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Viewpoints Critical: Selected Stories de L.…
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Viewpoints Critical: Selected Stories (edició 2008)

de L. E. Modesitt

Sèrie: Corean Chronicles (prequel short story), Ecolitan (prequel short story), Ghost Stories {Modesitt} (2.5 - short story), Saga of Recluce Chronology (short story), Saga of Recluce (short stories)

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1182179,680 (3.23)1
This is the first story collection ever from the bestselling fantasy and science fiction writer L. E. Modesitt, Jr. He began publishing as a short story writer in the SF magazines in the 1970s, mostly in "Analog." Some of the earliest stories are kernels for his early SF novels, others display the wide range of his talents and interests, from satire to military adventure. This collection includes selections of stories from his entire career, as well as three new stories that have never been published before: "Black Ordermage," set in the world of Modesitt's bestselling Recluce series; "Beyond the Obvious Wind," set in his Corean Chronicles universe; and "Always Outside the Lines," which is related to the Ghosts of Columbia books.… (més)
Membre:bibliojim
Títol:Viewpoints Critical: Selected Stories
Autors:L. E. Modesitt
Informació:Tor Books (2008), Hardcover, 352 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:***1/2
Etiquetes:hc

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Viewpoints Critical de L. E. Modesitt

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Modessit is one of my favorite authors & this is the only collection of his short stories that I'm aware of. These cover the gamut of his work & were interesting to read. There is a Recluse series story included. ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Sep 25, 2009 |
'Viewpoints Critical: Selected Stories' is a collection of fantasy and science fiction short stories by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. Most if not all the stories are at least reasonably good, but they are vastly different from each other, and because of this, for any reader there are bound to be some stories the reader will love, and some that will go largely unappreciated. They cover the author's entire career and include his first published story (dated 1973), but about 75% are copyrighted 2000 or later.

As a reader, I could easily divide the stories into two groups: those incorporating significant amounts of technobabble, and those that don't. If there is any doubt as to what technobabble means, here is the start of one of the more extreme technobabble stories:

1559. Khorbel deJahn slid into the dim pod, sensies flicking to Duty Ops-Con. "Up-what, sir?"
"You're last, Tech deJahn. Chimbats," replied the major. "Nu-type. Sensies haven't seen. Take over from Hennessy. Third seat."
Leastwise, no scroaches. Dejahn link-pulsed.
Hennesy blinked, unlinked, and stood. "You got it, deJahn."
"Got it."
Hennesy had left the sensie-seat hot, damp. Dejahn wiped it with the cloth he always brought. Still hated taking over a hot seat. Leastwise, he was beside Meralez. Her eyes were open, link-blank. Sexy eyes when she was in her skull, not like now.

Personally, I find that kind of writing pretty obtuse. Upon reading that segment six times in a row, I can puzzle out what most of it means. When the entire story reads like that, I don't enjoy it. In fact, I skipped that particular story because the writing is like that throughout. I like to understand every sentence without having to extrapolate some meaning, guessing based on something else I've read or seen elsewhere. On the other hand, that's strictly personal preference. For some people, that's world-building, and there are some readers who absolutely love it. If you're one of them, there are some utterly fantastic stories here for you.

But if you're not one of them, there are still some really wonderful stories here for you. The author has had published over forty books - well over half fantasy, though most of these stories are SF - and knows his business well. Here's the skinny on these stories with a few personal thoughts.

*************
The Great American Economy - the author's first published story. A sort of mystery involving computer crime. In 1972, it would have been an eye-opening SF tale. In 2008 its interest is limited to that of any decent mystery; it doesn't seem like SF at all any more. There is an engaging protagonist I enjoyed. Fun reading.

Second Coming - one of the technobabble stories. The author says he liked it from the beginning, but I had a hard time figuring out what was going on, including in the very important parts, and didn't like it much. There are some interesting verbal images, though.

Rule of Law - at this story's heart is a heck of an idea! Hopefully it will never be practiced. Another computer-based story involving a sort of AI programming in the legal arena. It was published in 1981. It's still a pretty advanced thought in 2008. This author has some brilliant ideas and insights. As a story, I found too many side issues thrown in that got in the way of the interesting parts, so it could have been better in my opinion. Still, it was definitely worth reading.

Iron Man, Plastic Ships - the first story in the book where you find yourself really caring about the characters. A space tale of a man standing up for his principles. The title of the story clues you in to the general idea.

Power To...? - A story about global warming written in 1990!!! An interesting take on it, though it doesn't quite resonate with today's concerns. Not surprising, for a story so far ahead of its time. Apart from the main premise, the plot involves a goodly amount of scientific politics which some may enjoy, some may not.

Precision Set - A really wonderful SF story with deep currents. Manipulation of athletic abilities to the point where athletic competition is virtually between machines. It has a drawback, that it takes a while to get a handle on what the story is intending to be about, and in fact I wasn't sure I totally understood before it ended. For this story, that was completely all right. It's one of those stories that pulls you in deeply and does not let go. It ended far too soon.

Fallen Angel - Another story with depth. Another story where you care very much about the characters. Their emotions come through clearly. Frustratingly, another story where it is just too difficult to understand exactly what is going on, and in this story, the positive aspects of reading it didn't make up for the frustration, for me. Another reader may have understood it better, and that reader will probably find this story a highly memorable gem. The author writes "it was one of those stories I *had* to write," and the sense of meaningfulness comes through strongly.

Black Ordermage - This story is pure fantasy. The author's preface is, "Over the years, a number of readers of the Recluce Saga have asked about Cassius, and how he came to Recluce. Well... here's the answer..." The story doesn't really go anywhere and I didn't find it worth reading even though the characterization is solid and there is an intriguing concept of linking between individuals. It probably would indeed be of interest to those readers who kept asking about Cassius, but not necessarily to others.

Understanding - The author writes of this fantasy story, "It was originally written for an anthology, but the anthologist rejected it as too misogynistic. So I submitted it to a well-known magazine, where it was promptly rejected as ultrafeminist. It was finally published without labels in Canada." An interesting introduction, and the story supports the lead-in comments. It's quite interesting to interpret the opposite criticisms of the story after reading it! The author generally does a pretty good job of not telling the reader what he is supposed to think, and tends to limit himself to telling a good story. This was one where the author's personal opinions clearly shaped the story, and his skill in story-telling still left two editors uncertain about where the author stands in this area! As a story, it was pretty interesting. The role of sexual politics in bureaucracy - some people don't get it, until understanding is come by the hard way. I would venture to say the story is feminist, though "ultra" - well... decide for yourself.

News Clips Recovered From the NYC Ruins - A story told through fictional newspaper articles about the demise of the U.S. as a world power. Not much fun to read, because too many of the articles could be on their way to your hometown paper's front page any time now. But then, it wasn't intended to be fun to read. Highly thoughtful and quietly dramatic.

Beyond the Obvious Wind - This is a mystery-fantasy. I thought it was a wonderful story, providing great entertainment. And it's one of the longest stories in the book, a nice bonus. A really neat protagonist, a plot that constantly held interest, and a highly satisfying resolution.

Always Outside the Lines: Four Battles - This was a confusing story, a "concept story" which, in my opinion, didn't work out very well. Four separate plot lines, parallel in different times, but the amount of detail and meat of plot was too uneven between the different alternative times, and the parallelism wasn't clear enough to support the concept, either. Could have skipped it.

The Pilots - This is a fantasy story honoring sacrifice. It raises the spectre of war and asks its meaning. The means of telling is highly effective and the clever merging of fantasy world with our world makes for an unusual story.

The Dock to Heaven - Another technobabble story. Still, enjoyable enough to keep one going. Another one a little too confusing to figure out exactly what the point was, though, but fun enough anyway. Worth reading? Debatable.

Ghost Mission - I kept getting the feeling there was some part of the protagonist's history I was missing and needed to be filled in on before I could totally connect with this story, but I never got that bit of information. Good action and an interesting idea, but it didn't quite hang together 100%. I didn't feel that 90% was good enough.

Spec-Ops - this was saturated throughout with technobabble and I gave up reading it after two pages. Someone else might have a different experience.

Sisters of Sarronnyn, Sisters of Westwind - This was a highly interesting fantasy story beginning to end, but because it came to an end with very little sense of conflict resolution, it was ultimately lacking in impact. The author wrote of it, "After thirteen novels about Recluse, this was the first story I'd ever written in that world, and all because Eric Flint asked me to do so." As a story it didn't seem strong enough, almost like it was written to order (which, golly, it apparently was), but it's plenty good enough to make me want to take a look at those Recluce novels...

The Difference - Another computer story. Meaningful, but somehow it doesn't quite deliver the punch it means to - the last line is totally enigmatic if you don't have a background for the reference: "'My role?' Suzanne Ferrara smiled sadly. 'Someone had to stand up for you. Call me Lilith... or Lucile.'" That's the only mention of Lilith or Lucile in this book that I could recall. What's it mean? Sheesh. Frustrating.

The Swan Pilot - My word, what a fabulous story!!! Especially if you're Irish and proud of it, in which case I think it is worth the whole book, a must read, take my word for it. Wow. Space flight via spiritual insight and grappling with inner demons.
*************

In summary, the variety of stories, running the gamut of fantasy and science fiction, humor and great seriousness, straight narrative versus newpaper excerpts versus experimentation with parallel plot lines, leaves one never knowing what to expect from the next tale. Depending on how in tune you are with the author's thoughts, there are some number of stories that may leave you confused. The author writes that only one of the stories has a main character who did not appear in any of his novels, and the larger background apart from the stories probably contributes greatly to the confusion of some. However, on balance the book seems worth reading even without the larger background. Stories such as 'Beyond the Obvious Wind', 'The Swan Pilot', and 'Precision Set' will not soon be forgotten. Some others may resonate with your psyche as well. Due to the impediments to understanding which I encountered with several stories, I only rate this book at 3.5, but I would nevertheless encourage one to seek it out for the cream of its crop, which is about as good as you'll find anywhere. If you are well-acquainted with this excellent writer's novels, you will no doubt find it a 'Viewpoints Critical' a great reading experience. I've not read any of the author's many novels, but now hope to give some of them a try. ( )
1 vota bibliojim | Aug 2, 2008 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
L. E. Modesittautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Paolantonio, VanessaDissenyador de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Picacio,JohnAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat

Pertany a aquestes sèries

Corean Chronicles (prequel short story)
Ecolitan (prequel short story)
Ghost Stories {Modesitt} (2.5 - short story)
Saga of Recluce (short stories)
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This is the first story collection ever from the bestselling fantasy and science fiction writer L. E. Modesitt, Jr. He began publishing as a short story writer in the SF magazines in the 1970s, mostly in "Analog." Some of the earliest stories are kernels for his early SF novels, others display the wide range of his talents and interests, from satire to military adventure. This collection includes selections of stories from his entire career, as well as three new stories that have never been published before: "Black Ordermage," set in the world of Modesitt's bestselling Recluce series; "Beyond the Obvious Wind," set in his Corean Chronicles universe; and "Always Outside the Lines," which is related to the Ghosts of Columbia books.

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