Archive for June, 2011

The works of Ian Fleming (part 1)

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

Inspired by some re-watching of the old James Bond movies I decided I wanted to read the originals by Ian Fleming. This also because most movies have been adaptations and only partially followed the real story, allowing sufficient ‘discovery’ for me. After a bit of searching I found some nice editions that would do. I received the first copy, Diamonds Are Forever (1956) and it looks neat. The other books will follow somewhere in the coming weeks, perhaps later, as I didn’t order them all at once yet and not from the same places.

C.J. Cherryh – Fortress In The Eye Of Time

Monday, June 6th, 2011

While I am not familiar with the works of C.J. Cherryh, she is quite known as an award-winning science fiction author. Even so, the novels in this genre of hers never caught my interest until I came unto a fantasy novel by her which I decided to give a try. Fortress In The Eye Of Time (1995) is the first book of a quartet.

Two main things quickly surface when one begins reading the book: a slow pace and a fairly linear storyline. There are two main characters whose point-of-view the story is told from. The slow pace is mainly caused by expanded scenes and dialogues. Cherryh takes her time to tell the story and tries to add sufficient detail to enrich what is a rather simple story.

Either way it is not a predictable or dull story. Cherryh daftly avoids clich├ęs and knows to spur the story when the reader is getting lulled by the extensive scenes and dialogues which don’t move the story that much. However, the story is not that exciting as Cherryh never takes the characters, or the story, to the edge. There is danger and peril, but enemy often remains distant to the reader.

Even with the extensive time Cherryh spends on her main characters, the character development remains somewhat shallow. One main character does evolve and change, but that is part of his role. The reader knows it will come so it is more of an exploration than an experience. Overall the characterization is decent, but not very strong or distinctive. My attachment remained somewhat low.

Cherryh brings the story to a conclusion that would have allowed the book to stand on its own. As there are three more books in this series there is apparently quite more to tell. This is not obvious from the book itself. There are no real hints of other events or characters who could play a role later on. Sure there are some things left to explore, however, they will require the addition of more background and new players to give the story sufficient depth. As such I am interested in what will happen in the next books if Cherryh has so much more to tell.

Overall it is quite a nice story in which the fantasy elements are not prominent but do play an important role. The story is entertaining, but one does have to not mind the slow pace, especially as the book is almost 800 pages. As the pace is mainly determined by the amount of words it could probably have cut a few hundred pages to create a greater intensity. Of course that is a matter of style. A solid fantasy novel without being remarkable, but a good read.