Let’s first come right out and say that I’m only halfway through The Paths of the Dead by Stephen Brust, and that is as far as I’m going to get. The novel has an interesting concept: It is written as though it is a book composed by a somewhat pompous historian living at a later date in the same world as the one where events take place. According to reviews on Amazon, it is supposed to be something of a riff on The Three Musketeers. Be that as it may–I sure can’t see it–it’s incredibly slow-moving and the ploy with the historian only succeeds in disrupting the suspension of disbelief so necessary for enjoyment of a fantasy novel.
The Paths of the Dead is also fatally filled with annoying and spirit-crushing dialogue like this:
“But there must be one thing you can tell me.”
“And what is that?”
“Why you have come to visit me.”
“Oh, as to that–”
“You are right, there is no reason not to tell you.”
“Then you will do so?”
“This very instant.”
“Then I await you.”
Aaaaaaaahhh! Stop it! This is how every freaking conversation goes. Bumpity-bumpity-bump with zero information exchange. It was cute the first five times, and then it started to hurt me deep inside.
Nope, can’t take it. Made it halfway through on sheer obstinacy, but that’s it.
Brust has finally come up with a more annoying fantasy tick than the infamous “ten pages to walk around a bush” syndrome. Didn’t think I’d live to see the day.
Music: “Creek Mary’s Blood” by Nightwish [Opens in iTunes]
Posted Wednesday, 12 May, 2004 by Nic Lindh
Another book roundup, including some stellar athletes and soldiers, what might be the most jaded, soul-weary protagonist ever, and some grimdark fantasy.
The Internet is getting creepy, and Nic is breaking out his tinfoil hat after newspaper paywalls push him over the edge.
Nic is tired of tech sites obsessing over Apple’s financials and business strategy. So very tired.
Nic reads a book about the processed food industry and is incensed.
Computers are complicated. This brings out the irrational in people.
Nic proposes the loan word Rechthaberei be incorporated into American English.
The Core Dump is back! Books were read during the hiatus. Includes The Coldest Winter, Oh, Myyy!, Tough Sh*t, The Revolution Was Televised, The Rook, Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, Gun Machine, Fortress Frontier, Standing in Another Man’s Grave, and The Memory of Light.
This site will return in February.
From a true patriot to a world-weary detective, a dead god, and a civilization about to sublime from the galaxy, this book roundup spans the gamut. Includes Where Men Win Glory, Wild, Inside the Box, The Black Box, Three Parts Dead, Red Country, and The Hydrogen Sonata.
Springsteen gives a concert in Phoenix. It’s fantastic.