August 9, 2015 at 12:22 pm #1077
So, I read Cloud Atlas.
I enjoyed the read, but I came away thinking the author (David Mitchell) scammed me.
WARNING: Possible spoiler. WARNING: possible spoiler. WARNING: possible spoiler. Warn..
Back in the late 70’s I went to a Kansas concert. The band started off with Dust in the Wind , stopped about halfway through and segued right into the next song preceeding with the concert. They picked up in Dust, where they’d left off, for the last tune.
Mitchell does that. Now, that in and of itself aint no big thang (“there’s nothing new under the Sun”), but combined with the scam he pulled…
It seems to me what the guy had was six separate stories, but what he wanted to have published was a novel. The way he accomplished that was by taking elements from the different stories and dropping them into others; a birthmark, a manuscript, etc.
What I (as a reader) expected was a merge where everything came together in a single climax. Nope. Six different stories with nothing more than tenuous threads to others.
Bummed me, it did.
That isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy the read, it’s just I felt like I’d been scammed a bit when it was all said and done.
Now I’m off into Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves. I’m just a few chapters in and I’m hoping the story works better than Neal’s obvious ignorance of physics (sigh).August 9, 2015 at 8:17 pm #1091
I appreciate that you read ‘Cloud Atlas’, Drift. Always like the feedback when I mention/recommend a book that appeals to me. And, I really enjoyed your take on it. As a professional writer your opinion has more ‘weight’ in the why’s and what’s of your evaluations. His ‘Bone Clocks’ was also good, better if I were to give it a star rating, and basically in the same style of writing, tho better connected. And, the one roger talked about by Mitchell, the one set in Singapore, ‘A Thousand Autumns of … (some guy’s name)’, I returned to the library unfinished. Too brutal, set in 1790’s, a brutal time, I guess. But way too much for my taste when reading for relaxation and not for education. Read enough of that brutal stuff when reading history or world events.
When I took a writing class we did a section on what was called a ‘loosely connected vignette’. Think of a novel about an apartment building with each apartment having a story that may mingle and separate, or only brush against throughout. They were fairly popular in the last century, but now days a new aspect has been added, or maybe the style’s evolving, what they call a Fragmented Novel. Kurt Vonnegut and Ray Bradbury are two who’d I say use that style, or at least aspects of it, tho it’s been years since I’ve read ‘Martian Chronicles’ or ‘Slaughterhouse Five’. I think of Science Fiction more than other genres for ‘conceptual fiction, but I agree that with ‘Cloud Atlas’ I had to LQQK for the connects in the first half of the book. Maybe the ‘connect’ was time, not place. Mostly when reading for pleasure I don’t examine too closely, unless it’s disturbing enough I begin to wonder about the author. And yes, that’s happened. Terry Goodkind comes to mind, a few others. And, Stephen King had a few books that made me look askance at what I was reading.
Have you read other Neal Stephenson books? He sure has a ton of them to his credit. I read the Wikipedia pages on him and on ‘Seveneves’, and was reminded a bit of Tom Clancy or Stephen R Donaldson, not because of any similarity, but because of the science and/or the complexity of storyline, tho that probably fits many authors.September 2, 2015 at 8:25 pm #1389
Not sure if this linked article belongs in Basement Forum or here, but it about a book. A music book, and where life awakens in the musical process, as so many did in the awakening eras of rock and roll, and all the lovely sounds that came from those early adventurers who stretched boundaries with words and beat. Loved the connection. Powerful. I’m a reader with a fairly eclectic taste, but alas, I never heard of the book. Already checked with Ft Van. Library… they don’t have it.
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