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Snow Queen/World's End [message #118817] Tue, 24 September 2013 14:36
gek is currently offline  gek
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Message-ID: <150@ihu1j.UUCP>
Date: Mon, 11-Mar-85 13:53:42 EST
Article-I.D.: ihu1j.150
Posted: Mon Mar 11 13:53:42 1985
Date-Received: Tue, 12-Mar-85 22:11:45 EST
Organization: AT&T Bell Laboratories
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I just read Joan Vinge's two books, and I just wanted to put in my
two petro-dollars' worth.

Snow Queen is kalaidescopic, and I mean that literally as well as 
colloquially. The plot lines twist and turn and settle into new
patterns, but they all connect subtly to the other lines until
they meat at the end. Well done, and enjoyable.

I wish I could say the same for World's End. A novel (:-) approach,
but poorly done in comparison to Heart of Darkness, which it emulates
(see the opening quotes). Maybe I wouldn't be so critical if it
didn't aspire so high...

-- 
glenn kapetansky                                                      
                                                                        
"Think of it as evolution in action"
                                                                        
...ihnp4!ihu1j!gek                                                      
Re: Snow Queen/World's End [message #119871 is a reply to message #118817] Sat, 16 March 1985 16:36 Go to previous message
psc is currently offline  psc
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Posted: Sat Mar 16 16:36:01 1985
Date-Received: Tue, 19-Mar-85 05:24:46 EST
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> Snow Queen is kalaidescopic, and I mean that literally as well as 
> colloquially. The plot lines twist and turn and settle into new
> patterns, but they all connect subtly to the other lines until
> they meat at the end. Well done, and enjoyable.

I thought SNOW QUEEN was kalaidescopic, too:  pretty and colorful,
but not very interesting after a while.  The characters were tissue
paper (I.E., too thin to be cardboard), the interactions and plot
predictable.

(*MILD SPOILER OF A BAD AND NONESSENTIAL SCENE - SKIP NEXT PAGE*)

One scene in particular bothered me a *lot*.  A kid gets cornered
in an alley by a bunch of uglies with knives, who threaten to carve
him up.  They approach; end of chapter.  Next chapter, we have a
cop walking his beat.  He wanders around for a while.  About halfway
through the chapter, he hears a struggle in an alley.  He runs into
it, in time to stop the uglies from touching their knives to the kid.
This is literary cheating!  That unannounced flashback and "don't
worry, the kid *does* get rescued in the nick of time" garbage really
hurt the book for me.  It wasn't the only time it happened, either.

(*END OF SPOILER - RESUME SPEED*)

Perhaps one of my problems is that I've come to expect so much of
Vinge.  I read her Analog stories and liked them a lot.  SNOW QUEEN
was a real letdown, to my mind, the worst piece of writing she's ever
done.  (The best were two novellas:  "Tin Soldier", her first sale,
and "Firestorm", a flawed but brilliant story man/machine symbiosis,
second only to Verner Vinge's "True Names" as the greatest SF story
of all time about computers.  Damn, what a book *that* would be!)

> I wish I could say the same for World's End. A novel (:-) approach,
> but poorly done in comparison to Heart of Darkness, which it emulates
> (see the opening quotes). Maybe I wouldn't be so critical if it
> didn't aspire so high...
> 	glenn kapetansky ...ihnp4!ihu1j!gek

I, on the other hand, wasn't expecting WORLD'S END to be Conrad; I
was expecting it to be another SNOW QUEEN.  I was pleasantly surprised.
Admittedly, the story is a bit muddy, the plot lost among the vivid
mental scenes.  But this is good stuff:  origninal ideas, interesting
characters (not great but not stereotypes), and Vinge's razor sharp
writing style.
-- 
	-Paul S. R. Chisholm
	...!{pegasus,cbosgd}!lzmi!psc   The above opinions are my own,
	...!{hocsj,ihnp4}!lznv!psc      not necessarily anyone else's.
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