Monday, July 31, 2006

Family Trade

Moving on, I’m now reading Charles Stross’ “The Family Trade”.

Interesting seeing him play in the fantasy sandpit*. I really dug “Iron Sunrise” and his short fiction has always been infodensely entertaining, and just plain fun, but I wasn’t sure how “The Family Trade” would work. It unashamedly wears its influences on its sleeve and such good influences they are. Going by the few chapters I’ve read so far if you’re a fan of Zelazy’s Amber Books you’re going to like this.

Wishing I was getting down to Continuum, but I’m not.

*But not surprising, Charles Stross likes his multiple streams of sandpits.


Steve said...

I really wasn't that impressed by TFT ... I thought it was competent, but that Stross didn't push himself, or the reader enough. It didn't add anything new to the transported-to-another-world genre.

Trent Jamieson said...

Well, I'm enjoying it, even though I admit it is a pretty over-mined genre.

And from what I'd read, I don't think Stross was trying to push the envelope too hard with this one.

So you think it's too much "written by the numbers"?

I'm interested to see what novels in this genre you like?

My hands down favourite would have to be "The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant" though I couldn't get into the new series.

Steve said...

My favourites would probably be a series by often-remaindered author John Whitbourn, the Downs-Lord trilogy.

Chronicles of Thomas Covenant are ok.

A classic of the subgenre is The Neverending Story. Forget the movie.

Here's a relevant thread at Fantasybookspot, where I'm a reviewer:

Trent Jamieson said...

Ah, the Downs-Lord books. They were pretty cool - with one of the most cowardly heroes and a very odd mythos backing it up - if I remember correctly. I've only read the first two books, but I remember enjoying the first one quite a bit.

Steve said...

It took me a while to find the third volume - I expect that, as with Hugh Cook, there were lower print runs towards the end of the series.

I like it when authors do something different like that, although it usually isn't commercial.

Trent Jamieson said...

I'm actually beginning to think that The Family Trade is a little more original than you're giving it credit - even if from the purely mercantile angle.

But maybe that's me.

Steve said...

The mercantile angle was okay, but I didn't think startlingly original? What aspects of the book did you enjoy?

Trent Jamieson said...

I've still a few chapters to go, and things may shift dramatically, but I'm enjoying that the central concerns of the book, beyond one of identity,are focussed on the economics and politics of the world, rather, than say, a magical quest.

I'll reserve judgement until the end. It's been a fun read though, sure, it isn't crammed with the multitudes of say Hugh Cooks work, with its glorious witty invention, but it's a different thing.

BTW I'm interested, Steve, have you read Michael Shea's "Nifft the Lean"?

Steve said...

Yes, Nifft was one I'd always wanted to read, but never found a copy of, until a few years ago.

I should add it to the recommended reading page of my site ...