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Lies And Perfidy

[SPOILERS] The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin

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Far as I can tell, there's no thread for this yet. Just out last month and I think it's Jemisin's best yet. One of the rare "NEXT BIG THING IN SF/F" hyped releases that actually lives up to it.
 
Spoilery conversation starter:
[spoiler]How long did it take people to realize all 3 POVs were the same woman? I didn't catch on until the text informed me that Damaya was Syenite. I don't feel that bad for missing it since she went to pains to write the characters very differently pre-reveal.[/spoiler]

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Re the spoiler:

 

[spoiler] I suspected a connection pretty early, and made the connection between Damaya and Syenite quickly. The connection between Syenite and Essun took longer. And I never did guess who the other POV was until the reveal near the end of the book. [/spoiler]

 

And, yeah, despite a few quibbles I had, I thought this was an excellent book. 

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Regarding the spoiler:

[spoiler] There were a few hints, as Xray mentioned they were most noticeable between Syenite and Damaya. For example Syenite, when she is contemplating the situation with the coral/obelisk, thinks of "home" as the smell of a fusty blanket - the same blanket given by Muh Dear to Damaya. Further on I think, when she and Alabaster see the Guardian, she recalls the pain in her hand from where her Guardian broke it. So I connected those two about half-way through, or just beyond that stage, and when I made that connection I had a suspicion Essun may also be the same person two, but wasn't certain. I thought it was very well done though.

[/spoiler]

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Oooh, I completely missed the first hint there, Helena.

 

I just finished the book last night and I may reread it very shortly. It seems like one of those books that would be a very different experience on second read.

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Some questions involving the Stone Eaters:

 

[spoiler]

1) What do you think their end-game is?

2) How long was Hoa in that mountainside egg? Was he put there specifically to watch over Essun?

3) What is their relationship to the obelisks?

[/spoiler]

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I dont know if she has tipped her hand on any of those questions yet. Which is pretty impressive I think.

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OK, cool. I wasn't sure I hadn't missed some clues to answer those.

 

I have a bunch of other questions, but 1) the kindle is across the room and 2) I have beer, so I will have to wait until later to ask. Did anyone else feel that the Guardians were a bit on the nose?

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In the sense of being, like, too menacing/mysterious/Secret Fascist Magic-Police? I guess I can see that, but -

 

[spoiler]-the final scene with Schaffa, where he and the other Guardian just can't stop smiling as they do horrific things, pretty much nailed it for me. A really great way of conveying the deep-down fuckawfulness of the Guardians without giving away exactly why they are the way they are.

 

At the risk of Bakkake, it kinda reminded me of Neuropath. I wonder if that's what's going on with them.[/spoiler]

 

Oh! And WRT to your questions, Xray, I agree that Jemisin hasn't revealed enough yet to fully answer. But I do think that

 

[spoiler]the Stone Eaters' goal involves restoring the moon. What "restoring the moon" actually means in terms of Jemisin's worldbuilding and magical logic is something we'll have to see.[/spoiler]

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In the sense of being, like, too menacing/mysterious/Secret Fascist Magic-Police? I guess I can see that, but -

 

[spoiler]-the final scene with Schaffa, where he and the other Guardian just can't stop smiling as they do horrific things, pretty much nailed it for me. A really great way of conveying the deep-down fuckawfulness of the Guardians without giving away exactly why they are the way they are.

 

At the risk of Bakkake, it kinda reminded me of Neuropath. I wonder if that's what's going on with them.[/spoiler]

 

A bit of your non-spoiler, a bit of your spoiler and a bit of

 

[spoiler] considering what spurred this book, and the general tone, it seems just a bit too on the nose that the Guardians are described as having "icewhite eyes," considering the tropes in fantasy and describing typical whitey heroes, "icy" eyes are pretty bog standard. That may be deliberate, considering all of the fantasy beforehand being all "check out this evil swart race" verbiage, but I guess I was expecting something less contra-cliche.

 

ETA: good god, those are some run-on sentences and flagrant abuse of the word "considering." full apologies, I blame beer.[/spoiler]

 

And Lies and Perfidy good call on the

 

[spoiler] reference to the moon. [/spoiler]

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So, are we assuming

 

[spoiler]that it's a post-post-post-post-post apocalyptic Earth, or that it's a total fantasyland?

I'm leaning to the former, in part because of the note in the acknowledgements of how the idea for the series arose out of a NASA 'launch pad' workshop, but I was thinking that way already after the hints scattered throughout about the moon, before the reveal. [/spoiler]

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So, are we assuming

 

[spoiler]that it's a post-post-post-post-post apocalyptic Earth, or that it's a total fantasyland?

I'm leaning to the former, in part because of the note in the acknowledgements of how the idea for the series arose out of a NASA 'launch pad' workshop, but I was thinking that way already after the hints scattered throughout about the moon, before the reveal. [/spoiler]

 

Re your question: I haven't made up my mind. Maybe leaning toward the former, however, for the same reason you give.

 

OK, now the query has me playing with

 

[spoiler] this website: http://www.purdue.edu/impactearth/  I was curious what would happen to Earth if the Moon smacked into it. I don't think that's what happened, because I think any survivors and their descendants would end up as Mole People, but maybe enough time as elapsed... [/spoiler]

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Re your question: I haven't made up my mind. Maybe leaning toward the former, however, for the same reason you give.
 
OK, now the query has me playing with
 
[spoiler] this website: http://www.purdue.edu/impactearth/  I was curious what would happen to Earth if the Moon smacked into it. I don't think that's what happened, because I think any survivors and their descendants would end up as Mole People, but maybe enough time as elapsed... [/spoiler]

[spoiler] There is a race of "mole people" though right? The Stone Eaters? [/spoiler]
I really need to re-read this to try and get to grips with everything. First read through a lot went over my head.

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Well, I was intrigued enough by this thread and the blurb to go ahead and pick this up. Just finished it.
 

Some questions involving the Stone Eaters:
 
[spoiler]
1) What do you think their end-game is?
2) How long was Hoa in that mountainside egg? Was he put there specifically to watch over Essun?
3) What is their relationship to the obelisks?
[/spoiler]


[spoiler]I'm not sure if it's the restoration of the moon, or revenge for it's destruction, but it's something like that. The moon is what I think is referred to here:
 

Then people began to do horrible things to Father Earth. They poisoned waters beyond even his ability to cleanse, and killed much of the other life that lived on his surface. They drilled through the crust of his skin, past the blood of his mantle, to get at the sweet marrow of his bones. And at the height of human hubris and might, it was the orogenes who did something that even Earth could not forgive: They destroyed his only child.


I don't think the whole moon hit earth though. I think they blew it up and so some of it comes back down from time to time.

I think Hoa only became the egg when he needed a 'human' form to follow Essun though. Something somewhat special I would think, because it keeps being said that stone eaters move very slowly outside of the ground, yet he seems to move fine. About him though, it seems like he and Antimony do not get along. There is, at least, some sort of schism between stone eaters it seems.

Thing about the Obelisks, well, there is a stone eater in them. I think they were the stone eater's vessels or something like it. I went back and my guess is that the pit, in the center of the Fulcrum, is the impact from an obelisk:
 

But then, no one has dug this pit. She can sess that: Something monstrously heavy punched this pit into the earth, and sat in the depression long enough to make all the rock and soil beneath it solidify into these smooth, neat planes. Then whatever-it-was lifted away, clean as a buttered roll from a pan, leaving nothing but the shape of itself behind.


Then there is that weird speech the Guardian gives after they visit it:
 

"Its angry." The womans voice drops lower, going monotonous, and Damaya realizes shes not trying to go unheard anymore. The Guardian is talking differently because thats not her voice. "Angry and afraid. I hear both gathering, growing, the anger and the fear. Readying, for the time of return."
"It did what it had to do, last time." Press and tighten. This Guardian, unlike Schaffa, has longer nails; the thumbnail begins to dig into Damayas flesh. "It seeped through the walls and tainted their pure creation, exploited them before they could exploit it. When the arcane connections were made, it changed those who would control it. Chained them, fate to fate."
"It made them a part of it."
"It hoped for communion. Compromise. Instead, the battle escalated."
"It speaks only to warn, now," she continues in a drone. "There will be no compromise next time"
...
"She wasnt. Her." Now Damayas the one not making sense. "She wasnt who she was anymore. I mean, she was someone else. Talking as if someone else was there." In her head. In her mouth, speaking through it. "She kept talking about a socket. And it being angry."
Schaffa inclines his head. "Father Earth, of course. It is a common delusion."


OK, so, ummm, I'm guessing the 'them' are the Stone Eaters. Perhaps they weren't like they are now before it 'made them a part of it?'

I don't really know, I am pretty confused. Perhaps the obelisks were converted into weapons that the orogenes used to destroy the moon? Considering what Syen could do with it, couldn't a whole set of ten-ringers use the whole lot of obelisk's to really screw something up?
 

Regarding the spoiler:
There were a few hints, as Xray mentioned they were most noticeable between Syenite and Damaya. For example Syenite, when she is contemplating the situation with the coral/obelisk, thinks of "home" as the smell of a fusty blanket - the same blanket given by Muh Dear to Damaya. Further on I think, when she and Alabaster see the Guardian, she recalls the pain in her hand from where her Guardian broke it. So I connected those two about half-way through, or just beyond that stage, and when I made that connection I had a suspicion Essun may also be the same person two, but wasn't certain. I thought it was very well done though.

From early on, I suspected that Damaya and Essun were the same person. Then I realized that it was Damaya and Syen. Of course, since I'm dumb, I didn't put together that Essun was Syen, since she was Damaya.
[/spoiler]

Man, I hate working with spoiler tags...

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Out of the eligible works for best novel I have read so far this year it's probably my favourite at the moment. I'd at least hope it makes the short-list so far. But we'll see. I think there would be something quite brilliant in the idea of Jemisin winning after, um, certain slurs thrown at her this year

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This book might be the most complete crapsack world I've read in a really long time.  I think I'd rather live in Earwa.  Makes me really wonder where the metaplot is heading: fix the world?  Attain some kind of better equilibrium than inevitable Seasons and the exploitation of orogenes?  Rocks fall, everyone dies, but we got a good character journey?

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