The Key of the Keplian - Discussion
#1
https://www.tor.com/2022/03/14/the-last-...e-keplian/
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#2
Oddly. Not one of my favorites. Or perhaps it has been too long and I no longer remember.

I just read the first 6 pages, and set the book aside to go to the comfi-chair, to be read in full.
Irene
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#3
Key of the Keplian wasn't one of my favorites, as I recall. I am curious after reading Judith Tarr's last two reviews: Does she consider her story "Falcon Law" fan fiction, like she's calling Ciara's Song and Key of the Keplian? Or am I just getting cranky in my old age.
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#4
I don't read Judith Tarr's review until after I've re-read the book.

But, by all means be cranky. I've been using "grumpy" as my fall back expression for years.
Irene
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#5
(March 15th, 2022, 04:18 PM)Taliesin Wrote: Key of the Keplian wasn't one of my favorites, as I recall. I am curious after reading Judith Tarr's last two reviews: Does she consider her story "Falcon Law" fan fiction, like she's calling Ciara's Song and Key of the Keplian? Or am I just getting cranky in my old age.

I believe part of why she’s calling them “fan fiction” is because they take place around and reference events of other stories (especially Ciara’s Song). She also made some comments on how the stories reference the passage of time that could have been tightened up by a more critical editor/experienced author.
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#6
I have finished re-reading the book. So, yes, some of this could have been tightened up. Andre Norton, in my humble opinion, was one of the best editors in the field.
Let's see, 1995, Andre was opening up her universe to other writers. 1996 saw the publication of WARDING OF THE WITCH WORLD, which was supposed to complete the Witch World cycle. Anything else was supposed to fill in the blank areas of the map, and time line.

So KEY OF THE KEPLIAN was in answer to "Why are Keplian's bad?" Sadly it is also (at least the beginning) much like CIARA'S SONG. But I'll have to read that again to be sure.

On re-reading this wasn't bad, though I thought the ending a bit contrived, and ... how can I say this? ... rough.
But Andre Norton books, often end this way. Though the best ending was of course the original WW "Simon my name is Jaelithe."
The book could have ended there, but Andre takes another 3 paragraphs to make things clear to the reader.

Judith Tarr contributed "Falcon Law" to FOUR FROM THE WITCH WORLD in 1989. Again, this appears to be one of those questions asked by Judith, to which Andre's answer was: "Why don't you write it, and then we'll both know."

All of these can be called "Fan Fiction", but all of these were edited by Andre Norton. So they had her complete acceptance.

Now I'll go and read the review.
Irene
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#7
I've now read the review. All of the review. Being "Fan Fiction" isn't a bad thing to Tarr. She does find the story to be uneven - story here, lots of years later, story there. She criticizes the time spent worrying about the character held captive. Worrying endlessly.... But in actuality, Romar is only away from his family for a year.
So, my feeling is that years needed to pass. The character needed to gain knowledge, age, experience.

I think there is a few stories where the character is too young for what comes next. How do you age a character 4 years in the space of 4 chapters? Do you skip around, have the character taken in by Elves? Age magically on the top of the Dragon Mountain? Or simply spend a year in a mountain keep being trained by an understanding elder. Eleeri was first raised by her Great-Grandfather, and then later by Cynan . both gave her warrior training. Then living in the hidden valley allowed both her, and her 4 legged companions time to age and grow.

If the quest is packed into the last 50 pages? Well OK, could have used more editing. In fact I think the last 3 pages should have been a whole separate chapter. Heck, I don't believe in "on line" dating, with immediate engagements - So I don't believe that months of nightly dreams, and one day of meeting would be instant love. But back in 1995? I was almost 30 years younger, and much less cynical.
Irene
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#8
Years later, I still remember the joyous glee with which I devoured this book.  It read like true Norton to me.  I loved the characters, the horses, the relationships.  It's not perfect, but I'll never forget those feelings.

I'm glad Judith Tarr did the Norton reread over on tor.com.  Whether one agrees with all her points or not, it's generated some good discussion and given lots of folks the opportunity to discover [or rediscover] Andre Norton.  Time is so fleeting, and passes so fast.  Every few years is a whole new age cohort that needs to discover Andre Norton anew, but with fewer and fewer opportunities.  I'm grateful for the ones they get.

Jerrie
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#9
(March 17th, 2022, 09:38 AM)Irene Wrote: I have finished re-reading the book. So, yes, some of this could have been tightened up. Andre Norton, in my humble opinion, was one of the best editors in the field.
Let's see, 1995, Andre was opening up her universe to other writers. 1996 saw the publication of WARDING OF THE WITCH WORLD, which was supposed to complete the Witch World cycle.   Anything else was supposed to fill in the blank areas of the map, and time line.

So KEY OF THE KEPLIAN was in answer to "Why are Keplian's bad?"  Sadly it is also (at least the beginning) much like CIARA'S SONG. But I'll have to read that again to be sure.

On re-reading this wasn't bad, though I thought the ending a bit contrived, and ... how can I say this? ... rough.
But Andre Norton books, often end this way. Though the best ending was of course the original WW "Simon my name is Jaelithe."
The book could have ended there, but Andre takes another 3 paragraphs to make things clear to the reader.

Judith Tarr contributed "Falcon Law" to FOUR FROM THE WITCH WORLD in 1989.  Again, this appears to be one of those questions asked by Judith, to which Andre's answer was: "Why don't you write it, and then we'll both know."

All of these can be called "Fan Fiction", but all of these were edited by Andre Norton. So they had her complete acceptance.

Now I'll go and read the review.

I believe Andre originally intended to wrap up the Witch World with The Gate of the Cat (1987) but then opened her world to friends and fans with the first Tales of the Witch World also in 1987?
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#10
Not to be argumentative - I'm only sharing this as an anecdote that was shared with me years and years ago. Supposedly, Andre never intended to go beyond the third book (Three Against the Witch World). But for a while ideas kept popping into her head, and then somewhere along the way she started writing books in response to fan questions (I think that's what I was told).

Eventually she felt kind of trapped in Witch World. She didn't hate it - she just wanted to move on from it. That is what a mutual friend told me. It was only one person's point of view, but I respected her insights into Andre's life and thinking. They were quite close.
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#11
(March 30th, 2022, 12:49 AM)Michael Wrote: Not to be argumentative - I'm only sharing this as an anecdote that was shared with me years and years ago. Supposedly, Andre never intended to go beyond the third book (Three Against the Witch World). But for a while ideas kept popping into her head, and then somewhere along the way she started writing books in response to fan questions (I think that's what I was told).

Eventually she felt kind of trapped in Witch World. She didn't hate it - she just wanted to move on from it. That is what a mutual friend told me. It was only one person's point of view, but I respected her insights into Andre's life and thinking. They were quite close.

Michael, 
I have to say that I agree with you. I have spoken to multiple people that were close to Andre and they tell me the same thing. I also seem to remember several interviews where Andre pretty much said as much. But I would have to go though the interviews again to site them, and that would be rather time consuming.
"Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted"
Andre Norton's website - andre-norton.com
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#12
I remember she was getting burned out toward the end.

And, of course, she wanted to use her bully pulpit to help up-and-coming women writers. She did what she could to help expand and diversify the field of women science fiction/fantasy writers. I think that was a good thing. I hope she is remembered for making the effort.
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