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Jan 16

Saeculum by Ursula Poznanski

Posted on Saturday, January 16, 2016 in Books, Reviews

I just finished reading Saeculum by Ursula Poznanski. Unfortunately, I didn’t like this book at all. I found it boring and the characters unsympathetic and the plot rather pointless. Maybe I would have felt differently at another time, but as it was, I was really disappointed. Especially since this is a big, thick book that cost a lot to buy. I’d been looking forward to reading it for a long time. Oh, well, these things happen.

I’d already read another book by the same author, Erebos, and loved it so naturally I assumed I’d like other books by her.

For someone who might like this kind of book, I’ll just briefly go into the plot.

Bastian is a medical student who has trouble relating to his manipulative father. He meets a pretty girl who gets him interested in medieval reenactments, historic fairs, that sort of thing. She talks him into coming along on a live game playing thing somewhere far from civilisation. When they get there, things start to go wrong. Is it really possible that an old curse is causing all the troubles the group is experiencing?

Unfortunately, the story never gets very exciting, at least not to me. I read the book in a Swedish translation that I really didn’t like. It made me question the translator’s qualifications. Usually, it’s the other way around, a translation can actually make a book seem better than it is. So all in all, I’d say this book was a failure from beginning to end. I don’t usually even review under these circumstances, but after reading this long book, I felt I wanted to have my say about it.

For someone else, it might still be an interesting book, but personally, I just want to forget I wasted time and money on it.

Edit: I just checked out the reviews on Goodreads and now I really wish I’d done that before I bought the book… :/

Oct 25

Fictional worlds to escape to

Posted on Sunday, October 25, 2015 in Fandom

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about being able to (literally) escape into a fantasy world – that is a book or other fandom universe – and it occurred to me that the books I love (or other fandoms) don’t necessarily provide a good safe world to live in.

For instance, as much as I love Tolkien’s world in LOTR or even The Hobbit, I doubt if I’d like to live there. Unless there was some era that was very peaceful and prosperous (and so didn’t provide material for a very good story, but a better living environment).

The same goes for many of my favorite fictional worlds.

Take Gregory Frost’s Shadowbridge – an incredibly fascinating ‘universe’ but not one where I’d feel safe, unfortunately.

It’s the same with Tad Williams’ The War of the Flowers. Such a fascinating world, but not a very pleasant one for humans. (In case you haven’t read it, it’s about a variety of Faerie.

Also, the Sabriel/Abhorsen series by Garth Nix about the Old Kingdom. On the ‘civilised’ side of the Wall, I’d probably be able to live quite well, but it seems to be set at the beginning of the 20th century so that’s probably not very equal, unfortunatey.

However, I was thinking that Dinotopia would be just right to escape to. It’s a really interesting and beautiful world, yet it’s also more or less safe and pleasant to live in. I’d love to take everything and just go there and never come back.

Ursula K LeGuin’s Earthsea would probably work too, but I’m not too happy about the lack of equality for women on most islands.

I realize that I’ve just mentioned books so far, so I’ll just throw in Star Trek (TNG, Voyager etc). That world would probably be great to live in, if I didn’t end up in any of the war zones. After all, they have replicators, medical tricorders and a more or less completely equal society, not only between the sexes, but also in other ways. There’s no poverty, no currency even (in the Federation anyway).

Some of Diana Wynne Jones’ books will probably do as well, for instance her Chrestomanci series. As long as I didn’t get involved in any magical crisis. Unfortunately, I probably don’t have any talent at all for magic and if I did, it would probably be weak and/or sort of backwards.

I can’t say that I feel as strongly about Maria Lang/Dagmar Lange’s mystery classics, but close enough. To me it’s a very harmless, safe, yet fun world. It ‘looks’ colorful in my mind’s eye. The only drawback would be the lack of equality between the sexes. Of course, Puck doesn’t have to deal with that. Her two guys treat her really well so she probably doesn’t even know other women face discrimination.

To sum this up: I think it’s a tie between Dinotopia and Star Trek. Either would work great if I could only find a way to sneak in and never come back.


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