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Author Topic: New Stephen Donaldson: Anyone reading?  (Read 2832 times)
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Mudfrost
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« on: October 14, 2004, 11:22:29 PM »

After 21 years, Stephen Donaldson has released a new book in the Thomas Covenant series -- just released today. Man, I read this series back in the 80s and liked them a lot (the first three) but I wonder how this new book will fit in.

If anyone has picked it up and started reading, I'd like to get your impressions. I hope Donaldson is on his game.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0399152326/qid=1097803546/sr=2-1/ref=pd_ka_b_2_1/104-1984321-8731147
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Crusis
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« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2004, 11:38:05 PM »

Long time GG lurker, first time poster smile

I have been a fan of the Thomas Covenant books since I was just a kid.  I can't believe after all this time he finally got back to what is one of the most memorable (at least for me) series I ever read.  Few series have ever kept me so enraptured as the TC books (save Steven Ericson, Glenn Cook and GRR Martin).  

That said, I am also keenly awaiting any feedback on the new book.  I'm so tempted to dig around in my garage and find my old paperbacks - they must be 15 or 20 years old by now.
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Juntei
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« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2004, 11:45:05 PM »

I read these books back in the 80s as well, and well maybe it's just me or maybe I was too young then to really understand but I don't see the fascination with this series. Maybe I need to re-read it but I don't really like a main character who's that negative and hate's themselves to that degree. I don't remember a lot other than the self loathing of Thoman Covenant and having to basically force myself to finish the second trilogy.
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Mudfrost
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« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2004, 11:51:36 PM »

Crusis,
Hang on to those old paperbacks! The new edition covers are terribly boring.
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ericb
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« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2004, 12:32:35 AM »

Crap forgot all about it.  I'm planning on getting it but I'm not reading it right away.  I don't think I can handle reading what is book 1 of 4 and then having to wait months for the next and so on.  I trying to wait for all three but I'll be lucky to wait for the 2nd before I break down.
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Siljanus
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« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2004, 01:20:55 AM »

Cool.  Didn't know that it had finally been released.  Thanks for the heads up (sorry no impressions as of yet)
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Zathras
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« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2004, 03:55:43 AM »

I may have to pick that up.  Let us know if its any good.  

It may be a bit before I get to it though.  I still need to finish Johanathan Strange, and The System of The World.
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whipsnade
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« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2004, 05:59:45 PM »

FYI, according to his official website, he's doing a book tour starting tomorrow.  I'm planning on picking up my copy then.

In re: the book, I have reasonably high hopes for it given my like of the prior two series and his other work.
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JayG
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« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2004, 09:27:38 PM »

I've just ordered it from Amazon.co.uk. Can't wait.
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Crusis
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« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2004, 07:33:53 AM »

Time to break out some old Donaldson books - book signing on Sunday in Seattle at the University Bookstore if anyone lives around these parts.  I will definitely be picking up the new one now.
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whipsnade
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« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2004, 07:44:39 PM »

Crusis - That's the very signing I went to.  Did you go to that signing?  It was rather interesting to hear him candidly speak about the publishers he's dealt with as well as hearing his opinions on some of the more popular SF/Fantasy authors of today.  You can get a lot of the same information/anecdotes from his Q & A section, but it was cool to see him in the flesh.
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Crusis
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« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2004, 06:07:29 PM »

I didn't go - at the last minute my friend backed out.  Did he talk about Steven Erikson's work?  For a while I have suspected that he was influenced to get back into fantasy by Stevenson's work since he praises it so often (Stevenson is just about the best fantasy writer out there today IMHO).

So what surprised you about him?  What were some of his better Q&A's?  I wish I had gone but it is a 90+ mile round trip to get there and when my friend backed out at the last minute I just stayed in bed.  

Oh what other fantasy writers does he like?
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Jaddison
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« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2004, 08:27:34 PM »

started reading, quite good...but he is such a dark man, anyone read the Gap series?  Read them all and kept wondering how dark they could get..and they always got darker...lol.
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Big Jake
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« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2004, 11:27:02 PM »

I always thought the Gap series had a fairly lame ending given that he built to it for several books.   It started off VERY strong though.  

Cmon, someone say if the new Covenant book is any good.  I can't imagine it would be, but you never know.
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Jaddison
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« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2004, 01:25:14 AM »

I take it you did not like the forst two trilogys then?  For me they gave me characters I have never forgotten.  

Would think if your mindset it most likely isn't good then that is the book you will read regardless of anyone elses opinion.
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Big Jake
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« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2004, 02:19:17 AM »

I loved the first trilogy.  I remember 10X as much from it as I did Tolkein.
  Second was good.  That's it, good.  

Now this coming so much later screams to me "I want some money!" rather than, "Well, I imagined this was the long term effects of the anti-hero..."

Some people think I'm negative, I just think I'm realistic.
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Jaddison
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« Reply #16 on: October 26, 2004, 02:39:35 AM »

The only books I have read that out and out sucked were the 3 Terry Goodkind novels I forced myself to read...hoping they would get better never thinking they would get worse and worse.

I have never been able to slug my way through one Robert Jordan novel, don't think they are that badly written, they just never grabbed me.

I have become a huge fan of George R. R. Martin, i keep thinking I know what is going to happen and he keeps killing off characters.
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whipsnade
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« Reply #17 on: October 26, 2004, 03:19:58 AM »

Quote from: "Crusis"
I didn't go - at the last minute my friend backed out.  Did he talk about Steven Erikson's work?  For a while I have suspected that he was influenced to get back into fantasy by Stevenson's work since he praises it so often (Stevenson is just about the best fantasy writer out there today IMHO).


I don't think Erikson was mentioned during the session.

Quote
So what surprised you about him?  What were some of his better Q&A's?  I wish I had gone but it is a 90+ mile round trip to get there and when my friend backed out at the last minute I just stayed in bed.


Just that he actually didn't hold back in dissing Terry Brooks or Piers Anthony, or sugar coating his experience with Lester del Ray's insistence that female protagonists just don't work.  I guess I expected him to be more reserved in that regard simply because he might have trouble with them down the line.

Notable QA Points -
* He writes these incredibly dark & flawed characters out of "writing what he knows".  Evidently, his parents had a wonderful gift of saddling him with guilt that he didn't get over until he was in his 20's.
* He has no conscious agenda when writing his novels.  He might pick things up subconsciously, but all he consciously tries to do while writing is to be true to his characters.  (This was brought up in response to a question about corporate power in the Gap series.)

Quote
Oh what other fantasy writers does he like?

There were a few names, but I'm afraid they went in one ear and out the other.
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Crusis
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« Reply #18 on: October 26, 2004, 07:31:02 AM »

Thanks for the reply Whipsnade.  I have a Steven Erikson Novella that is signed by Erikson and oddly enough Donaldson as well (his forward is signed).  I guess if I had gone I would have asked him about the SE books cause I find them to be my favorite fantasy novels of the last 20 years.  GRR Martin is up there too of course smile

I finished the new Covenant book over the weekend and WOW what a cliff hanger!  No spoilers though, just - WOW.  During one of Donaldson's interviews he indicated he has not even started on the next book yet so I guess we have a long wait.  Oh well lots of books to be read in the mean time.

Anyone else read the new R. Scot Baker book called 'The Darkness that Comes Before'?  Good stuff, nice and dark.

-Crusis
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Gratch
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« Reply #19 on: November 02, 2004, 05:28:25 PM »

I just started my first Thomas Covenant book (Lord Foul's Bane) this week.  I actually thought I had picked up the wrong book for the first couple chapters, but now that it's gotten to the "fantasy" bit I can't put it down.  Very cool stuff!

I have to admit, it's a bit jarring going from the morally clear-cut characters in Greg Keyes "The Charnel Prince" (which is fantastic, btw) to Covenant's type of character.
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Haavok1
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« Reply #20 on: November 02, 2004, 06:01:21 PM »

Just returned it to the library today.  Liked it but sometimes there is too much angst, I know that is a running theme but everyone has incredible dilemmas and no one seems to be flexible to anything.  Now time travel is involved.

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Thomas Covenant returns at the end.
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Crusis
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« Reply #21 on: November 02, 2004, 08:05:12 PM »

Spoiler
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Thomas Covenant returns at the end.[/quote]

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I wonder if it is really him, at one part doesn't he speak through the old guy and say "don't trust me, I'm dead" or something to that effect?  Then again this is the "LAst chronicles of Thomas Covenant" so I imagine he will have to show up at some point.   Cool
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morlac
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« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2004, 08:10:21 PM »

Covneant?  Trying to rember...did he write those fantasy novels about the Leper and his all powerfull white gold ring?  Or am I off my rocker?
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dangerballs
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« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2004, 08:36:14 PM »

For some reason, everytime I see this thread I see Sam Donaldson in the title and I think why would anyone want to read that?  But anyways, I have the first TC book, but I've never gotten around to reading it.  Maybe soon.
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morlac
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« Reply #24 on: November 02, 2004, 08:39:53 PM »

NM Looked him up.  I'm not crazy except I confused the character with the author smile.  I've read the series, I even have an accompining Atlas that has detailed maps/drawings of every location in the novels. The atlas is really nice and an excellent visual for the novels.  My then brother-in-law was a huge fan and bought them for me.  That ws loooong ago.  I enjoyed them!  Take 2 parts lord of the rings 1 part greatest american hero(bungling hero not sure how to use his powers) add a heavy sprinkle of self loathing and viola!
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Crusis
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« Reply #25 on: November 03, 2004, 12:36:16 AM »

Yeah Covenant is really one of the greatest anti-hero's ever.  Most of my favorite parts of the books is when he is forced to come to grips with and use his power.  Or scenes like in the first novel where they are interrogating him and he rips the ring off his chest (where it was taped) and everyone freaks out and bows down before him.  All the while is whining that he doesn't want the power at all.

I love the part where he calls the sand-gorgon to rip the doors of Revelstone so he can finally deal out some righteous retribution hehe.

-Crusis
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