Author Topic: Review: Julian Comstock  (Read 1089 times)

Nessa

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Review: Julian Comstock
« on: June 09, 2011, 09:48:39 PM »
"The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter--'tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning."  -  Mark Twain

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Bookstore Guy

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Re: Review: Julian Comstock
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2011, 11:08:48 PM »
Hmm.  Good review.  Overall I'd say we had the same opinions of the novel, though I personally didn't have the slight issues you did with the character development.  I did think that they behaved, at times, in ways that were kinda unbelievable, but really I though all the characters were great.  The tone of the novel--written like a historical biography--actually made me like the characters more.  I felt we weren't supposed to get super close to Julian, since in the end I don't think even Adam felt he completely understood Julian.

Actually I felt the ending was the greatest weakness (and it wasn't even close to being a deal breaker).  I was expecting an Abraham Lincoln parallel that would have fit the story SO well.

But yeah, solid review.  I prolly would have given it an extra 1/2 clock, but you backed your rating excellently.  High-fives.

Also, I voted for this and City & The City for the Hugo last year.  It was far better, I felt, than the other nominations (other than Miéville's obviously).
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guessingo

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Re: Review: Julian Comstock
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2011, 03:52:03 PM »
I really liked Spin by Robert Charles Wilson. The one thing I didn't like about it was that he didn't really understand what it meant to manage a federal government science project. He made the same genious mistake you see in entertainment alot. One person is a genious, so they put him in management, but he has the manerisms and actions of the singular research scientist. I see these mannerisms since I have worked on large government projects (as a contractor). It's not a huge issue, but is common. Same thing when you take a smart scientist and he runs a big corporation. Doing research and running a business are each full time jobs and require different skills. The mannerisms and how people act are different.

That being said, it was a fantastic novel. I like his writing style and his characters plus the overall concept was fascinating.

It is the first book in a 3 book series. I did not like the second book at all. The characters were not as intersting and it seemed like only the beginning and ending mattered. Plus the ending was not really interesting. I am getting the impression that this is one of those things where the big vague idea you see in the first book is fascinating, then when he reveals the details later on, it loses its luster.


 I believe Stephen King said Wilson is his favorite science fiction author.

I hope to get a chance to read Julian Comstock sometime later this year.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2011, 03:56:24 PM by guessingo »

Silk

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Re: Review: Julian Comstock
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2011, 09:05:38 PM »
Thanks, Steve!

I liked the characters a lot overall, and most of the characterization issues I had were minor. It was Adam and Calyxa that really threw me. I see what you mean about not knowing Julian too wel, thoughl--he's definitely supposed to be an enigmatic character.

You might be right about the ending, too. As you say, not even close to a deal-breaker, but I still can't quite decide how I feel about it.

Definitely City and the City and Julian Comstock were over and above the other Hugo nominations last year. I'd say the same thing about Palimpsest, though, which I'm quite fond of (though it's definitely not a book for everybody).

Guessingo: Spin was an excellent novel, absolutely. Wasn't it Jason's dad that was in charge of the project, though? I could be wrong--it's been quite a while now since I've read it.

Too bad about the sequel. I've purchased it and haven't had a chance to read it yet. Hopefully I'll still enjoy it. :)

guessingo

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Re: Review: Julian Comstock
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2011, 03:40:29 PM »
Looks like there are a couple of near future political sci-fi books that just came out. They are closer in time that Julian Comstock, but seem to be in the same tone. I have not read them yet.

2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America by Albert Brooks. I would not normally jump to read a novel by an actor, but its getting good reviews on Amazon.

The Profession: A Thriller by Stephen Pressfield. This takes place around 2040 and it projects the increase in power of multi-national corporations and wars over oil. Pressfield is one of my favorite authors. He mainly writes historical fiction. He uses a really unique first person removed technique. The first person character is telling the story about a more important person and is a part of the story.

I read his ancient greek stories and they are stunning. He wrote a book about the Battle of Thermopylae that brought ancient Sparta to life. His first person character was a slave in sparta who discussed famous people from history. The Spartans had a brtual society. If you saw the movie "300", this is the non-comic book, what really happened story. Just note, the Spartans were not running around in their underwear. They had a huge technological advantage in weapons, training, and fighting style.

My favorite book by Pressfield was Tides of War which ironically is his least popular book. It is a very complex story. It is about the Peloponesian War. This was the 25 year war between Athens and Sparta. He does a terrific job of showing the contrasting cultures of Sparta and Athens. Athens was a democracy and Sparta was a brtual warrior culture. However, women in Sparta had far more rights than in Athens (they were rarely allowed to leave the house). In Sparta women would humiliate men who did not train well. The main character in the story is the guy who George Lucas should have based Anakin Skywalker on (you have to read the book, he is very complicated).

He wrote a book called The Afghan Campaigh which is about Alexander the Greats attempt to conquor afghanistan and essentially did it to mirror our own issues in Afghanistan today.

I never read his most popular book (The Legend of Baggar Vance), it is supposed to be  much better than the movie. I have been told its not even really about golf. Its about over coming obstacles.

Sorry about rambling... he is a terrific author.

Peter Ahlstrom

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Re: Review: Julian Comstock
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2011, 06:27:25 AM »
First person once removed is used by Gordon Korman to great effect. And of course Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories.
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