Pat was probably my favorite character; her and Danny journeying to Duat was probably my favorite part of the novel. I've read some less-positive reviews on Goodreads about that section, but honestly, I actually like Card's darker and more philosophical novels the best. Xenocide, Wyrms, Hart's Hope - that's the fun stuff.
Still, after listening to the audiobook afterword, I do hope OSC gets around to writing more about the history of Westil some day. Just do a Silmarillion thing, man.
I found Pat and Veevee's talk about 'what to believe' surprisingly emotional. OSC says he's been researching the background for this series for decades, and I'd be curious to know if any works on mythology and religious history had a particular influence on his writing.
Bulfinch's Mythology was of course repeatedly mentioned, along with Campbell and Jung (though Card is on record as not caring for those guys much, to say the least), but what else? Enchantment referenced some folklorists, and I recall a column talking about a history of Albania that had info on the Indo-European Pelasgian Gods, but I wonder if Card was at all influenced by folks like Mircea Eliade, Robert Graves, James Frazer, Jane Harrison, Lord Raglan, Santillana & Dechend, etc? Hugh Nibley is probably saturated deep in the mix, I'm sure, (and I'm wondering about Card's opinion of One Eternal Round or The Ancient State if he's read 'em - some of the 'Cowsister' stuff was reminding me of Hathor) but any other prominent Biblical scholars? There's a review of Patai's Hebrew Goddess on this site somewhere, and some mentions in the Women of Genesis series, but I think I recall another review column with Card saying he doesn't usually review the more obscure history he reads because the general readership wouldn't consider them interesting enough. But, well, y'know, we're a bunch of bookish nerds at Hatrack, so why not plug 'em here? (I started reading John Crowley after a Card review, and the Aegypt cycle has definitely enriched my life, so the reviews have some effect!)
I'm also interested in how his LDS background informs his reading of religious history, and how that in turn informed this series - in a lot of ways, I think the radical philosophical materialism of Mormonism and Joseph Smith's King Follett cosmology seem far more harmonious with 'humanism' or 'atheism' than the more transcendental religious traditions based on Prime Mover Ground Of All Being -type philosophies, though without losing the concept of divinity. (Which is a very cool thing to pull off, in my book.)
I don't know if it was Card's intent, but it seemed to me that by incorporating and 'explaining' all Gods from every tradition into the same humanistic/anthropomorphic worldview, as this story does, it might actually go some way toward reconciling different conflicts based on more strictly absolutist monotheistic premises by positing that all Gods, fictional or no, are ultimately 'humans' raised from the same worldwide species. There is actually quite a critique of traditional western religion (both 'Semitic' and 'Indo-European') underlying these books. I especially appreciated the emphasis in Duat on the power of persuasion and loving service over coercion and violence - Card claims he has no 'feminism' program, but to me (and maybe I'm just reading this into it) the entire series reads like one long plea against rape, with Set being the archetypal Possessor, and Danny (himself abused by Lana) refusing to become like the rapacious Gods of history invaded by Set and forced to invade Nikki (though I do wish there had been more 'soap opera' resolution between Pat, Nikki, Danny and the child - felt a little rushed).
Anyway. Point is: good read.
And maybe if we're extra nice, Herr Author won't give us the usual 'I don't like analyzing my own work for influences' riff.
Posts: 1587 | Registered: Feb 2003
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I have to disagree. Lost Gate was a pretty good book (as was Pathfinder), Gate Thief was sliding towards disaster (as was Ruins), and Gatefather was awful (as was Visitors).
I love so many of Card's books and short stories. I've gone through a couple copies of some of them on rereads and encouraged many friends and family members to read them.
These two series were awful. Stilted dialog that pulled me out of the story repeatedly, no idea where the stories were going, haphazard magic systems with rules made up as they went along.
A part of me believes that someone else must have written these, but some of Card's voice is there. I have no idea how these things came to be published in his name, but he should be well and truly embarrassed.
I forced myself through to the end of both series, each time thinking that there must be some payoff.
I know this is his site, and maybe the wrong place to post something like this, but I think it's important that people who treasure his books not read these series. Go back and reread just about anything else he's written instead and you'll be happier for it. Except Empire.
Posts: 49 | Registered: Sep 2011
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Gate Thief was sliding towards disaster ...Yes but Gatefather saved it. I liked Gate father a lot...OK....I did not see the rape thing and i don't think there is anything there but I'm no Feud...
I was wondering if anyone else had thoughts about Set possible being a manage rather than a Lost Soul. He opened the door with Annoei and her two sons..They basically have the same exact power as set, yet he turned out not to have ever been human?...In the end I actually liked it...Made it more ...epic i suppose
And, I don't know about you, but Card's idea of heaven is kinda what i had already imagined it to be, just without the magic of course. Could be the next religion...lol..
Posts: 10 | Registered: Nov 2013
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I tend to agree with OP and Ender772 - the middle volume was a bit off for me, but the last one brought it back to fun. I do think there was a bit more of a similarity to Children of the Mind and Xenocide in the worldbuilding, but it was still a bit of a new spin.
The free will/rape element works well, I think. I really liked that Danny refused to be a Zeus or Apollo, carelessly destroying mortal lives with children.
I still think Enchantment is the tighter, more emotionally satisfying book using similar "modern mythology" ideas, though. That's such a great book.
Posts: 398 | Registered: Nov 2006
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