Lord Varys

George's other stuff

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Have we a thread for that? I finally begun reading 'The Dying of the Light' and would like to discuss it. I guess I'm not the only one who has read that or other stuff by George?

It is pretty interesting setup for a story. 

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I read both The Dying of the Light and Fevre Dream, but it's been ages ago.

I do remember though that I found the Kavalaar (sp?) mythology interesting in regards to the mythilogical past of the ASoIaF universe. The reality turned out to be very different from the way Kavlaar society shaped it to fit their bias.

Smith having been a woman instead of a demigod warrior etc.

.

Other than that, I remember thinking that Jaan Vikary reminded me a lot of Rhaegar Targaryen.

A learned, enlightened guy who tries to save his planet from darkness - in this case metaphorical darkness of ignorance rather a zombie apocalypse - but fails miserably.

As for Fevre Dream, Joanna Lannister on Tumblr read it at the start of year and refreshed my memory a bit. She's got some interesting posts on the topic here. I really enjoyed some of her ideas that haven't ocurred tom e while reading the book years ago, such as the Julian/Aerys and Damon/Tywin as unlikely as it can appear at the first glance (ie, Julian/Aerys leading Damon/Tywin on that they could become a vampire/a member of the royal family by marriage and then taking the dream away from them quite brutally and letting them know they will ever only be a servant. Although otherwise I think that Julian resembles Roose Bolton to a much greater degree.) Also, guys who believe that GRRM is any way on the side of the slavers in Dany's Slaver's Bay arc should read this book. He's clearly not.

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By the way:

Shouldn't we have a subforum to discuss 'George's other writings'? I mean, this is the largest board on ASoIaF and we don't have a place where we can discuss the other stuff of its author?

Are any admins/mods/important people reading this?

I'm just into the first section of the TDotL. Dirk has arrived on the planet, and met the gang there, and he and Gwen have gone into the woods. I don't yet know what the story actually is about but there are a lot of thematic parallels to the series. Not just the long summer-eternal night/winter dichotomy but also the inclusion of 'my Jenny' into the story. One really wonders now how important (or irrelevant) Duncan and Jenny are for the series. The entire love triangle could be also a variation of Robert-Lyanna-Rhaegar and possibly other love triangles we might get in the series.

It is also interesting to see that the writing style is so different. The prose is much more elaborating and we get much more descriptions of people and other things, and even more introspection. That is surprising when you are accustomed to George's ASoIaF prose.

And, I must say it, I'm now very curious about that 'Avalon' novelhe dropped to write AGoT instead. That planet is referenced so often in that TDotL already that one really wonders how things would have worked out over there.

I guess I'll continue and read the rest of his works in the next weeks and months or so, trying to take a somewhat chronological approach.

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I recently got into Martin's other work, following the excellent Youtube channel by Preston Jacobs.  He has excellent analysis vids of Song of Ice and Fire, but also 1000 worlds stuff, etc.  I've read much of Anne Rice's Vampire works long ago, and had read that Martin's Fevre Dream is one of the best books written in Vampire lore.  Excellent work, fairly short, you can read it in an evening easily IMO, and I've re read it a few times now. 

Also Wild Cards, I went out and bought every WC book available, and have really enjoyed Martin's work (and others) there.

 

I still feel though that GRRMs ASOIAF is his best work, and wish he would focus on it, specifically finishing the 7 book series, and then cranking out more short works - ie less time on other non ASOIAF projects, and less 10,000 word posts on the Hugo noms.  But, that's just a wish, Martin will do what he wants, when he wants.

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I'm actually in the middle of a fairly extensive write up on Dying of the Light and the Thousand Worlds.

Dying of the Light may very well be my favorite pre-ASoIaF piece of GRRM's writing. I think it's an extremely underrated and often misunderstood book. It's reputation as being all nihilism is unfair, as the book is ultimately about the rejection of defeatism and the way that death makes life precious. It's right there in the title really. "Rant and rage against the dying of the light."

It's also about all the different types of love that exist and how they mean different things to different people. Honestly it's a great culmination of a lot of the themes Martin was expressing in his short-story career up until that point.

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11 hours ago, SerHaHa said:

I recently got into Martin's other work, following the excellent Youtube channel by Preston Jacobs.  He has excellent analysis vids of Song of Ice and Fire, but also 1000 worlds stuff, etc.  I've read much of Anne Rice's Vampire works long ago, and had read that Martin's Fevre Dream is one of the best books written in Vampire lore.  Excellent work, fairly short, you can read it in an evening easily IMO, and I've re read it a few times now. 

Also Wild Cards, I went out and bought every WC book available, and have really enjoyed Martin's work (and others) there.

 

I still feel though that GRRMs ASOIAF is his best work, and wish he would focus on it, specifically finishing the 7 book series, and then cranking out more short works - ie less time on other non ASOIAF projects, and less 10,000 word posts on the Hugo noms.  But, that's just a wish, Martin will do what he wants, when he wants.

I agree, and as you mentioned, Preston Jacobs' finest analysis is in his 1000 Worlds reviews.

Actually, until Preston Jacobs' videos came out, I had not previously understood that much of GRRM's science fiction was set in a common universe with a shared history.  And he particularly points out the thematic positions that GRRM has taken in his work over time, and how those same themes show up in ASOIAF.  Once you see the same set of issues crop up in story after story, and then think about the plot of ASOIAF, the probable outcomes or meanings of some of the episodes in the book change pretty significantly - or, they did for me, anyway.

His 1000 World videos to date are in this playlist:  

Most of the videos include links to either the electronic text or the audio of the book under discussion.  For example, he provides links to "Frank Decker", whose audio book versions of GRRM works are pretty good:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG4e_b4DwFxnL4cnV6-N97g 

He also includes some other neat sessions, such as:

A hilarious short summary showing that George's work is incredibly freaky:  

 

He reads the awesome prelude to Tuf Voyaging:  

 

(This prologue never made any sense to me until the 1000 Worlds review came out.  Now it is seriously frightening, given what we know about the rest of the universe, and what is probably happening to the POV character.  George's horror work is a delicious seasoning within his science fiction.)

ASOIAF is a work of Science Fiction:  

 

Good stuff.

 

Edited by Wilbur

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I've been meaning to get to Armageddon Rag, was the first Ebook I ever bought, maybe I'll bump it up the list.

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On 2/1/2017 at 3:57 PM, Lord Varys said:

Have we a thread for that? I finally begun reading 'The Dying of the Light' and would like to discuss it. I guess I'm not the only one who has read that or other stuff by George?

It is pretty interesting setup for a story. 

 

On 2/1/2017 at 11:46 PM, Let's Get Kraken said:

I'm actually in the middle of a fairly extensive write up on Dying of the Light and the Thousand Worlds.

Dying of the Light may very well be my favorite pre-ASoIaF piece of GRRM's writing. I think it's an extremely underrated and often misunderstood book. It's reputation as being all nihilism is unfair, as the book is ultimately about the rejection of defeatism and the way that death makes life precious. It's right there in the title really. "Rant and rage against the dying of the light."

It's also about all the different types of love that exist and how they mean different things to different people. Honestly it's a great culmination of a lot of the themes Martin was expressing in his short-story career up until that point.

I LOVE this book.  I got thwarted at the last con I was at in the question line.  I have been waiting for a couple of years to ask George about the themes, relationships and back history portrayed here.  There's nothing in the SSM database about Dying of the Light.  It is such a beautiful world, romantic story and a great piece to discuss in feminist terms.  Please post your write up when it's finished.

Interesting that people find it nihilistic, I found it extremely hopeful and romantic.  The survivors essentially had to turn their whole world on it's ear and remake their lives into something new.  Breathtaking.

It's been a year or two since I read it, I'd be up for a reread if anyone else wants to play.

Edited by Lily Valley

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I've proceeded a little bit by now. I find it very interesting but a little bit slow-going, and somewhat unnatural how people talk past each other. For instance, we have Dirk and Gwen talk first in the woods where she says it is over, and then we have them later talk again in one of the cities when he has gotten a picture of the culture of the people Gwen has fallen in with but as of yet I've no clue why exactly Dirk had to come to the planet (or at least what the pretext for this whole thing is). I mean, surely Gwen never told her owner-lover not that he was going to come to take her away, right?

I can't connect all that well with the Jenny thing as a metaphor for ownership/dominance/control does not resonate all that well with me. I'd have expected my lover to tell me if she didn't like a nickname I invented for her, not to mention the fact that you usually also mention it when your partner expects you to do stuff for you you don't like.

I also hope they end up better addressing how a smart person like Gwen could get entangled in this whole ownership thing. I mean, if the guy wasn't a complete ass her must have told her what to expect in advance so she would have had a pretty good picture of the whole thing (not to mention that there must have been the possibility of independent research and the like, not the mention the fact that both of them were not forced to return/permanently stay on his home world).

People aren't always rational, of course, but most of the characters that have shown up so far seem to be pretty sophisticated individuals who think a lot, both about themselves and others.

But I like the tone and the setting pretty much, and since I've heard that people are going to die I also look forward to things eventually escalating.

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Ooooh.  You're in for a treat.  Thing is, we only have Dirk's point of view.  Gwen's relationships to all of the others don't look the same to her as they do to Dirk.  Going to shut my pie hole now and be secretly jealous you're reading it for the first time.  I think my copy is at work or I'd read along side you.

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52 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

I can't connect all that well with the Jenny thing as a metaphor for ownership/dominance/control does not resonate all that well with me. 

Though domination, ownership, and control are certainly themes of the book, they're not really what the Jenny thing was about. Gwen didn't dislike the name in and of itself. She disliked the role that she found herself falling into while she was with Dirk. He didn't love her so much as an idealized image of her, and she tried, possibly on an unconscious level, to become that person. Jenny. It was about suppression more than anything else.

Edited by Let's Get Kraken

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1 hour ago, Lily Valley said:

I'd be up for a reread if anyone else wants to play.

Hell, count me in.

EDIT: Whoops, doubt post.

Edited by Let's Get Kraken

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1 hour ago, Lily Valley said:

Ooooh.  You're in for a treat.  Thing is, we only have Dirk's point of view.  Gwen's relationships to all of the others don't look the same to her as they do to Dirk.  Going to shut my pie hole now and be secretly jealous you're reading it for the first time.  I think my copy is at work or I'd read along side you.

Sure, that there are different layers to all that is quite clear. Gwen has already told Dirk and the reader that her feelings are sort of conflicted and all, and it certainly is all very complex. That Dirk doesn't have an objective view on the matter is also quite clear. Considering this slow buildup/addressing of stuff (they have just announced that Dirk is going to get the complete history lesson on the past of the planet the guys are from) I certainly expect that we don't have the full picture as of yet. And perhaps we won't even be getting it. One expects that misunderstandings are going to contribute to the final escalation when the story progresses.

32 minutes ago, Let's Get Kraken said:

Though domination, ownership, and control are certainly themes of the book, they're not really what the Jenny thing was about. Gwen didn't dislike the name in and of itself. She disliked the role that she found herself falling into while she was with Dirk. He didn't love her so much as an idealized image of her, and she tried, possibly on an unconscious level, to become that person. Jenny. It was about suppression more than anything else.

Yeah, I sort of get that. But I find that a very, let's say, unrealistic or overly intellectual take on a romance (something one would expect from the people in Dawson's Creek) rather than something that actually ruins a relationship. Sure, if you try to change your partner, try to put him or her in a role they don't want to be in, this becomes a problem. But a nickname isn't all that much. Dirk would have had a specific image of 'his Jenny' in his mind but the fact that he apparently didn't even realize that he was making Gwen uncomfortable doesn't make it all that believable that he was pushing that image on her. I'm not sure whether I buy it that you can do such a thing unconsciously to a degree that it destroys a relationship. And I think we would all agree that since we don't actually are our lovers/spouses/whatever we always love or are infatuated with what we see in other people and not necessary with their own self-image/how they see themselves.

And apparently they never talked about that back then. Not sure how much of a problem it could then have been. I've difficulties relating to or identifying with people who are in relationship but fail to address issues they have with each other.

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13 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

But a nickname isn't all that much.

The nickname was just a representation of the problems they were having in the relationship.

Quote

And apparently they never talked about that back then.

They probably did talk about it. Sometimes in relationships you can't talk a problem away though. I don't know how far into the book you are, but you may have noticed by now that Dirk still lapses into calling her Jenny even after she explains her feelings to him.

Edited by Let's Get Kraken

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8 minutes ago, Let's Get Kraken said:

The nickname was just a representation of the problems they were having in the relationship.

They probably did talk about it. Sometimes in relationships you can't talk a problem away though. I don't know how far into the book you are, but you may have noticed by now that Dirk still lapses into calling her Jenny even after she explains her feelings to him.

That certainly makes sense. And I guess I might get more insight into all that (or not) if they continue to talk about it. But from what I recall about the first Jenny discussion Dirk had no clue how she felt about the name (or at least remembers things this way). And Gwen certainly seems to buy into this metaphysics thing that names carry some inherent meaning and so on, making the whole thing more important than it might have been if she had just seen it as a nickname. She explains the Jenny problem to Dirk by talking about Jaan's names, and how his stay on Avalon affected his own self-image thanks to the different customs regarding names.

I just get the feeling that George makes this whole thing to be a much bigger issue than would be plausible. But then, that's why I said it is more a metaphor. But it is introduced more as an actual issue rather than as a symbol for what didn't work in the Dirk-Gwen relationship.

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4 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I'm not sure whether I buy it that you can do such a thing unconsciously to a degree that it destroys a relationship. And I think we would all agree that since we don't actually are our lovers/spouses/whatever we always love or are infatuated with what we see in other people and not necessary with their own self-image/how they see themselves.

And apparently they never talked about that back then. Not sure how much of a problem it could then have been. I've difficulties relating to or identifying with people who are in relationship but fail to address issues they have with each other.

I can tell you it does.  I see old boyfriends and always want to scream "I WAS NEVER THAT GIRL!"  That girl was a woman shaped hole in their lives that I could never have filled because I didn't fit.  The elusive "Jenny" was one of the most real characters I have ever read about written by a male author.  "Jenny" is the girl Dirk was in love with.  She isn't a real girl.  I love Jenny even though she's not even a character in this book.

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22 minutes ago, Lily Valley said:

I can tell you it does.  I see old boyfriends and always want to scream "I WAS NEVER THAT GIRL!"  That girl was a woman shaped hole in their lives that I could never have filled because I didn't fit.  The elusive "Jenny" was one of the most real characters I have ever read about written by a male author.  "Jenny" is the girl Dirk was in love with.  She isn't a real girl.  I love Jenny even though she's not even a character in this book.

Can you explore on that a little bit? What sort of things project men on their lovers/girlfriends? One has certain desires and tastes and the like but you usually don't try to force you girlfriend to be a person she is not. At least I don't. A relationship usually is a compromise and you only can do whatever the hell you want when you are living alone. And whether you really can live together is something you have to figure out after the whole physical attraction thing wears off.

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I've only read the first Dreamsongs volume as far as his other stuff.  Really cool to see how he started, although I felt like even some of the more celebrated stories there lacked the polish and "maturity" of Ice and Fire Martin.  I should move on to the second volume, which has been sitting on my shelf for years.       

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6 hours ago, Darth Richard II said:

ASOIAF is not scifi. No. No no no. Somewhere GRRM is screaming right now.

Oh god, did someone start another "Planetos is part of the Thousand Worlds" discussions?

Edited by Let's Get Kraken

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