Award-winning author, narrator, and screenwriter Neil Gaiman personally selected this book, and, using the tools of the Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX), cast the narrator and produced this work for his audiobook label, Neil Gaiman Presents.
A few words from Neil on Pavane: "When Old Earth Books told me they are reissuing Pavane, which was originally published in 1968, I told them: 'I read one story from Pavane when I was nine, and it scarred me…. I read the whole book as a teenager and learned where that story had come from, and the shape of the whole story and I felt the scars heal….' Pavane was Keith Roberts' masterpiece: profound and still remarkable."
Considered Keith Roberts' masterwork, this novel consists of linked short stories (six measures and a coda) of a 20th century in which the Roman Catholic Church controls the Western world, and has done so since Queen Elizabeth of England was assassinated in 1588. The Protestant Reformation never happened, and the world is kept in a Dark Age of steam-power transportation, with no allowance for electrical power, by a tyrannical Rome. Pavane shows the harshness of life in this society and details the generational struggle for independence by the citizens of Dorset, England. It's through this series of moving tales that Roberts interweaves a discussion of Destiny and History that take the book out of the ordinary. And the author's great love of his native country makes this the most English of novels, and one of the finest in fantastic literature.
To hear more from Neil Gaiman on Pavane, click here, or listen to the introduction at the beginning of the book itself.
©1968 Keith Roberts (P)2011 Wildside Press LLC
I agree with many that Keith Roberts’ writing was excellent and that he has a very good literary style. Unfortunately, the story or plot itself is very, very boring and I don’t feel it was worth a credit or worth reading.
There are several stories in the novel that Roberts’ attempts to interrelate. The first story was interesting and the second wasn’t bad. After that, I kept reading hoping that the plot would then develop with the next story and that it would get even better. No such luck. It was downhill all the way after story two. I would not recommend the novel, Pavane.
The narrator, Steven Crossley, was excellent.
This is a story that unfolds slowly, with no dramatic event(s) at the end of every chapter as is so common in modern pulp fiction. I enjoyed it very much; but then, I enjoy John LeCarre novels - work that some find ploding. It is not Baldacci. (Whose writings I enjoy but would not need or want to reread). The meaning of the word 'pavane' well sums the development of the story.
Pavane is much better characterized as alternative history than science fiction. There are no gizmos that don't exist in today's world. But ... there is a bit of fantasy.
PS I use the term "pulp fiction" in the best sense. Hawthorne and Dafoe were pulp fiction writers of their time.
Listen to this.
In Pavane, Keith Roberts painted in beautiful, bittersweet detail complicated characters in a complex world that could, but mercifully does not, exist.
Eleanor. Kudos to Steven Crossley.
Come now to a place that never was.
Until such time as human struggles are not defined by religious beliefs, this will remain an important, groundbreaking work of fiction.
I'm a web developer based out of Sacramento, I listen to books while I work, and love audible.
A very interesting classes Sci-Fi/Fantasy short story collection all set in an alternate history. I'm not going to go into the plot as others have already done this.
The stories are all loosely connected in one way or another. And I found some to be a lot better than the others, I personally thought the last story was the best of the lot. They are all well written, it's just that one tends to enjoy some stories over others.
A recommended read for all fans of Sci-Fi.
Increasing my ops tempo by allowing storytellers to whisper in my ear(buds).
This is a series of connected stories set in an alternate universe where the Protestant Reformation never happened. It is a biting critique of the Roman Catholic Church (RCC), but has the ring of truth. The excesses and abuse of power , let alone ecclesiastical authority, are well known and this is an extrapolation of actual history. The surprise here is that the characters come alive in your ear. Their actions, motivated by unrequited love or honor, are authentic. This would benefit from multiple listenings. .This novel will help make the case that Science Fiction can deal with grand themes as well as any book I can think of.
Steven Crossley give a fine performance. His portrayal of the many female characters is well played and his tone for the males is always clear; every character getting his own voice, instantly recognizable. His skill is very much evident here.
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.
I heard this as a Neil Gaiman presents production. Fell right into the alternate world with a real appreciation for the basis in factual history that underlies the fiction. I highly recommend it.
The story of those charged with running the signal towers stands out for its backstory and intricate imagining of the craft and skill involved in this guild.
Certainly the premise of a hidebound Catholicism resonates. The inquisition chapter is suitably harrowing with its relentless logic applied. But the later parts devolved into warfare and while told well, after a while, this palled by so much action in so little a space. It felt repetitious and diffused.
I liked the eerie fate of the girl on the beach. I still am puzzled over it.
As it was nine hours, I could not. It is better a chapter at a time, as told from different points of view and different narrative perspectives.
As with many alternate histories, stronger in the set-up than the delivery. Still, one of the better of its ilk. A clever idea and a reminder of the power of ideologies to control or not keep control of a land.
The author does a wonderful job telling this big story through several excellent, connected short stories. Really excellent.
I read this very shortly after it came out and rediscovered the paperback a few years ago. Was delighted to see it in an audio version and wasn't disappointed. I'm generally not a fan of "alternative" universes, but this one works. Loved it
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