My apologies, I wrote my review on book 2 and meant it to be on book 1!
I read a lot of SciFi and this book was a good listen. The narrat..Show More »ors voice was a bit difficult for me at first, but once I got used to her, she was actually a very good story teller. The book was written in 1979, so some of the themes are quite dated (The Soviet Union for example), however while dated, it was an entertaining read. I have just purchased the second book and will be listening to it right after I finish Neil Gaiman's latest book.
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 ..Show More »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.
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 TI..Show More »TAN 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.