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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Print is(n't) dead

In other news, I've finished Dave Duncan's THE GREAT GAME trilogy. My plan had been to then start rereading THE GOLDEN COMPASS in time for the movie's debut on December 7, but Super Dependable Teen has snatched up my copy to do her own movie prep with. I can't in any way be sad when any of my girls tries to read something more challenging than a STAR WARS novel or STRANGERS IN PARADISE, so I'm fine with this development, but it leaves me at loose ends in regard to my own reading material. Fortunately, I've got a thick SHOWCASE edition of black and white LEGION reprints to make my way through, and another Marvel Masterworks FANTASTIC FOUR collection to peruse after that, and in between, there's the second hand copy of Marvel's THE SUPERHERO WOMEN I was delighted to receive as a spontaneous gift from SuperWife the other day. (I doubt there's a single good story in the whole compilation, but, hey, any volume that reprints CLAWS OF THE CAT #1 is a joy to behold as far as I'm concerned. Throw in reprints of old Spider-Man stories where Spidey fights Medusa and the Black Widow (separately, alas) and some obscure Shanna the She-Devil schlock and I'm in serious Silver Age fanboy heaven.

All this, and I still haven't finished that b&w reprint volume of WEREWOLF BY NIGHT I got last Christmas... where does the time go?

As to THE GREAT GAME itself -- I enjoyed it, but am still not sure what I thought of the ending. I intensely dislike that Duncan doesn't spell his resolution entirely out, leaving things somewhat ambiguous with his final sentence -- although at the same time, I can admire the adroit double punt fake he pulls off, making everyone believe that we've had a tragic ending, and then, holding out the possibility that we really got a 'happily ever after' after all. (If you look back at various indicators Duncan inserted in his previous narrative, I'm willing to believe that the happy ending is quite likely, but it annoys me that Duncan couldn't type one more goddam sentence and make that probability into a certainty.) I was definitely disappointed that after all that build up, Duncan never showed us the actual confrontation between D'Ward and Zath, but as a writer myself, I can understand why he eventually took the way out that he did -- given all the anticipation, there's no way he could have done it justice. I'm not sure Roger Zelazney could have (although he did all right with all the psionic back and forth in LORD OF LIGHT, so, yeah, maybe he could have... but Duncan, godz love him, ain't no Roger Zelazney... although, really, nobody else ever will be, so that's hardly a knock).

1 Comments:

At 10:53 AM , Anonymous Always Esteemed Scott said...

(If you look back at various indicators Duncan inserted in his previous narrative, I'm willing to believe that the happy ending is quite likely, but it annoys me that Duncan couldn't type one more goddam sentence and make that probability into a certainty.)

Duncan doesn't seem to go in for dark endings in general; I've read a *lot* of his stuff, and I can't recall a single ending that wasn't pretty much happy.

Almost all of Duncan's stuff has to do with humans becoming, or being mistaken for, gods. After reading the fourth or fifth consecutive story (counting a series like THE GREAT GAME as a single story) in which this happened, I was starting to wonder if a) he had any *other* ideas, and b) if he was worth reading anymore.

His most recent KING'S BLADES series seems to be different in that respect (at least so far) so perhaps there's hope.

It's interesting that you mention Zelazny, since it seemed pretty obvious to me that THE GREAT GAME was directly inspired by LORD OF LIGHT. Obviously, I don't think Duncan is in Zelazny's class (who is?), but he is a very good and extremely entertaining writer, and I'm glad you liked THE GREAT GAME enough to comment on it.

 

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