©1979 John Varley; (P)2008 Audible
Look for my review of MORE OF THE BEST OF SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY. I have worked up a table of contents for the stories.
After the introduction that is the novel TITAN this second volume in the trilogy widens the scope of the story into a vast playground. WIZARD lets us foray into the inner workings of the living artificial world that calls herself Gaea. She is insane, and that is the basis for all the fun. In this volume we learn the true lay of the land through what amounts to a travelogue of the wheel. There is much that much be laid out and put in place before we can feel we know our way around the place. This necessary tour sets the stage for the main event. This story unfolds and we are allowed to see the nature of the conflict that is brewing; never mind that it is a struggle that Gaea has carefully orchestrated to suit her sense of celluloid drama, she is, after all, crazy. When reading this for the first time I felt the ever widening sense of wonder that I had come to love from Science Fiction, and even now, twenty-five years later, I still enjoy this story for that amazing rollicking appreciation of strangeness. Varley has invented a scenario where almost anything can happen and still remain in the preview of Science Fiction. The being Gaea is so significantly advanced in her technology for her works to seem like magic. This is a fun book and a grand adventure on its own. But when you are done with this one realize that the next one, DEMON, escalates the conflict to Hollywood Epic proportions. I labeled TITAN the prolog. WIZARD can be thought of as the introduction. DEMON will be the main text. Let the games begin.
Allyson Johnson’s effort here is much more satisfying than in the previous book. Thankfully there are many more characters in this novel for her to explore her vocal range. She manages to cast her voice in a deeper tone much of the time which suits me better for long hours of listening. I liked how she assigned different accents to the various Titanides. The character with the French name carries a French accent. I liked it.
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 second part of the trilogy Cirocco is falling from grace after living for decades on Gaea and she's not as appealing as a drunken wizard but the world of Gaea is always fascinating and worth the trip.
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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