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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Discussions About Orson Scott Card » Pastwatch - Good or Bad?

   
Author Topic: Pastwatch - Good or Bad?
tolsti
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Ok, having only been a reader of this forum for a short while, I have noticed that there is a huge focus on OSC's Ender's Game series, but little such focus on much of his other writings - many of which I think deserve discussion or at least praise. Listen, if OSC hadn't written Ender, this forum would still probably exist, because OSC has written so much other good stuff. Pastwatch, IMHO, is a great book, one that has captivated me since I was a teenager, and one that I think is worthy of some great praise. But, there appear to be many here that think otherwise.

Why is that?

I read in one of the other recent topics that people have a hard time swallowing the time paradox, the idea that the indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica would have conquered Europe, etc. What do you love/hate about the book?

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Stone_Wolf_
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I really liked Pastwatch, had no problem with any of the premises and enjoyed the characters very much, even on reread.
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tolsti
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I especially like the way OSC completely side-steps the science in the fiction, and focuses entirely on the characters and the story-telling.
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mr_porteiro_head
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Pastwatch is one of my favorite OSC books.

I really like how time travel works in it too in avoiding the paradox problem -- it's one of the few that I've read that didn't seem patently absurd.

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BlackBlade
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Chalk me up as a fan. At first blush the book seems a bit slow, and moving in a strange direction. The last 1/4th though was good, better than good, it was fantastic.
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Jeff C.
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From what I've seen, some people don't like it because it completely wipes out an entire world of people in what could amount to as a fruitless attempt to save the Earth.

Personally, I thought it was awesome, but there you go.

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tolsti
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Jeff:

Yeah, I had read that a few times, but I thought OSC did a good job of showing that the population was on its way to being wiped out all together anyways. That was the whole point of Manjam's character - to take away Tagiri's moral dilema - it's going to happen anyway, might as well give us another chance.

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tolsti
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Thanks to everybody who contributed so far.

I first read this book when I was only 16 or something, and it has always struck me (as much of OSC's stuff does) on a very subconscious or at least emotional level. I relate very well to OSC's characters - either because they embody my desires of what I would hope I could do, or they show me the limitations, or even the evils to avoid in my own character. Having just re-read the Ender series, my next obvious choice was Pastwatch - and with it fresh in my mind, I looked for some way to discuss it with someone.

Problem is, even though I have recommended this book for the past 14 years to everyone I could, I never have had the chance to discuss it with anybody else. And here I find this forum discussing everything OSC, and I find that most of it is Enderverse, and the few discussions I found on Pastwatch were not what I expected. So, I thought I'd find out why so little discussion about it - and why so many people have problems with it. Maybe I was missing something, maybe I could see it from another perspective. Or, maybe I could at least achieve my goal of discussing the book with like-minded individuals. I hope to get that at some point.

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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
Originally posted by tolsti:
I especially like the way OSC completely side-steps the science in the fiction, and focuses entirely on the characters and the story-telling.

Like the way most people now a days don't know or care how a car works. It works, it's part of our culture and enables us to live as we do, and yet we only really think about how cars work when they aren't working.
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Jeff C.
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I think it's because back in the day, all you needed to do in order to have a good scifi story was to come up with one scientific idea that stood out and was interesting, then explain it in detail and run with it. It was a very closed niche of literature, much moreso than scifi is today. However, nowadays authors realize that they're writing for people who don't necessarily care that much about the details. I think OSC understands this, so he rarely gets too involved in that stuff, at least from what I've seen.
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
I think it's because back in the day, all you needed to do in order to have a good scifi story was to come up with one scientific idea that stood out and was interesting, then explain it in detail and run with it.
In other words, back in the day, they didn't have good scifi stories. [Wink]
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Seatarsprayan
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Pastwatch may be the best novel OSC has ever written. Used to be Ender's Game but all the sequels have watered the impact of that down... Pastwatch stands alone and is a masterpiece.
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