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Seventh Decimate Discussion SPOILERS
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2018 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I finished it yesterday (simply hadn't gotten round to acquiring myself a copy until a couple of weeks ago)...

It was a reasonable read and I'll continue with it onto the next volume (Mar 19, I believe). However...

It's noticeably different in style and execution from SRD's other works. It just feels... less substantial? Less satisfying? Less engrossing?

Some have already commented on the much more flimsy characters - they just don't pull you in and make you empathise or identify with them - you just don't love em (or hate em). I loved Mhoram and Foamfollower, Bannor and Stave almost from the get-go. In stark contrast, 33% of the way into GGW (presumably), I just think that Prince Bifalt is (currently) a bit of a mildly irritating, prejudiced and prideful arse.

Same with the mise en place - unlike the Land, I don't really care about Belleger, Amika or the rest of the fast-widening world. Utterly unlike TCOTC, the scenery's just that - a shallow backdrop.

Which then made me ask myself the question "why?". We all know that SRD is more than wordsmith enough to create profundity, both in character and setting - if anyone can layer level upon level, he can - so this must be a deliberate choice. Maybe he doesn't feel up to the sustained creative effort of creating such complex and multi-faceted literature any more at this later stage in his authorial career?

What I think is very clear is that this is going to be a straight out and out parable - which may explain the somewhat superficial cast and scenery. This is further evidenced by the names chosen - "Belleger"... "Amika"... "Bifalt" and so on. These aren't nations and characters per se anywhere near as much as they're obvious conceptual representations, so named as to highlight SRD's chosen message(s) even more clearly.

We'll just have to see where this goes - but I'd bet 50 bucks to a wooden nickel that GGW as a whole doesn't have anywhere near the emotional involvement, depth and grandeur of TCOTC - and moreover I don't think that's a bar that SRD has even considered setting himself with this one.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2018 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mmm.. I stil havent got the books yet .. but not sure I want to as it doesnt sound all that appealing. Ive nixed too many books of late for that very reason 😔
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Skyweir wrote:
mmm.. I stil havent got the books yet .. but not sure I want to as it doesnt sound all that appealing. Ive nixed too many books of late for that very reason 😔


I would advise you to give it a try, unless you only like the TC/Gap level stuff and hated Mordant's Need and SRD's other "lighter" fare.

If that's true you might want to give this new series a pass, but if you didn't mind Mirror of Her Dreams I think you might enjoy Seventh Decimate as well. It's definitely SRD but not Chronicles-level complexity or meaning.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Disclaimer: I'm the guy who took "Trust SRD" as his mantra through all the whinging about the Last Chrons.
If that didn't work for you then, what I have to say now isn't going to be compelling either.


Sky, the best thing to do is to go about your other reading now, but arrange to have a copy of Seventh Decimate available to read early next year such that you finish that book about the time the next one becomes available to you. Absorb them both; following that, I expect that you will be avidly anticipating the next volume.

Since we are drawing parallels to other SRD series, consider the Gap dissection now going on and imagine yourself back in the early '90s. All you have is The Real Story and Forbidden Knowledge. You have few clues how epic the Gap story arc is or how intense the story will get. You might even (oh so mistakenly) set the series aside.

Now imagine reading those two books and immediately picking up A Dark and Hungry God Arises. When you read the last line of ADAHGA and close the book...are you not desperate to know what happens next? Do the two following books exceed the expectations you had when finishing that third volume, which really turned around the story begun in the first two?

Trust SRD. There is an amazing story about to be told.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Completely agree with the post above. I'll never forget finishing dark and hungry god. I trust SRD . The War Within will take the story in unimaginable new directions. When's it out again ?
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Expected publication date is March 21, 2019.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Savor Dam wrote:
Expected publication date is March 21, 2019.


Thank you. Really looking forward to it. Nobody like SRD. Bring it on.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2018 4:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

renny wrote:
Savor Dam wrote:
Expected publication date is March 21, 2019.


Thank you. Really looking forward to it. Nobody like SRD. Bring it on.


Bingo! Agree 100%
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Certainly Prince Bifalt has some of that "anti-hero" quality about him, especially when his realization of their being a wider world with bigger concerns than those of Balleger just angers him rather than humbles him...it's not easy for me to like him in these moments. Nevertheless, I feel he has some redeeming qualities. Bifalt's thoughtfulness shows through after he asks the sorcerer Slack what happened when the gift of sorcery was removed by the Seventh Decimate, and gets Slack's answer about how it feels like one's personality is a series of rooms in a house, and the removal of sorcery feels like access to some of those rooms has been denied.

In Part One of Seventh Decimate was wrote:
Prince Bifalt had not contemplated the subject from Slack's perspective. He was reluctant to do so now. But he remembered that he meant to be careful, polite; that he would have to rely on this man. He tried to find common ground between them.

"Here is another crime to be laid at Amika's charge. If our foes would allow us peace, men with your gifts would not be burdened with the need to make amends."

Speaking as if to himself, Slack inquire, "Do we not have peace now, Highness?"

"It is the peace before the pounce, Slack," snapped the Prince. "The peace before the pounce. When Amika is ready to spring, we will have no peace until we are in our graves."

The older man sighed again. "As you say, Highness." Then he continued more firmly, "But you did not call me to your side to discuss my life. You have other queries, Highness?"

The Prince gathered his original thoughts. "Indeed," he answered in a more neutral tone. "I was told you know some trick or tricks to ward us on this quest. What are they? They will do little good if we are not ready to take advantage of them."

"They are not tricks, Highness.' Slack's words suggested umbrage, although he spoke them mildly. "One is a gift all former sorcerers share. If we can no longer perform theurgy, we remain sensitive to its imminence. I can forewarn you of a sorcerous attack."

Hearing this, Prince Bifalt allowed himself a moment of relief. Without question, he needed Slack. And now he knew how the first king of Belleger, Brigin, had survived his brother's betrayal. Fastule's attack on Queen Malorie had announced itself to King Brigin's Magisters.

But Slack was not done. "As for the rest"--he shrugged inside his loose shirt--"they are merely skills. I am an adept of the skillet and stewpot. You and your men will eat as well as our rations allow. Also, I am wise with the balms and unguents that mend burns. We will have burns, whether or not we suffer by fire. In the deseert, without sufficient water or any shade, our lips will crack, our skin will blister, and our strength will falter. while my balms and unguents last, they will ease us."

With every response, the older man showed himself in a new light. Prince Bifalt had not expected so much from him. Swallowing his dislike, he forced himself to say, "Then, Slack, you may be the most necessary member of our company." His quest required that admission. "Now hear my command. See to your own safety. If we are threatened, my men and I will face the danger. If there are obstacles in our path, we will deal with them. Keep to the rear. Seek shelter when you can. I do not mean to lose you."

The former sorcerer might be able to interpret Marrow's book if the Prince himself could not.

Like a man compelled, Slack stared at Prince Bifalt. In the former Magister's eyes, the Prince saw an instant of astonishment. Then the look was gone, and Slack turned his head away. With a hint of his earlier brief vehemence, he answered, "As you command, Highness."

Bowing his head, he left the Prince's side.

A man is not a man at all--If Slack were regarded as a dwelling, Prince Bifalt now wondered, how many chambers did he contain? If those that pertained to theurgy had been sealed, how many remained for his use? Could such a man be humble? Or show kindness? Was it possible?

The Prince doubted it. But he was prepared to be persuaded, if Slack helped his quest succeed. If its success relieved King Abbator's distress, and Belleger's.


As I think I've said, the Prince is not easy to like, but he has his redeeming qualities, and can be moved to reconsider his opinions, at times. I don't find him to be completely unlikeable.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think this is the most depressing thread I've read on this forum. I still have not purchased the book and not a single comment here makes me want to do so.

Cord Hurn wrote:
I don't find him to be completely unlikeable.
This is a description of the main character in a new Donaldson series by someone on a fansite consisting of his biggest, most loyal fans?? That's a disaster! Hell, I'd prefer people saying they hate the main character. He's not even offensive enough to turn people off?

I will wait until the 2nd book is available and read them back-to-back. I like the comparisons to The Real Story, but no one here is even making the case that this book is as good as that! TRS was short, but it was brutal! It was dense and weighty with character development. The three main characters weren't mere sketches of characters, they each went through their own arcs and ended up in vastly different positions relative to each other (i.e. the whole "switching places" theme that SRD explored).

On the other hand, SRD's best work sold poorly, worse than all his others. So maybe he figures it's not worth the effort.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
I think this is the most depressing thread I've read on this forum. I still have not purchased the book and not a single comment here makes me want to do so.


I only read a little over a chapter. There seemed to be some conflict of interest between, amicables and belligerents - a war.
Directly analogous to Kevinswatch, I imagined. <grin>

I still prefer the real deal, and will continue my own campaign for open source discussions in the Thomas Covenant forums.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 5:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Folks..Its been awhile...Howdy!.. The 7th Decimate struck me as thin, well only 307pages(paperback) and the characters..we are reminded ,are who they are. They don't seem to expand. Let me throw this idea, perception, out here rite now then..perhaps The Great Gods War..is analogous,,a metaphor of,,or for,,,The Word...Words,,I mean...there so much emphasis on language, ,,foreign language, heck the Library..Words mite be a Writer's Great God(s) and also a Readers God(s) and of course, the War is the Conflict,Tension, between any word and any other word. The Prince is slow to explore and fathom the words being given him. There are dimensions to words that he is unaware of but perhaps to the reader..especially a Donaldson experienced reader, hints and even what is not said are taken with value that the thick headed Prince hasn't opened his mind to ...yet(?). (Becareful with how much you trust the Narrator of the story. I knew long before it was made clear, that Amikan suffered a loss of sorcery ) The repeated " what else could he do?" ..exactly ..a word is as it is defined...So..seeing articles about new words being accepted and added to whatever dictionary...from a 70+ yr old author's pov..mite be cause for a War..a need to get free from the polarized good or bad Decimate magic..of any word. ..Time seems a loose paradigm in this story as well as an example of a word with so many ..rooms.

Anyway,,reading the tease from The War Within seems to put emphasis on relationships between characters (words?)and adds depth to the plot..
Can't wait TWW!
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The stephenrdonaldson.com website says "95 days left until The War Within". No idea how hard that date is, but that puts it at April 1-ish? Hmm....

I enjoyed the storytelling, but I must admit it was a challenge to my suspension-of-disbelief that two countries would fight such a prolonged war ("their grandfathers had forgotten the two realms might once have been at peace"), so resource-draining, that there was no kind of intellectual challenge to the status quo that is acknowledged by the characters involved in the story line, and that there seems to be no line of trade or communication between Belleger and the outside world. That is just so un-worldlike, more so than imaginative characters like Giants and Ranyhyn and Sunbanes...

Like lurch, I look forward to a more character-driven story. That is what makes all kindsa stuff believable and engaging.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want to glimpse where Donaldson is going with his story, I double-down suggest listening to that StoryMen interview I linked to in the other thread.

If you do, there is NO DOUBT that Donaldson's story will be polarizing. In all the usual ways.

In an excerpt from the StoryMen interview was wrote:
SRD: We are not the only anti-intellectual culture on the planet, but that is a very prominent feature of our public life these days. I mean, we have a president whose proud that he didn't accept intelligence briefings. For somebody like me, my jaw just drops. You can say that I am writing this story in part as an effort to understand, and also to understand my place in this kind of culture and this kind of conflict.

SM: Steve, what do we do in a culture where where you can put forth objective truths, like "here are the facts", someone will look at it, and they will just say - politicians and people in power will say - "I reject those facts", or "that is not true"? They just reject what is obvious. In the midst of a world like that, what does knowledge even mean? What does it mean to have knowledge in a world that is anti-intellectual, anti-fact, anti-observable obvious ontology of the world?

SRD: Well, I am not surprised that I know what to do. At the bottom, all of this is driven by fear. The fact is, nobody can actually exist in the world without accepting a certain number of observable facts. Try driving your car without accepting a certain number of observable facts! If you ignore the observable facts, you get into a terrible wreck and you die.

That's a simplistic metaphor but it applies. The less we think it's important to understand the rules of the road, to understand what motivates other people to do the kinds of things they do, the less we want understand diversity, to recognize the value of perspectives that are different than ours, the more likely we are to get into a terrible wreck
.

It gets more profound from there. But transcribing is hard - listen to it yourself!

Anyway, we'll just have to be prepared for people dropping in to remind us how much SRD sucks and how much his story sucks and how much our opinions about it really suck and oh, in case it wasn't mentioned in a while, it sucks.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Way!..and all others!..Thanks for the excerpt!I had not read any reviews ,,,actually have not read anything on 7D. So I read it without any expectation. I can't help from seeing some of the " characters" of 7D in the light of current American ' politics'. But I want to go a bit further into what Donaldson is making me think. In Lewis Carrol's Alice in Wonderland,,there were cards, playing cards,,running around and given dialogue.. Its seems to me, Donaldson has Words being given dialogue in a similar way. It is on this point that a " thin" 7D becomes a much more substantial " thick" read.
From that perception is it correct to suggest Donaldson may be a bit revolutionary here with parameters of storytelling? Kind of like taking the reader into dimensions,,or rooms, not previously considered..Yes, un-anchored in any expectation we may have had..leaving us free to consider 'relationships" outside our own experiences..?? Donaldson seems to task us with opening our minds to the diversity of words..which of course brings Knowledge and maybe even Wisdom...I was at " bullets" but the Bellegians could only get as far as,,"lead arrows".That made me wonder.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:

Anyway, we'll just have to be prepared for people dropping in to remind us how much SRD sucks and how much his story sucks and how much our opinions about it really suck and oh, in case it wasn't mentioned in a while, it sucks.
And so it begins . . . a discussion about a book becomes a discussion about the people who have opinions about the book. Laughing

I have no opinion, since I haven't read it yet. I was merely commenting on how discouraging it is to read some of the less-than-glowing reviews here. I really want to get a great SRD book!

But since WF has broached the subject, I would like to make a plea here for understanding and--dare I say--tolerance for all viewpoints that will ultimately be expressed here! No contributor to this thread or this sub-forum should be made to feel that they themselves are the object of complaints or mockery simply because they have an opinion of a novel that differs from one's own. Let's start this discussion of this series on the right foot and leave points about contributors out of it! Let's do it right, this time! Cheers

Now, back on topic . . . the SRD quote is not as encouraging to me. I do NOT find it to be a good sign that we're getting a fantasy series that invites us to wonder what the author thinks of the current President. Imagine if the Chronicles were tainted with such a blatant contemporary--and thus quickly dated--political views. One of the things I like about SRD stories is their universality, how they invite me to think about What It Means To Be Human, not the author's personal political views. I really hope that the story is not so transparent and superficial as the hints we're getting here.
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
I would like to make a plea here for understanding and--dare I say--tolerance for all viewpoints that will ultimately be expressed here!

Quote:
It depends what you're tolerant of. Not everything is deserving of tolerance.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It appears to me that many readers have a falling out with the Prince at some point of the story. Somebody wasnt ready even when he thought he was.

So, of all the other characters ,which strikes an allegiance not broke by end of 7D?..Amandis has caught my attention. She strikes me as a great metaphor for the story told..the Spirit of the story,,literally and figuratively. Elegant simplicity with unseen motion able to kill in less than an instant...whoaaaa! Her "pardner" ain't so bad lookin either, at least in my imagination. Elgart is a semi-hero but its assumed he made the final choice with Amandis and Flamoras " guidance". I really like the duo with Amandis being the more mysterious thus my favorite so far.
Any body have an allegiance yet,,with a hope the author doesn't do away with them by end of story?
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
Zarathustra wrote:
I would like to make a plea here for understanding and--dare I say--tolerance for all viewpoints that will ultimately be expressed here!

Quote:
It depends what you're tolerant of. Not everything is deserving of tolerance.


So you won't tolerate people here unless they like the book? I'm not sure what you're saying with my quotes. It is inevitable that some number of readers aren't going to like this book. I don't think it's productive or inclusive to make them feel like they are a problem even before they have said anything sucks.

What's wrong with that?
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Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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