sexta-feira, julho 27, 2018

The-George-R-R-Martin-that-also-wrote-stuff-other-than-the-famigerated-GoT: “Tuf Voyaging” by George R. R. Martin

“I will sit here in the coolness and talk my thoughts to this crystal and I will drink my wine and watch the flyers, the few who still live, as they dance and soar against the night. Far off, they look so like shadowgulls above my living sea. I will drink my wine and remember how that sea sounded when I was but a Budakhar boy who dreamed of stars, and when the wine is gone I will use the flamer.
(Long silence)
I can think of no more words to say. Janeel knew many words and many names, but I buried her this morning.
(Long silence)
If my voice is ever found . . .
(Short pause)
If this is found after the plague star has waned, as the night-hunters say it will, do not be deceived. This is no fair world, no world for life. Here is death, and plagues beyond numbering. The plague star will shine again.
(Long silence)
My wine is gone.
(End of recording)”

In “Tuf Voyaging” by George R. R. Martin

I sometimes need to learn to relax a bit and don't think of reading as always something that always has to be deep and meaningful. I try to think of genres in the same way one may think of food. One day I might go to the trouble or expense of a chateaubriand, and the next day I really, really fancy cheese on toast. Some days I want to be moved, the next have my head twisted inside out only to follow that with a bit of Jeeves. My advice: (1) don’t get your knickers in a twist about it. The authors all have different intentions and audiences, or maybe that should be audiences in a particular mood and frame of mind that day. For me, SF is my escape from the feeling I really should appreciate, analyse and be critical, and instead just float along happily in a haze of sun, sea and alcohol, or cold medicine, whatever the case may be. Like a secret stash of chocolates to relax with on my own; (2) Don't make reading into a chore. You don't always have to learn something. Sometimes it's just pure fun and recreation. SF allows you to make your own rules and set them in your own invented history. You can place it all in a universe where up is down if you wish and certainly on a world where they have a pink sky and two cooperating suns at one time. The author is truly omnipotent. But the prose doesn't need to be creaky. There are master craftsmen writing in this genre, for instance the-George-R-R-Martin-that-also-wrote-stuff-other-than-the-famigerated-GoT. I'm thinking about this particular little gem called "Tuf Voyaging". Who would have thought Martin had it in him to write stuff like this? As for all this stuff re genres and validity at literature, all genres have dross and have gems. Not seeing that also applies to SF is as dumb as not seeing in this in historical novels or biographies. I accept that for some genre of SF may not be their cup of tea, though maybe this often because they have not been exposed to gems from the genre and have seen some prejudice affirmed from what they have read. Which is a shame, for them. Creaky prose, preposterous characterisation, racist attitudes and all? In fact, if the dilemmas of impoverished middle-class young women in Regency England, or idealistic bootleggers in 1920s New York or ambitious young Irish politicians in late nineteenth century England are not necessarily escapist now, then nor are those of noblemen in an island torn by civil war with the prospect of others crossing the Wall and rumours of dragons overseas. This George-R-R-Martin-that-also-wrote-stuff-other-than-the-famigerated-GoT is as fine a set of SF stories as I have ever read, dealing with the problems and relationships of humanity and their technology, bound up with fascinating characters and plots. It also deals in a cautionary way with the problems of unrestrained population growth. Finally, it explores the consequences that result when a single human being gains the ultimate power of life and death. Go and read “Tuf Voyaging”. It’s that good.

SF = Speculative Fiction.

NB: Peter Tillman brought this book to my attention. I'm glad he did.

4 comentários:

Bookstooge disse...

"Don't make reading into a chore."

Oh man, amen to that! There is definitely a time to read things we don't necessarily enjoy or like, but part of eating a balanced meal is eating the stuff you don't necessarily like either. But you don't eat just broccoli either.

I've never been tempted by GoT but I've read a couple of other things by Martin so I know he's a good author. Well, I didn't care for that Wildcards series, but he just edited it so I can't blame him for it all. But Fevre Dream was just great, as was his short story Sandkings. I'd judge him a resounding success based on just those two options :-)

Manuel Antão disse...

Martin was a good author before he decided to move on to the Dark Side...

Bookstooge disse...

I suspect he wasn't ready or able to handle the success of GoT and figured he could mail in the last book or 2. That can't happen now :-D

I do wonder how much money he's made off the tv show though...

Manuel Antão disse...

There was something about him before he got into the game. A powerful presence in the SF milieu at the time pointed he would reach far. After all these years what happened? Question of personality, in my opinion, before it got into what it is now.