|Posted on Tuesday, May 03, 2005 - 04:54 pm: |
Wow. Utterly devastating. Powerful.
I thought WF and MARKET FORCES had a lot of thematic similarities (vis-a-vi the internal conflicts faced by both Chris and Kovacs), as well as structural similarities (the set piece showdowns at the end -- Kovac's fought himself... Chris was fighting a possible version of himself, etc).
Sorry if this is mostly incoherent. I’m just kind of free associating.
I particularly liked the textual shout out to Nun's "Tapping the Source". I recently read that book on Lucius Shepard’s recommendation, and loved it. The Guru/suffers’ strange relationship to violence and coercion in 1970’s Huntington Beach (in TAPPING..) resonated wonderfully with WOKEN FURIES, and the conflicting currents of philosophy and revolution that run throughout the Harlen’s world backdrop.
Good show, Richard. Keep up the good work!
|Posted on Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - 02:44 pm: |
Thanks Jeremy - yeah TTS has one of the most sensuously intense opening paragraphs of any novel I can remember reading - you can almost smell the engine oil and feel the desert heat. And that's before we get anywhere near any actual surfing or even water. Nunn's very good on the peeling-paint seediness of a surftown as well. Definitely a class one inspiration.
The self-conflict theme does carry over a little from MF, it's true (as do a lot of the neoliberal aspects, though here they're more muted and less centre stage than in MF). Basically, I was asking myself what a man like Kovacs could possibly still be afraid of once he'd really gone off the deep end - and the answer of course is himself.
|Posted on Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - 04:49 pm: |
VERY SLIGHT, but possible spoiler alert.... no specifics, but the generalities might detract from your appreciation of WF's subtleties.....
I thought the "mcguffin" of what/who/why Kovacs was killing at the beginning of the book was expertly done. Initial expectations (based on the previous two books) suggest there was some kind of crime/super-spy counterinsurgency thing going on.
As we get more and more info, Just how far gone Kovacs is comes slowly into focus.
This is just another example of one of the carefully constructed threads that made WF such a pleasure to read. And it also played against the “reintroduction” of a certain character who shows up I disguise. And the Panthers!! Shit. I better stop. I’m going to start gibbering again.
As for Nunn… Yeah. His prose is so evocative. Sensual is the perfect description. I owe Lucius a beer or two for turning me on to his work.
|Posted on Sunday, June 26, 2005 - 04:14 am: |
Gosh, another humdinger! I don’t think I could write a dozen of your pages, even if I cranked up the neurochem, and wore the sleeve of the ‘Ender’s Game’ Orson Scot Card!! As someone else said, a technique you’ve completely mastered is to have Kovacs doing and saying things which sometimes are justified by our later knowledge – and sometimes not. You constantly keep the reader off their feet, because at times we cannot empathise with the protagonist (though I confess I salivated at the priest slaughtering – yes, yes, I know I shouldn’t, it’s totally unjustifiable, but I spent a long time in Arabia!) For example, Jack Soul Brasil is presented as a real hero, and yet Kovacs comes to actively dislike him, and I began to dislike Kovacs for disliking Brasil, wondering why – but that of course IS real life, we don’t always admire what maybe we think we should: and it’s true that with most revolutions, the pigs really do end up walking on two feet. The world you create is vast and self-consistent, and I got completely immersed in it, (how are you able never to accidentally fall ‘out of’ the personality of Kovacs¿¿ - how many people been slaughtered when they interrupted you at yuour writing?) And for complexity of plot, and mind-blowing ideas, this challenges even Dan Simmons’ ‘Hyperion’. In such a vast undertaking, of course, a few things left a slight doubt – the Rila Crags episode in particular suggests a plot u-turn or even inconsistency (if our three really had launched an attack to get Silvie back, how could they have cancelled the slaughter of Mitzi Harlan within half an hour?), and I sometimes wonder how many Envoys there really are (only 14 in one year from Harlan’s World) – but there’s probably an answer I’ve missed somewhere. And, more important, all your Kovacs books are about much more than exciting adventures (though your skill at this is what keeps the fingers itching to turn the page) - they’re about power (usually commercial), the abuse of power, the inevitability of the abuse of power, and the pain that this inflicts. And the rage. Kovacs never SAYS nice things – but what remains after the plots are forgotten is precisely what Kovacs usually suppresses – feeling.
Er… if you’d care to send me a free ticket to the next swamp panther fight…
|Posted on Monday, June 27, 2005 - 10:37 am: |
Thanks Steve - much appreciated.
UH, FOR ANYONE ELSE, WOKEN FURY SPOILERS CONTAINED HEREAFTER.
yeah Jack Soul Brasil's the original Really Cool Guy; Kovacs mostly doesn't like him because he's fucking Virginia Vidaura, but the political faith doesn't help - Kovacs is pretty much incapable of feeling faith in anything, so it pisses him off when he encounters it in other people, usually in direct proportion to the extent to which the faith encounterd requires the suspension of intelligent critical thought (which is close to my own attitude, esp vis a vis religion and strong political faith). So it was inevitable that there'd be a clash between the two men as the possibility of a real neo-Quellist uprising came on.
re your queries - the Rila Crags gig was always conceived as a stupendous bluff (the Envoy stock-in-trade) and a misdirect for Harlan's security services. A genuine assault was never viable, but the Harlanites, informed by a younger, more arrogant Kovacs, believed it might be. Kovacs (our Kovacs) successfully second-guessed them. If the trick had failed, Mitzi Harlan would either have died or been kept as a future bargaining counter, but the Rila party would have all died or been taken for interrogation. Brasil and Tres accepted this as the price of success for the Quellist cause, Kovacs just hoped he'd get away with it intact.
how many Envoys are there? a few thousand at most - but, as I hope I showed, you don't really need that many to wreak massive mayhem on your enemies and keep everyone else shit scared.
|Posted on Wednesday, June 29, 2005 - 05:28 am: |
Thanks for the clarifications. I kind of suspected (from all your other comments on other threads)that Kovacs' attitude to idealistic revolutionaries (and, obviously, to the sicker forms of religion) wasn't just the character speaking.
And sorry, I never thought about spoilers: bloody senility! Re-reading, though, doesn't give too much away, and that message will soon get lost among all the others.
After a break with ligher stuff, I'll tackle Market Forces (the two books were just sitting there in a Madrid bookshop) - be fascinating to see the TONE of a non-Kovacs narrator.
|Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 08:12 am: |
I can just join in on the good remarks on Woken Furies here. I must say that it fulfilled my expectations and then some. Interesting with the concept of keeping copies of people to “use if needed”.
Even since I read AC I’ve wondered why the Envoy Corps don’t keep copies of the especially valuable soldiers. I even asked Richard about that concept a while ago. Never thought about the possibility of keeping illegal copies though. Nice touch.
After the quite interesting ending of WF, the inevitable question will be: will we meet mr Kovacs again?
|Posted on Saturday, November 26, 2005 - 06:14 am: |
Just finished 'Woken Furies' and very much enjoyed it. I had to wonder (trying to avoid spoilers) if a good punishment for misogynists might have been a female resleeve! Nice one.
|Posted on Saturday, November 26, 2005 - 09:04 am: |
I always wonder about people who click on the link to a thread about a particular book and then are freaked when they find spoilers. I expect them. There's only so much you can say about a novel without spoilers. I've been on boards where there are massive flamewars over spoilers and just shake my head. Spoilers don't bother me -- they pique my interest in a novel. But maybe that's just me. When I was young, I always tried to find out beforehand what presents my parents bought me for Christmas as well, so . . .
The notion of re-sleeving a mysogynist in a woman's body is making me all the more interested. Not that I need much prompting to buy "Woken Furies." I seem to recall that Kovacs was resleeved in a female body once -- so he could appreciate the rape-murder form of torture or am I imagining?
Will go out to buy it tomorrow -- I have been under the weather with the dread lurgy or I would have bought it yesterday. I finished re-reading "Broken Angels" on Thursday night and need MORE KOVACS!
|Posted on Saturday, November 26, 2005 - 11:05 am: |
Thanks Neal. Female resleeving certainly would be a more *poetic* punishment for mysogynists than swamp panthers - just not as violently unpleasant - and you know how Kovacs is......
Sue - hope you'll like it. I poured pretty much everything I had left of Kovacs into this one.
|Posted on Saturday, November 26, 2005 - 02:22 pm: |
I heard that Richard. I'm sure all Kovacs fans are dismayed at the prospect of his retirement.
I went out and bought "Woken Furies" and have started reading. Can't imagine I'll be disappointed, except when there's nothing to read afterwards. I agree that novel series can get bloated and lose their appeal after, oh, say, 12 books. But 3?
As to the resleeving, the mysogynist should get one with particularly bad PMS.
|Posted on Sunday, November 27, 2005 - 09:16 am: |
With the retirement of Kovacs, does this mean we can look forward to a heroic fantasy series featuring a protagonsit with an "alternate lifestyle?"
sorry I missed you when you were on tour. Once again, I was on the road when you were in San Francisco.
|Posted on Sunday, November 27, 2005 - 11:56 am: |
If only they could have been dropped into a female sleeve and the cortical stack removed and destroyed. This is it bud, live with it. Of course in the society you depict they would be able to go off and get a new stack and eventually a new body. Then again, it was all in the hands of a criminal organisation, so to make it doubly poetic they could have then been forced into prostitution.
Yeah, Kovacs is a bit of a violence junky - not sure I believe he's kicked the habit yet...
|Posted on Friday, August 25, 2006 - 12:27 am: |
Just finished WF- thankyou for another excellent book. Stayed awake until 02:00, despite knowing I had an 06:00 start, because I didn't want to stop turning the pages.
Will miss old Kovacs if thats the last we see of him. But I reckon your talent for complex plots, character consistency and ability to produce addictive writing will keep us all coming back for more
Just got one curious question : Is Jack Soul Brasil any relation to the Quake player of the same name (grin)
|Posted on Friday, August 25, 2006 - 02:08 am: |
Thanks for the kind words, Liz - much appreciated.
So I'm inspiring Quake players - I suppose that's flattering as well in its own peculiar way.