mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli

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last night i had a wet dream; what am i, thirteen?

Flamesong by MAR Barker.

Okay, I'm now officially convinced that MAR Barker is an effing genius; this book was in fact pretty great. The quick version of a plot summary runs thus: a spoooooky subway ride! This is a Tékumel novel, which means it is set in one of the universes combining elements of Fantasy & Science-fiction, which is a genre that has really been growing on me since Gene Wolfe hit me in the face with The Book of the New Sun. The Tékumel novels really have more in common with Jack Vance & you can definately see the influence of its contemporary, the juggernaut known as Dungeons & Dragons. The simple twist to MAR Barker's series is that instead of cribbing from European mythology & history, he (a professor of South Asian studies) borrows from Mezoamerica & South Asia; not in a "generic orientalist feel" sort of way; not at all. He starts with the sturdy foundation of JRR Tolkien- linguistic. He's build the languages of the place & formed societies around that. None too shabby; in fact it leaves one with the easy feeling that his vast world is entirely plausible. From the hungry eyes of a world-builder, MAR Barker is a sterling model. This novel itself was good apart from that; better than The Man of Gold in many respects. I can't quite pin down why; maybe because the pacing was less start-&-stop, or perhaps jumping to less viewpoints helped focus the narrative. Maybe Trinesh was just more likable than Harsan, with his pragmatic moderatism & undefeatable attitude? Though I hope not the latter, as I know some of the latter books continue to focus on Harsan.
Tags: barker, books, dnd, tekumel

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