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The Runes of the Earth - The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant
Posted: 01 March 2010 05:39 PM   [ Ignore ]
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This is actually the last of the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant - the main character in a series that Stephen Donaldson began writing I believe in 1977.  I have NOT read the first ones.  This last fairly covers what was written before and according to reviews by other readers, can stand alone.  Erik had read the first ones too and was able to tell me that the main character developed leprosy and basically becomes a pariah to everyone.  He falls into, at times when he becomes unconscious, another world called ‘The Land’ where he interacts with beings native to that world.  The Land is perfectly beautiful but is beset by evil that he alone, with the wild magic of his wedding ring made of white gold can fix or save.

The entirety of the chronicles however is based on nearly every character having been ruined by happenings in their lives.  Every character focuses on their failures….................and this is where I started having problems with this book.

While ALL have been toted as being fantasy, there was little dialogue and the focus was on what the main individual was thinking, and what ‘she’ [in this last it’s a psychiatrist who is the lead character] thought others were thinking and how she could communicate well enough with others to reach them and all this is based on her own continual fear of failing, always failing. 

After reaching just beyond page 100 I closed the book understanding that this was not so much a story but a therapeutic effort: 

It’s cumbersome and not so much a story I think as a dubious journey through the mirrored damaged parts of the human psyche that the author attempts to dissect and understand (The Land).  Thomas Covenant becomes a sort of previous map or diagram from which all the damaged rest [of the characters] try to find a way back to innocence (the way The Land should be), or the complete destruction of innocence/The Land. 

-Life itself takes that away from all of us by varying degrees even while we try to protect a small fragment of it.  Amazing, many of us succeed and do not believe life as a series of failures but rather a journey….I’m not sure the author has a goodly view of this though-

So I don’t see this as a fantasy as much as an unusual group of extremely damaged characters.

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Posted: 01 March 2010 06:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Yeah.. I read the Thomas Covenant books when I was about 15 or so.. it’s.. well, it’s incredibly hard to follow, and depressing as all get out. Sure, they can fight back the forces of evil and such, but there is *no* ‘happily ever after’ for anyone.

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Posted: 01 March 2010 11:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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And its not that every one the main character interacts with is destroyed/fails, but rather that there is some sort of MAJOR change that occurs to each and every person whose life touches that of the main character.

I hadn’t realized there was a new Covenant book out. I’ll have to check it out! cheese

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Posted: 02 March 2010 10:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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hulitoons - 01 March 2010 10:39 PM

While ALL have been toted as being fantasy, there was little dialogue and the focus was on what the main individual was thinking, and what ‘she’ [in this last it’s a psychiatrist who is the lead character] thought others were thinking and how she could communicate well enough with others to reach them and all this is based on her own continual fear of failing, always failing. 

After reaching just beyond page 100 I closed the book understanding that this was not so much a story but a therapeutic effort:

That description reminds me a bit of a book I once tried to read by an author named Brian Aldiss.  Normally Aldiss is an author whom I enjoy reading, and so I picked up this book without knowing anything about it.  And it starts off with a guy wandering around, with the impersonal third-person narration describing how much he loathes himself.  He wanders around some more (and loathes himself some more), interacts with some other characters in ways that are only barely touched on (all the while loathing himself and all the actions he does), then he wanders off somewhere else where he loathes himself some more.  I’d reached about page 80 or so by then, and it had basically all been nothing but looking into the guy’s mind as he loathes himself.  There’d barely been any dialogue or any events or anything such as that.  By that point I was loathing the guy’s existence as well and was thoroughly bored, and so I put down the book and never read any more of it.

And what was really annoying was that there was all sorts of interesting things vaguely mentioned in the story, but the story never really got into them.  The guy starts off wandering around in the age of the dinosaurs or some time such as that, for example, but no real mention is made of why or how or anything.  Perhaps it is all explained later on in the book, but the prospect of finding out wasn’t enough to entice me to keep on reading.

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Posted: 02 March 2010 10:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Exactly.. there’s enough material in there to make it EPIC if it was told with a different tone and flavor. Instead, it’s a depressing grind through Depressingville.

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1: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. If it does what it says, you should have no problem with this.
2: What proof will you accept that you are wrong? You ask us to change our mind, but we cannot change yours?
3: It is not our responsability to disprove your claims, but rather your responsability to prove them.
4. Personal testamonials are not proof.

What part of ‘meow’ don’t you understand?

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Posted: 04 March 2010 11:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Accipiter - 03 March 2010 03:17 AM

That description reminds me a bit of a book I once tried to read by an author named Brian Aldiss.  Normally Aldiss is an author whom I enjoy reading, and so I picked up this book without knowing anything about it.  And it starts off with a guy wandering around, with the impersonal third-person narration describing how much he loathes himself.

From what I remember that sounds very much like the first book.  I tried to read it about 20 years ago and had about as much luck as you seemed to have had with your Aldiss book.  Other people I knew liked it, and it sounded like it had a good story, but that whole “I suck, and none of this is real anyway” thing made it unlikeable for me.

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Posted: 04 March 2010 04:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Heh, no wonder why I was having trouble remembering the name of the book I read.  It has two different names.

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