©1984 John Varley; (P)2008 Audible
Increasing my ops tempo by allowing storytellers to whisper in my ear(buds).
My recollection from first reading the print version of DEMON is that it makes the first two volumes of the Gaea Trilogy pale in comparison. I read TITAN and WIZARD shortly after they were first released and was awe-struck. The immensity of the world-building that author John Varley engaged in had me completely immersed in the story. I wanted to visit Gaea. I could see Gaea’s panoramas in my head and wanted to hike all around the place, to witness the vistas for myself. Then it was a long four years wait before Varley released DEMON. At that time I re-read the first two and loved them even more than I did the first time; then I read DEMON and realized that the first two were just setting the stage for the main event. This trilogy starts out great and keeps getting better. After setting the stage in books one and two, DEMON delivers a spectacular climax.
The setting is one in which anything can happen because Gaea is so technologically advanced that her talents seem like magic, and what is more, Gaea is absolutely insane. Awesome power combined with capricious unpredictability is a recipe for a wild ride. This is high adventure on a grand scale. It is what classic Science Fiction is all about. Gosh, Wow! Sense of wonder! Grab the popcorn.
This novel has numerous cinematic and movie-making references. This is because John Varley is a movie buff. In the years in between WIZARD and DEMON Varley spent time working in Hollywood and became sorely disillusioned with the movie industry. His dissatisfaction manifests itself sarcastically all through this novel and it makes things very funny.
Allyson Johnson gives a superb performance. If you have read my reviews for TITAN and WIZARD you will know that I found much to be desired in Johnson’s vocalizations in those volumes. In the first novel I found Ms. Johnson’s reading to be an obstacle to be overcome before I could enjoy the book. In the second book I found her narration to be much improved and one that added to the experience. Now in John Varley’s third Gaea book I can honestly label Allyson Johnson’s effort as a true performance; more than a mere reading or competent narration. One of the qualities we look for in a novel is good character development. Well, over the course of this three-volume series we get to witness another dimension: narrator development. Allyson Johnson gets better and better. She made me laugh out loud with her characterization of the slurred speech of Luther. Her portrayal of the 50 foot tall Gaea with the Marilyn Monroe voice evokes images of the screen goddess Norma Jean herself. All the characters have their own distinct voices, and they are all really good. She manages the difficult task of rendering the male characters’ voices with her female instrument quite nicely. She brings a new dimension to this novel, which is already one of my favorites. Nicely done! Highly recommended.
And loved the entire series again in audio. The characters are compelling and the world of Gaea is inventive and the creatures Gaea made inspired by Earth movies are wonderful. The Titanides are centaurs with a complex reproductive system involving up to 4 parents and they are particularly appealing. They use the names of the Greek musical modes (Aeolian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian) coupled with the words "solo", "duet", "trio" or "quartet" to describe the number of parents the individual has, and the ways in which genetic material is transferred between them. They are also brightly colored with intricate patterns.
I never forgot the Titanides or the Blimps or Cirroco Jones from my early reading of the trilogy and it was great fun to relive the experience in the audio version.
In this final episode Cirocco Jones is at war with Gaea and her human movie studio contingent. It's my least favorite of the series and it's still a 5 star listen.
I'd read this series a long time ago. I saw that it was available here, and decided to hear it again. I enjoyed the experience. There's quite a thematic difference between the three novels, but there are many years between the events in each. There are a few graphic descriptions of sex, so if riding in a car while listening on your stereo...you may need to turn it down in spots. I thought the narrator, Allyson Johnson was very good. Her interpretation of the singing language worked for me, and some of some of the other characters were amazing, such as the horrific Luther.
I'm a politically conservative, technologically inclined, open-minded, all American citizen of this great terrestrial ball we call home. I keep my head in the clouds, I love Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels but I keep my feet on the ground, I stay informed on news and current events, and I love the fact that I can still form and express my own opinions in this great nation we call The Untied States.
I started from book one and followed through all the way to the end. The story kept my attention and I could not take the headphones off. A very good read!
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