conflict on Gor.
If this angry book is the reason that John Norman got blacklisted then it makes a little more sense to me. The Author is a highly educated man, a career educator, and this is a badly written book. The English/Gorean translation style goes out the window. Essays are spliced in. There are sections of narration repeated almost verbatim all through the book.
In a couple books, Tarl deals with the concept of Rape as it applies to Slave Girls. It is difficult to read, but marginally possible to rationalize. It would be something he would have to try and come to grips with, and he does so very awkwardly. In this book Rape and Gang Rape are treated as a sexual acts as apposed to a crime of violence. Even if the author wanted those scenes in the book, as acts of violence, a fade to black would have been appropriate. Rape was used as a weapon of war on in reality, particularly in WWII. But that does not seem to be the reason here. It just happens and it made me ill. This author KNOWS that rape is a crime of violence, and rape by strangers, gang rape by strangers is not something I want to read about. There is no excuse for this, Norman knows better, and he crossed the line here in a big way. There are logical errors, plot holes, characters acting in a way that is so unusual that it is hard to suspend one’s disbelief. The protagonist is so unpredictable that she comes across to me as being completely insane. It is impossible to care about her, and her dialog regresses, contradicts, and sometimes makes no sense at all.
I would not have published this book. It would have been not be censorship, it would be refusing to sell a defective product to a consumer who has waited a long time to find out what happens next. We don’t. It can’t be re-edited, it is a hopeless waste of words. This book consists of 30 hours of dialog, and perhaps 3 short scenes that are interesting, and perhaps 3 pages worth of advancement of the story line. It is an angry, badly written diatribe. I would love to write a synopsis of the plot so nobody has to plod through this mess. It would consist of no more then 4 paragraphs, that is all there was in 30 hours of non stop rambling that mattered. The characters argue about sex while being chased by enemy troops. The new characters are almost identical, it is hard to tell any of them apart, and their motivations are never made clear. The author has published his own papers under his real name. That is the appropriate way to do what he attempts to do here. He contradicts himself, makes actual factual errors in biology, changes narration styles randomly, and for the first time, some Gorean men are portrayed as borderline psychopathic sadists. Love, usually a common theme is derided and treated as an unimportant superficial issue. There is no soul to this book, just vitriol. There are virtually no LIKABLE characters, and the highlight of the book is a visit by Janice from Witness. If Kur of Gor is like this, I’m done with the series. I don’t think it will be. If you decide to read this book, feel free to scream “Feed her to Sleen!” I did about 50 times.
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