Wednesday, January 30, 2008


New Review

Robert over at Fantasy Book Critic has reviewed The Dragon's Nine Sons, and seems to have liked it:
"...the fact that Mr. Roberson explores how such ancient cultures as the Aztecs and Imperial China would function in a futuristic time period was pure genius and really gave the book a distinctive flavor... I was impressed with the author’s fluent prose and his ability to tell a story with a skillful blend of style, passion, and ingenuity."


Here's a question, Chris.

Have you read Thomas Harlan's "In the Time of the Sixth Sun" novels? (Wasteland of Flint and House of Reeds to date) They feature an Aztec-Japan alliance dominating the world and extending out into space together.

(Wasteland is buried in my giant to-read pile so I can't comment on it myself)
I didn't actually find out about Harlan's series until after the first few Celestial Empire stories had been published, and I've stayed away from it so far, worried that I might inadvertently steal something from it. I'm very curious to check it out, though, and may do after I finish the next few Aztec-centric Celestial Empire stories.
I do find it interesting that SF writers can inadvertently mine similar ideas, independently.

For example, there is a plot point involving one of the characters in Peter Watts' BLINDSIGHT that resembles an idea in David Langford's "Blit" stories. When I asked Peter about the similarity, he told me that he had never seen or read the Blit stories.
I've not read Blindsight, but was surprised to see an online review that said it shared a plot point with Manly Wade Wellman's Strangers on the Heights, which is currently on my To Read pile.

But definitely, writers are constantly reinventing the same wheels, whether we realize it or not. Sometimes, even if we have seen the other interpretations of the idea, it doesn't occur to us until later that it is the same idea. It wasn't until after I handed in Paragaea to Pyr, for example, that I realized I'd just rewritten Thundarr the Barbarian!

And here I thought the parallels to Thundarr were part of the homage and references scattered in the book (and make it so much fun to read--I still think that a Concordance of all of them would be fun to see sometime)
The only time that Thundarr even occurred to me at all during the writing of Paragaea is when I mentioned that Balam hated getting wet, and I flashed on Ookla after having written that line. (Of course, my copy editor on the book Deanna Hoak, called me on that, saying that jaguars are actually quite good swimmers, but I decided that Balam would just be the exception to the rule.)

A concordance isn't a bad idea. I think a great many of the references have either gone unnoticed or at least unremarked (such as all of the stuff lifted from Charles Fort, which I don't think I've seen anyone mention). Maybe someday!
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