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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Wednesday, March 02, 2005 - 09:34 am:   

Cheryl Morgan reviews Woken Furies at Emerald City.

http://www.emcit.com/emcit114.shtml#Awake

Overall, fairly positive, though you previous novel, Market Forces seems to have pushed som buttons for her, not entirely in a way that she cared for.

Can't wait to get my grubby little hands on this one, being the grubby, easily manipulated wanna-be-leftie revolutionary that I am.

:-)


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richard
Posted on Wednesday, March 02, 2005 - 01:24 pm:   

Yeah, Cheryl's day job is privatising energy utilities on an international basis - this may have some bearing on how aggrieved she is :-)

Seriously, though, if you read that review of Market Forces the way I did, you come away more puzzled than anything else. It starts efficiently enough, plotting and analysing the book as per normal (and generally I think Cheryl is a pretty decent reviewer) but then seems to descend into a plaintive sort of "but you don't understand, markets don't work that way, well at least they *shouldn't*" More than anything it reminded me of the kind of thing committed Christians or Muslims (or old guard Communists for that matter) say when you point out the appalling track record of their faith - "oh, no, but our beliefs have been misapplied, that's not what it's really about, it *shouldn't* work like that." In leaping to the defence of her particular faith, Cheryl seems to have forgotten what she's supposed to be doing here - reviewing a work of (science) fiction. I'm confused, I've mixed up "ombudsman" and "regulator"? No, I've appropriated the term "ombudsman" (actually leaning far more on its Scandinavian etymology than current usage does) and used it to describe a future cadre of case-hardened, cool-as-fuck UN ethical police. I've misunderstood the concept of risk capital in foreign ventures? No, I've imagined a global structure in which all such risk is transferred to the poorest nations and people while the rich pick up their toys and go home (sounds vaguely familiar, doesn't it). I'm anti-globalisation? No, I've written a work of fiction in which the worst excesses of the international capital market system and the men who run it are let out to play without restraint - the reader draws their own conclusions on how they feel about this. In fact, if Cheryl had bothered to look at the books on the "anti-globalisation" reference list at the end of the book, she'd see that they cover a variety of views on global markets - Jospeh Stiglitz, ex of the World Bank, is hardly anti-globalisation (though the hardline neoliberals (maybe including Cheryl, I don't know) continue to regard him as some kind of heretic), William Easterly, also ex World Bank, is very much IN FAVOUR of the growth of global markets. The whole point is, it's a complex issue, and Market Forces is intended to present an equally complex ethical problem to the reader. But if the question is - do I believe that unchained market forces offer a perfect self-regulating AND HUMANE economic system, well obviously not, but you'd have to be some kind of fucking lunatic to believe that anyway.

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Lee M
Posted on Wednesday, March 02, 2005 - 10:43 pm:   

" Woken Furies charges along with the insane momentum of a starving vampire overdosed on speed."
That sounds promising. I can see what people are saying though. She managed to praise Woken Furies in one breath and then take out a stick and beat Market Forces in the next. I quite liked Market Forces and I'm neither a young male getting off on hero fantasies or a self-righteous left winger.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to Woken Furies and now that I'm no longer a poor psych student I can actually afford to buy it as soon as it comes out. Whenever that is down here in New Zealand. I'll be interested to see what you try your hand at next Richard. Maybe that revisionist Sword and Sorcery you mentioned a while back.

Lee
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richard
Posted on Thursday, March 03, 2005 - 02:44 am:   

Hi Lee - congratulations on your graduation then.

re beating MF with a stick - yeah, and the interesting thing is that she seems to have become increasingly upset about the book with time - suggesting that it really got under her skin and won't leave her alone, which I consider a result. When someone claims that their blood boils at even the thought of the book you've written, you've got to conclude that you're getting through as intended. For the same reason, I'm taking all those furious reviews of MF that contain words like "dumb", "ridiculous", "it stinks" as oblique compliments.

What's next? Well, the revisionist S&S is definitely underway (working title: "Land fit for Heroes"), but I'm also building something SFnal, set about a hundred years from now where Mars has been colonised and genetic licensing is the issue of the day. We'll see which one I get finished first
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Adam
Posted on Thursday, March 03, 2005 - 09:31 am:   

An interesting and rather encouraging review there - from my point of view at least. I kind of wish I hadn't read it though:

"Many of them are killed by Kovacs. Well, by one of him anyway."

Is that some kinda multiple-sleeving scenario spoiler or what? Don't answer that!

Re: MF - I think you're right about the reviewer having issues with the book - the fact she has been so irritated and affected by it was because you were successful in making a world full of ambiguous, selfish, driven, and immoral characters.

So - with two new books in the pipeline, can we look forward to one Morgan novel a year? Sounds great!
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Mastadge
Posted on Thursday, March 03, 2005 - 10:39 am:   

Plus, they're coming out bargain priced! At £6-7 a book, even with the P&P costs they're no more expensive than most US hardcovers. . .

Yes, I'm too impatient to wait for the US editions.
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Mastadge
Posted on Thursday, March 03, 2005 - 05:57 pm:   

New review at The Alien Online: http://www.thealienonline.net/ao_030.asp?tid=2&scid=14&iid=2685
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Adam
Posted on Friday, March 04, 2005 - 07:15 am:   

Yeah, I feel almost guilty paying just £5.99 (plus p&p) on Amazon for Woken Furies!

Mastadge, that's a very encouraging review - I scanned through it to try and avoid spoilers, but it seemed to have an very positive vibe. Learning abot Kovacs' past and his motivations are some of the most interesting bits of the series so far, so it's good to see there will be more of that - not to mention a healthy dose of uber violence.
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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Friday, March 04, 2005 - 05:52 pm:   

Has anyone seen the SF Book Club cover for Market Forces? It's pretty cool:

www.sfbc.com/doc/sfc/GlobalData/GlobalImages/BookJacketsLarge/057547_lg.jpg
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JJA
Posted on Friday, March 04, 2005 - 06:03 pm:   

In Woken Furies news, I was delighted today to see that Amazon UK has "dispatched" my order to me (the US store "ships" books, while the UK store "dispatches" them). Really looking forward to reading it.

I'm hopeful that Market Forces will make the Hugo ballot...and it probably has a good chance, since Worldcon is in the UK this year (so more Brits than usual will be attending and voting). You know, that, plus it was the best goddamn book of the year.
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JJA
Posted on Friday, March 04, 2005 - 08:45 pm:   

In more Market Forces news...

Entertainment Weekly reviewed Market Forces in this week's issue (#810).

Excerpt:

Lowdown: FORCES is a turbo-injected with moral ambiguity, WAG THE DOG political scenarios, and action sequences fit for a Bruckheimer movie.

Grade: A
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Lee M
Posted on Saturday, March 05, 2005 - 03:21 am:   

" Hi Lee - congratulations on your graduation then. "

Thanks. I've gone from poor student to government law enforcement type person in record time. Not quite where I thought I'd end up when I decided to throw in full time employment and study, but whatever pays the bills.

"Well, the revisionist S&S is definitely underway (working title: "Land fit for Heroes"), but I'm also building something SFnal, set about a hundred years from now where Mars has been colonised and genetic licensing is the issue of the day."

Well both of those sound interesting. Must admit I'm interested in reading the revisionist S&S and seeing your take on the fantasy genre in general. Not that I have a particular preference for fantasy. Just interested in what you'll do to some of the standard conventions. That and I suspect that magic Richard Morgan style will entertaining to say the least.

Genetic licensing will be interesting as well. We have more than our fair share of hoop-la about GE in NZ. Lots of people babbling on about staying GE free as a nation. They tie it all in to our whole 'clean green' image. Then there are all the biologists, about half my friends fall into this group, who are shaking their head at billboards showing tomatoes with frogs legs growing out of them etc.
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Mastadge
Posted on Monday, March 07, 2005 - 09:38 am:   

Yet another very enthusiastic review: http://sfrevu.com/Review-id.php?id=2624

My copy should be here any day now. . .
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Micky Nozawa
Posted on Wednesday, March 09, 2005 - 06:43 am:   

I received mine on Monday! Isn't that a bit odd, given that the release date is the 16th? I haven't seen it in any bookstores just yet. I read the prologue straight away, but had to finish Neal Asher's 'The Skinner' first, so now I'm into chapter two of WF. I guess the spoiler I read wasn't giving away *too* much, seeing as that angle is explained in the prologue anyway. I'll shut up now and not ruin it for anyone else.
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Jeremy Denny
Posted on Wednesday, March 23, 2005 - 02:17 am:   

Hi Richard,

I saw you at the Borders Science Fiction do, Monday 21st . I was most impressed.

I am still Reading Woken Furies (gotten through the waking bit, it’s beginning to get furious.)

Everything is working out nicely, the ideas fit just the way they should and I love the sudden twists.

Most interesting is the way you hold back information until it becomes relevant; there are moments when I asked why Kovacs was reacting the way he was, “oh he’s just being a badass”. But there turns out to be specific reasons. Exposition in SF is always an issue and I think you’ve gone and cracked it.

Looking forward to finishing WF.

JD
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Adam
Posted on Wednesday, March 23, 2005 - 04:02 am:   

Finished WF this morning.

Awesome stuff. Loved the climax.
The twisty turny plot of the last third was real page-turning stuff. And it's great that Kovacs' actions and experiences in the past have had a very real effect on his universe.

I have too much to say about the whole thing, so instead, I'll leave it at that.

Cheers Richard - here's waiting for your next work!
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Adam
Posted on Wednesday, March 23, 2005 - 04:10 am:   

Oh, and Richard - are you doing any signings in London soon?
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Jeremy Denny
Posted on Thursday, March 24, 2005 - 01:43 am:   

Finished WF last night, I have so many things to say about it but I'll keep it down to something like; the reason this is your best book is that it brings all of the verve and technique of your earlier novels together with a theme of real gravitas, real meaning and fulfills it superbly.

To many readers this is Richard Morgan's fourth novel, but we will eventually understand that this is a turning point both in his evolution as a writer, and in British Science fiction itself.

JD
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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Thursday, March 24, 2005 - 08:50 am:   

I thought Market Forces was a turning point in Morgan's evolution as a writer, and in British Science Fiction itself. WF is just returning to the Kovaks well, isn't it? Kind of like Moorcock doing another Elric novel? :-)

j/k
I'm jealous cause I haven't been able to read WF yet.
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richard
Posted on Thursday, March 24, 2005 - 12:26 pm:   

Thanks guys (apart from you, JL, you BASTARD!!! :-) ). WF certainly has felt like the most complex thing I've written so far, and at times I was biting my nails down to the elbows trying to rope it all together - so it's great to hear it plays well. (But all this talk of turning points in evolution is a bit scary to be honest - I can hear the stealthy slither of Expectations being raised, and *they* are terrifying beasts.)

No signings in London, Adam, apart from the Borders event and Forbidden Planet just past (Monday). But I am going to be Guest of Honour at Eastercon this weekend, so if you feel like a trip down to Fabled Hinckley, it'd be cool to see you.
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JJA
Posted on Thursday, March 24, 2005 - 01:07 pm:   

Matt Cheney thrashed Market Forces on his blog (http://mumpsimus.blogspot.com/2005/03/market-forces-by-richard-morgan.html). Do feel free to go over there and bitch-slap him, someone.

First he was crying out that SF is dead on Strange Horizons, and now this. He's just not saying anything I agree with lately.
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richard
Posted on Thursday, March 24, 2005 - 03:12 pm:   

Yeah, I was looking at this earlier in the week - like Cheryl Morgan's, it's a very strange review. He seems to be trying to trash the book, but somehow can't help coming over all complimentary every so often (esp towards the end). Bizarre.

In fact, I think the thing that annoyed me about this piece wasn't any of the negative things it had to say (fair enough, that's part of a critic's job), but just the overwhelming odour of smugness the writing gave off. The whole thing seemed largely devised for the specific purpose of proving how terribly witty and clever Matt Cheney is. Which he may well be, for all I know, but that's not really what reviewing should be about.

In high literary circles, sadly, this type of reviewing is actually quite common. I've lost count of the number of broadsheet review articles I've read in the last year which are only peripherally about the book or movie they claim to be dealing with, and instead are designed to showcase the sartorial writing talents of the reviewer or provide an opportunity for said reviewer to indulge some aspect of their own life experience, quirky character or general level of erudition You know the kind of thing:

"Jerry Nimbus's "All Cry for Sophocles" makes bold claims on territory familiar to anyone who has ever doubted the essential *Weltschmerz* contained in Sartre's later works. But as I lay aside the novel somewhere near its clearly (one feels rather too clearly) signposted Steinerian climax, I was driven to wonder if the London outside my rather tastefully decorated Hampstead apartment could really still be mapped onto Nimbus's somewhat *declasse* metropolis of middle class despair. Yes, in the end all life is but a fleeting round of media parties in Soho and the odd screening of a Truffaut season at the Lumiere, but one must still wonder if this is enough to engender the intense *ennui* that Nimbus insists on pouring over us like the treacle my wife's Italian grandmother used to make for us in Tuscany."

To which my (not wholly mature) response is usually "Why don't you fuck off and write a book yourself then, preferably an autobiography since you think you're so fucking interesting, you wanker." This is, of course, why I'll never review for the TLS.

Generally speaking, genre reviewing (and by this I mean genre forms plural; crime, thriller, romance etc, not just SF/F) tends to be mercifully short on this sort of wanking - but then there are always those among us with aspirations, if not to actual literature, then at least to lit crit.

Tremble! They live, they are among us! :-)
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Jörn Grote
Posted on Thursday, March 24, 2005 - 04:11 pm:   

Well, JJA, in return we trashed Cheneys article on the death of SF on Asimov a little bit.

Wanted to say I thought AC and BA were both brilliant, and I can't wait to read WF.
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Mastadge
Posted on Thursday, March 24, 2005 - 05:25 pm:   

I just finished Woken Furies. Enjoyed it very much, but I admit I don't see what all this "evolution as a writer" talk is about. Altered Carbon is still, I think, your best novel -- complexity and thematic scope and all that aside, it's simply got an energy that none of your other books have yet matched. Best to worst, I'd rank your novels:

Altered Carbon
Woken Furies
Broken Angels


Market Forces
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JJA
Posted on Thursday, March 24, 2005 - 05:57 pm:   

Why you little -- this is a pro-Market Forces zone.

That's it, Mastadge. You and me. Car duel. Midnight, tonight.
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Mastadge
Posted on Thursday, March 24, 2005 - 08:02 pm:   

Market Forces just didn't sustain my interest. It started slowly, for me, and got to the point where I put it down for a few weeks because I just didn't care. Then I decided to finish it, and really had to force myself through forty or fifty pages before it interested me enough that I wanted to read the rest.
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JV
Posted on Thursday, March 24, 2005 - 08:24 pm:   

Er, I like Matt Cheney's stuff a lot even when I disagree with it...but I really didn't read that review as negative, Richard. Mixed, maybe. But not negative. Maybe I'm just more used to Cheney's style.

As for his death of SF--I'm sure that's just the kind of measured discourse he was looking for, Jorn.

JeffV
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Jörn Grote
Posted on Friday, March 25, 2005 - 12:27 am:   

It's true, I also love a good discourse, the surrealism debate here on Nightshade is much fun to read.

As for evolution, Altered Carbon was a good crime noir novel, infused with some interesting SF gadgets and partly going over the top in the violence department. But while Kovacs did some things that were not very herolike, on some level they could be justified.

In Broken Angels that got much harder. Kovacs was still the main man, but I liked how Richard made Kovac's actions harder to justify, making him looking less and less like a hero. Also the whole atmosphere has changed, where the first book was a crime novel, the second was definitely a war novel, and I thought the madness of war was portrayed at least to me convincingly.

In the end, Richard could have milked the books by remaking its first book over and over, making the whole thing a mystery series where Kovac's grew slowly more and more herolike. That he choose the other route is something I admire. That's why I think there is some real evolution from Altered Carbon to Broken Angels.
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JJA
Posted on Friday, March 25, 2005 - 10:25 am:   

It's cool, Mastadge. I disagree with you, but I respect your opinion. I've just been waiting for the right opportunity to challenge someone to a car duel ever since I read the book. :-)
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richard
Posted on Tuesday, March 29, 2005 - 09:40 am:   

Make sure you wear your seatbelts, guys :-)
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richard
Posted on Tuesday, March 29, 2005 - 10:01 am:   

Hi jeff - been a long time. How's things? You were sorely missed at Eastercon.

Yeah, the lever marked "acerbic" got whacked way up in its slot back there for Cheney - I was home for about eighteen hours between events and gritty with lack of sleep. Still, lines like: "Market Forces isn't a complete and utter waste of paper" and "I only rarely thought while reading the novel that I'd rather be reading nonfiction." did cause me to grind my teeth a bit.

Whereas now, rested, I would merely fit another cigarette into my ivory holder, light it and drawl "oh *darling*, you simply *must* sharpen your irony a little before you'll be allowed to play with it in the drawing room."
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richard
Posted on Tuesday, March 29, 2005 - 10:12 am:   

Hi Mastadge - re your ranking, well, fair enough, you're not the only one, and it's an intensely personal thing, how a book hits you.

Still, I'm surprised you think AC has the most *energy*. Market Forces, whatever its strengths or flaws, felt (to me anyway) like pure driven fury from end to end, both as I wrote it and when I re-read for proofing (and it's shorter than any of the Kovacs books too!)
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Tim Akers
Posted on Monday, April 04, 2005 - 01:56 pm:   

Well, you can add me to the list of Market Forces fans. I'm only half-way through, but you're going to have to stumble pretty badly to get me to hate this book.
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Adam
Posted on Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 08:14 am:   

I haven't been in here for a while, so apologies if this repeats already-known information, but... *gulp*... no more Kovacs?

While I admire Richard's reasoning for not wanting to become a 'word whore' and continuing the series ad infinitum, Takeshi Lev Kovacs will be sorely missed.

I have confidence that 'Black Man' and 'Land Fit for Heroes' will be thoroughly excellent, but I'm also gutted that we will never hear from our favourite ex-envoy ever again.
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Franck
Posted on Sunday, October 09, 2005 - 02:22 am:   

wow i'm completly agree with Adam, i already miss Kovacs (this must be my "fanish" side !)

I loved the idea of a "Kovacs serie" splitted by some others "genre" or kind of novels.

(sorry for all the "" but i'm not sure of the words i use !)

Maybe something more detailled about its "Diplo" (<-- this is the word in the french books, haven't read it in english !) training even if BA and WF already gave us some really good "sight" on his past ? Or some Quellist "battage" book ?
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Mastadge
Posted on Sunday, October 09, 2005 - 12:13 pm:   

In English it's Envoy.
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Adam
Posted on Monday, October 10, 2005 - 05:11 am:   

Glad you agree Franck. "Diplo" - I like it!

Not reading any other languages, I've always wondered how certain terms (particularly those created entirely by the author in a science fiction context for example) translate. I can imagine "Diplo" being quite an accurate translation - if indeed it comes from 'Diplomat' or 'Diplomacy' as I imagine it, because it conveys some of the irony of Richard's original term, given the Envoy's roles in Kovacs' universe. But I wonder how other invented terms work in other languages - is this entirely down to skillful translators? Something like 'sleeves' or 'sleeving', for example. There must be discrepansies over nuances of meaning in which the message may be lost at times...
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Franck
Posted on Monday, October 10, 2005 - 06:07 am:   

About "Diplo", yes it comes from "Diplomat" so the meaning is the same :D

I don't know how translators manage to do so but i recently read my first "Harry Potter" in english and it was quite difficult to follow the story because even the character's names were "translated" in the french version so that they were still "funny".

I guess we owe it all to the translators !

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