Discussion - Knave of Dreams
#1
https://www.tor.com/2020/03/30/sliding-f...of-dreams/
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#2
This book has finally percolated to the top of the to-be-read pile.l

Having done so, I was a bit disappointed. Oh it's OK, but I realize why I don't re-read it very often.

Once you get past the "set up" chapters of how American Ramsey ends up as Kaskar, there is the standard "arrival on a new planet" sort of story that Norton does so well.

The young man arrives on a "death bed", and is helped by the young woman he finds praying at his side. Ne needs to learn the language and the culture, fast. And he seems to have succeeded in what seems to me, impossibly fast. He takes on the persona of a last survivor of a blood feud. All of this while he just wants to go home (ruby slippers anyone?)

The holes in the plot include him not learning to read. The land has battles fought with swords, and large elk used to pull land transport, but flying ships that can easily drop into a small clearing that the elk-cart had been used.

Even the battle tactics are questionable. Ramsey joins some mercenaries, who have swords, small (glass) projectile weapons, and some sort of larger "vibration" machine. The enemy sends an enveloping fog - but through that is able to pinpoint bomb the larger machines (which are bunched in one place). A message bird is sent out, and in another point in the story, an actual messenger, but messages on 'wire' are mentioned. The technology is listed as being re-discovered after some sort of nuclear war. But that is not how science works; technology works on technology. If you can re-create a flying machine, you should also be able to use the technology to develop a land machine.

All the same, I am most interested in the main castle, with what appeared to be a secret passage (or was that just an empty hallway), and hidden chambers. This is the stuff my dreams are made.

Sadly, I found the ending implausible. People don't ……. Oh well, you will have to read for yourself.
Irene
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#3
(April 20th, 2020, 09:56 AM)Irene Wrote: The holes in the plot include him not learning to read. The land has battles fought with swords, and large elk used to pull land transport, but flying ships that can easily drop into a small clearing that the elk-cart had been used.

Haven't looked at this book in decades and I don't remember much about it.

But I don't think the use of draft-animals alongside flying vehicles is so unbelievable. We still use horses, donkeys, and cattle to draw carts and wagons all around the world - even here in the United States.

The circumstances of the fictional society may not hold up to close scrutiny but the idea that animal-drawn vehicles co-exist next to advanced transportation technology is not unscientific or far-fetched, in my opinion.

Quote:Even the battle tactics are questionable. Ramsey joins some mercenaries, who have swords, small (glass) projectile weapons, and some sort of larger "vibration" machine. The enemy sends an enveloping fog - but through that is able to pinpoint bomb the larger machines (which are bunched in one place).  A message bird is sent out, and in another point in the story, an actual messenger, but messages on 'wire' are mentioned.  The technology is listed as being re-discovered after some sort of nuclear war.  But that is not how science works; technology works on technology. If you can re-create a flying machine, you should also be able to use the technology to develop a land machine.

All true, but in a post-apocalytpic scenario there might be reasons not to develop a land vehicle - reasons that fleetingly occur to the author as the story is being composed but which don't merit inclusion in the details of the story.

Did Andre leave any notes about this book or did she answer any questions at conventions?

I realize a lot of her ideas would seem outdated by today's standards because we've learned so much about many topics since the book was written. But she still had a remarkable gift for reimagining things in a logical fashion.
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#4
I realize that in many parts of the world, you just need to ride a donkey. Because not even a motor bike can make the grade up. but in this world, Some sort of train is taken, and then we get on the Elk-cart. That's OK. Later another character arrives in a flying vehicle. Therefore the only excuse for not having taken that originally is: "Servants ride the train" or "Only the Duchess gets to take the air-car.

What I'm getting is a miss-mash. AND no obvious questioning of anyone with military skills.

I don't often re-read this book. Ms. Norton has written plenty of good other books. what makes this 'odd' is that Judith Tarr liked it.
Irene
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#5
Well, I guess that tells us something about the kinds of stories she likes.

Or not.
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#6
Figuring out what Judith Tarr likes and dislikes is an almost impossible task. I have closely read all 81 (so-far) of her reviews and definitely cannot figure her out.
"Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted"
Andre Norton's website - Andre-Norton-Books.com
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