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AATE, Part 1, Chapter 1: The Burden of Too Much Time
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 11:17 pm    Post subject: AATE, Part 1, Chapter 1: The Burden of Too Much Time Reply with quote

Against All Things Ending
Part 1 " to achieve the ruin of the Earth"
Chapter 1 The Burden of Too Much Time

From the last of Fatal Revenant , Linden what have you done? we get an answer; a classic Donaldson TCoTC inside out upside down , rather least expected,,Linden," you are the only one who can do this." Inadequacy in AATE,is one of Donaldson's most exaggerated presentations, all the way to a dark humor perspective imho, with THE REAL Thomas Convenant( yes I got one with the book jacket in error!) ,,on his knees ,,with his " SELF" bleeding out of his now mortal body, like the pulp and seeds of a water melon that just came to know its role in Gallagher's stage act. From knowing everything,,being everything,,to transubstantiation by a large wood mallet forcefully redefining a melon. There is a play here,,in this upside down inside out existence known as the Land..From knowing,,being, everything..to knowing nothing or little.and admitting it to all assembled,,and...to saying,thats the way it Has to be. Of course Linden still has to say..No, thats not the way it is supposed to be, and its her fault for not doing it right.

Pretense comes from believing you know it all. TC knew it all, but as a mortal, can't contain it all. Linden's gambit is an act of self defeating..or at least,,pretensive self deception. By bringing back TC..he is made unable to tell her where Jerry is..ooopppps. Gallagher's act is that of a comedian. There is a irony ,a humor, here in chapter one with the contrasts,,with all the play of opposites, including: TC on his knees and the dead Lords standing tall, all the assembled , dead and " alive" having their say,,and Linden's simple question,,where is her son, Jerry,? unanswered,,and with the negation of " knowing" and the void being filled by the dependence on " feeling". TC " feels" the connections between the difficult to grasp reality of whats going on in Andelain and the memories starting with day one. How very non linear. How very Surreal. Lord Fouls origins and traverse, TC sees, feels, in Lindens countenance. There are " faults" , conflicts,,defined in chapter 1 and there are corrective actions, solutions suggested as well. PLACE,,again, is subtly emphasized, as in,,you can change places,, or, place the changes, when trying to deal with problems. Changing Places hasn't worked very well for Linden. By the end of this chapter,TC does make it clear to Linden,what she has to do, much to her horror. In dealing with ones pretense,,is the final hope of learning from the mistake of it. We can't know it all. We can't do it all. We are redeemed by doing as well as we can with our talents that we do have. That is anybody's Hope. Classic Donaldson paradox there..by admitting our inadequacies,,we increase our potential to become more adequate. Such is the taste of the fruit of freedom.

There are the antiquated words of the Land , the author uses to define or " set" the stage and atmosphere of The Land with. Some in this chapter include illimitable and frangible ( classic Donaldson antiques), monitory ( I do not recall SRD using this one previously but my memory is not qualified to say he hasn't)..orogeny and transubstantiation ( not antiques but not common words we use ever day either..hhmmmm)..then there is that..Surquedry..an arrogance..with the slightest suggestion of.sexual arrogance. Fascinating in its usage here: the narrator uses the word " surquedry" in what TC mite have been motivated by..if TC could have, he mite have acknowledged Infelice because...the worm would eat the Elohim first..thus their arrogance..their surquedry..would be answered appropriately. The perspective of this observation..and use of surquedry..is somewhat arrogant in its self..Again,,there is that Humor,,a black humor to my taste anyway..The Elohim would be the first to be F*#Ked over with the sleeping Worm now riled and on the loose. A nuance of the word surquedry,,that may not be available in any modern word?

The author ..imho, throws out some other good figures of speech as usual." ..as though he had fallen from the distance of eons ",I really liked that,,,great combining of time and space into one...".speech of mountains, world's glories,,like figures standing at the fringes of a dream.. He saw her clearly again, as if she had slapped away his confusion." Again there is that subtle surreal ..the truth of " feel"..the author begins to saturate us with in this book. " Feel" being a choice,,the other side to " to Know, reason, .".of the coin of perception. Interestingly..it takes TC 3 times to explain to Linden what /why TC did and is going thru..and 3 times Linden says" no." . Again, metaphors aplenty.,,as metaphor, this chapter points out that ,,choice..that possibility,,that answer to " Linden, What have You done? ,, Her failures..her inadequacies,,lead her to realizing she is " human" and thus her humanity is available to her as her redemption..Even " love" is made part of this realized humanity..Its not only OK to not know it all,,but much more positive,,productive,, to admit to not knowing it all. TC's return, his failure to be her needed answer.. in this chapter ,begins to be understood, as the best and thus necessary, answer for Linden. In this way..TC's failure,,the failure of knowing it all..brings Hope to Linden.

As for " The Burden of Too Much Time" as the first chapter., once again I am entertained beyond expectations. But..then again I don't think in terms of expectations. I take what it is as what it is. For a rather short chapter it is filled to the brim with mind stretching fun. Time and space are eloquently folded into each other within the context of the tale. The author succeeds with me,,anyway,,in getting me to feel the surreal...to being surreal.The all time line..in this chapter that backs that claim up , is.." As the structure of what he had known and understood and thought and desired failed, moment after unaccustomed moment, the sentience that had sustained him across uncounted ages became riddled with fault- lines and potential slippage . " WOW..letting go of logic, reason,,for the grasping of the intuitive, the " feel",,the instinctual, our humanity.. is excellently expressed in that line. If Andre Breton was alive today, Stephen Donaldson would have made Breton a very happy Surrealist with that line. Me? why I'd give Donaldson the Golden Sledge and Watermelon Award....
Onward.. The author reduces his use of antiquated or arcane words to just where they " work", answering a criticism of over using the olde words for decoration..if that is indeed a real criticism. ..yes a bit of sarcasm can be felt there. The tension..suspense..is set in this chapter well. Another different way of perceiving and " thinking" is introduced and the author means to tell us about Hope with it.....hhhhmmmmm..The Burden of Not Enough Time is...Hope.

MEL

[mod edit to correct the title]
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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 2:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fantastic dissection, Lurch!

I love your look at Donaldson's language. Especially unpacking the Elohim's "surquedry" to them being the first to be Spoiler:
fucked
over by the Worm! Surprised Awesome!

I love the juxtaposition of knowledge and feeling, as well. TC doesn't know what Linden wants him to know; he can't find her son. Covenant is there to meet other needs. Some of them are apparent from this initial chapter- he provides her with his unconditional support, he affirms that the fate of the world rests on her shoulders- her rejection of these notwithstanding. Other needs Covenant meets are shown later in AATE; still others, I am sure, will arise in The Last Dark.

The tone of this chapter makes me think of Linden discovering that Covenant intended to give Foul the ring in WGW. I suspect we are being misdirected into thinking Linden has created an unqualified disaster.
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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 3:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No question, but that Lurch has set the bar high for the AATE dissections, both in the content of his post on the opening chapter and that he put this out there well before the due date.

Feelin' humble and gettin' busy on my one-third-complete dissection of the second chapter...
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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 4:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

..he hee..I could see srd snickering when he put in this chapter TC exclaiming " What Have You Done?",,only as in being in Awe of Linden... Then he has Linden with the ..No.its wrong, I didn't do it right. ....Well a least he got her saying that she screwed up..a BIG step...but still..I agree, a fair amount of mis-direction at end of FR..which fed Our Pretense. This is the Surreal I refer to..not only the characters traverse the author deals with..but in the same theme he manipulates us as well..as long as we maintain being logical and reasonable. Both being predictable therefore manipulatable. So..there is fun in trying to get the feel of TC slipping in and out of the Land's reality and especially mind stretching..what TC "slips" into and how it connects with whats going on in the Land..Yeaa..I get a bit dizzy too going there.,,and like TC,,am not always in a hurry to leave...hhhmm..maybe a worm trap there..?

I can only suggest for all Dissectors..just be yourself..Like TC says to Linden..Only You Can Do This..Don't worry about what I've posted. I certainly don't know everything and I do believe each of us has a unique perspective,,something to say,,that none of the rest of us can pretend to know. Have fun!
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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow! Thanks lurch! Very fun and thought provoking opening dissection. I've looked at the Chronicles from a number of different angles and phases of my life, but you've done your best to make me view these works from a very skewed vantage. That's not easy to do and I resist it. I'm a lover of Klee, Miro, Breton, Mattisse, Dali, Picasso etc...but, perhaps, I've taken this story too seriously.

The surrealism is like Bin Laden's compound--it's been in plain sight so long I never, really, saw it. It took your post and watching Game of Thrones to realize this-I said: I really like the little surreal edge HBO has put on this series (GoT)--and then it dawned on me: of course there's a surreal edge, it's a frickin' FANTASY!!!! Probably the problem with Donaldson: he gets so deep in his character's heads it almost becomes too real sometimes. SO thanks for bringing me back.

Interesting editing your post as well as Firefox doesn't even recognize orogeny or surquedry. Guys, one request please-I don't allow cursing in the dissections. I know it's snuck in over the ages, let's try to keep it cleaner, this time. I was going to wait til' the 5th to comment as such and early posting took me by surprise--yet, lurch, your enthusiasm is contagious and will, hopefully, bring some new 'dissectors" on board.

Right, that's the beauty of dissecting: everyone's own unique cant on the story and/or the chapter. I think everyone sets the bar very high in their own way, and if that's the way Savor Dam talks perhaps I should make him a moderator and be done with it! Mr. Green
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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm honored, danlo...even by the mention of such being possible. I am no Wayfriend in terms of Chrons scholarship, nor am I all that frequent a poster in the discussions, but I know and love all of SRD's works.
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PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 12:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

danlo..okay, i understand on the " foul" verbage. Also..yea. , It seems to me that,,that is the trick of these Last Chrons..being very much into the heads of the characters and including US in the interplay. WE are made interactive with the Chrons. If one hasn't read or its been so long since reading, the 1st and 2nd Chrons , the reader has to go read up to get the references. Then there is the " mystery" as in FR's subterfuge,,that makes us right in there with Linden as far as being duped,,and at the same time..there are these " baits' the author throws out there like the Viles'es Majestic Castles; mystery, unknowns, tangents that pull us in and along. Now the author , imho,,as you point out,,introduces some humor here and there..I mean..TC is back..our Hero! and first thing he does is..FAIL. Whats that line ..there is no success like failure, but failure is no success at all. TC and Linden..?.. HAAA!! Has any one ever asked SRD if hes a Robt. Zimmerman fan?
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PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 1:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Something is happening, but I don't know what it is...
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PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 3:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cambo..And thats good. Putting a name or label on it..is like the last thing one would want to do. Its like the character that has to go nameless. Its counter productive to put a name on it...imho. I think or surmise or intuit..that if one must identify it..I would say ..we are being Surrealed by the author..From here on..depends on what is known about Surrealism..A hint..like Donaldson's TCoTC being centric on..being True to ones self..Surrealism is about Self Identity..So there is over lap and parallels. I've thought the authors TCoTC were his version of surrealism done in fantasy..his own brand, rightly so.. Yet..it seems to me,,that the Last Chrons..the Surreal has become not so subtle and thus more obvious in its homage's to some of the movements originators.; Andre Breton for example. The author has perhaps decided to make it more accessible..and thus increased his chances at succeeding..The thing is..as long as the reader feels something..it really doesn't matter what it is ..just as long as they feel ..is brought to feel something ..the author succeeds. So,,the funny here is..the Linden haters.. and the dark joke of chapter 1 is..the Linden Haters hero..Thomas Covenant..being brought back to real life..and immediately FAILING. Hey,,an author playing with his readers like that,,ya kno, has gotta love us. There is a lot of Love in Chapter 1. ...the Love of The Arch of Time...surrealed.
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PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, Mr Jones...

Okay, I'll stop now. Again, great points, Lurch.
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PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I never thought surrealism played a big role in the Chronicles as a whole. Part of the misdirection could be viewed as a lack of information in the POV character, and not because things don't follow rules (an oversimplification of surrealism, I know).

That said, this specific chapter benefits greatly from that point of view... hell, what Covenant's mind is going through is probably the very definition of surrealism.

I like to view it as having 'structural' causes... why Covenant is going through this experience is pretty much set in A causes B logic. However, his current mind can not contain or comprehend what is happening to him, so what happens? Things appear surrealistic.
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PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2011 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

O...I understand what you are saying and I do not mean to argue. Yet, i do believe..A) you are not alone with the " logical" pov.B) I feel the Surreal is important enough consideration to emphasize it for a greater appreciation of Donaldson's TCoTC.

The Surreal is coming from the author. Its not only TC who the author has characterized and has with dialogue of the Surreal. I brought up Pretense in the op. Yet the example of TC..the guy who knew everything, failing at the get go,,was not the only example of metaphoric Pretense in chapter 1. Berek scolds Kevin for being presumptive of the Linden/TC business in the Land. Kevin is pretensive in his damnation of Linden. I think if you look carefully at all the " slay her" advocates dialogue..you may see logic being used to buttress their fears..logic being used to put forth that which may not be the case..or simply..failed logic.Pretense. Infelice! Galt! and of course..Linden's own denial..her own self defeatism..how very..surreal.
But wait! There is More!..Surreal is way more than just the disdain for.. predictable logic and thus being able to manipulate people with it. The author has fun with a few other attributes of Surrealism. Time and space mingling into each other..or a 3 rd reality,,the extra reality, the Sur-Real..the association by " Feel" for greater understanding. The subtle play of black humor is another attribute of " the Surreal" and the repeated reminding of..." Linden, only you can do this.."..I can not , nor can the author, make you or any one.." surreal"...Just like Linden, only you can grasp the ...What is Surrealism..only the individual can grasp the perspective Surreal...only the singular person can find their State of Mind that is their Surreal.

Yes,,any one attribute by itself, is not enough,,but when one chapter is so loaded with the vocabulary and example,,the " feel"..my goodness,,there is a lot of goodness there. It seems to me the author is making it quite accessible. ..yet without mentioning the term, " Surreal" once. Perhaps I should have not mentioned it either..but I have Hope..and Chap 1 begins the journey so to speak, into Hope.
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PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2011 3:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cambo wrote:
Quote:

Something is happening, but I don't know what it is...


and:
Quote:

Thank you, Mr Jones...


A semi-obscure Dylan reference...adding some surreal to the thread...nice.

Very Happy
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PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2011 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Across the ages, he had wielded his singular self in defense of Law and life.

This concluding sentence to the first paragraph of this book contains much. Across the ages is explicitly talking about time, but in a way that begs a comparison to space. SRD plays with these two concepts quite a lot in this book.

...wielded his singular self... Well, we know that he IS the white gold, and as Timewarden he used his own identity as a tool for defense and preservation. And he has a singular self, not many. This, too, is a crucial point. I need to ponder the use of this word singular some more, but there's something important to this...perhaps a clue to what TC had become as a resurrected spirit...

Over the millenia, many individuals in the Land have done just this: wield their knowledge and skills to defend Law and life. But TC is one guy who, as part of the Arch, was able to perform this same type of defense at all times, and presumably in all spaces, while being Timewarden. Yet now he is like the lords of old (many of whom happen to be present in Andelain in this chapter), limited by time and space and physicality.

It's really interesting to think that TC's surreal moment is not when he crossed the boundary from life to death that made him become Timewarden to begin with; is not when he left the realm of limitation to enter that of limitlessness, but rather is when he is returned to the realm of limitation after having been a part of the infinite.

My head swims just thinking about which transformation was more surreal. I believe SRD is making it clear in this chapter...
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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No worries, lurch, I don't mean to argue either Big Grin I can at least understand why you would read surrealism into the Chronicles, it seems to me to be a valid interpretation. The main reason why I don't hold it is...well, Donaldson's writing is so structured, so rational. And being that surrealism is a sort of rejection of rationalism, I can't view it as being surreal (though this is more along the lines of Breton's surrealism as opposed to more modern surrealism).
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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wanted to re-read the chapter closely before jumping in [plan to do this all the way through] First a generality:
Lurch, I was certain you would go there, the surreal, and was looking forward to it, and quite enjoyed/appreciated the result...I have something to say on it I'll return to later...and by happenstance it connects with what Orlion said.
Earthbrah: A very important point...but what I think is missing [an also, not a mistake/disagreement] is the limits he had even as Timewarden. Things of space [and this is a disagreement] were outside his ability to act...kinda like the finger in the dam kid. There was nothing he could do about so many things...but he COULD plug a hole, save the dam. [I chose that on purpose cuz of water, and lurch knows a lot about water and surreal]
Anyway, returning to Lurch/Orlion...in many ways what we've got here, in this chapter, and a thing that's been developing throughout IMHO, is quite similar to what Brecht did with surrealism. Yes, the non-rational, the dream-like, the sub, pre, super conscious. But also, the interruptions, the concrete, the logical...but a step removed. SRD wants us "in the story" which Brecht would not...BUT the characters within it...TC and Linden particularly leading to and through this chapter...are constantly both submerged in being who they are, and distancing/commenting on themselves. There is some of the "consciously critical observer" and "fixing the not/but element" internal to the Chron's since the beginning...but the presence is growing. Having said all that junk, a couple specifics of what I mean/how it's working, both involve the Haruchai cuz I have a particular fascination with them:
TC bemoans their intransigence and "they should have obeyed the summons of their dead ancestors." Several pages later, they bow to Kevin's ghost "as if to acknowledge his despair; to honor his counsel."
Beings with extreme, precise knowledge of and commitment to the factual/logical/linear/unbroken refuse interaction with their own line/source/strength/existence. Yet they heed that which was responsible for shame/betrayal/failure. Denying power/weapons lest they lead to desecration, they participate in the same desecration as Kevin in slow motion...
There is both an essential disconnect AND an inherent consistency, a fragmentation AND coherence...things in solution, but insoluble.
That's enough of my blather, nice job Lurch.
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Sig-man, Libtard, Stupid piece of shit. change your text color to brown. Mr. Reliable, bullshit-slinging liarFucker-user.

the difference between evidence and sources: whether they come from the horse's mouth or a horse's ass.
"Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation."
the hyperbole is a beauty...for we are then allowed to say a little more than the truth...and language is more efficient when it goes beyond reality than when it stops short of it.
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PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 2:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

earth..to me..the author's use of " singular self" is demonstrative of the surreal concept of being Unified,,Whole. As Timewarden( thats not His name , thats a name others give him) TC is Whole,,time/space is all the same etc etc..but now resurrected in the 3D world of this fantasy ( I mean..the author is definitely getting our heads swimming),,he is no longer whole,,clearly divided between two realities..the Land of Linden's here and now and the Land of Memories...Fascinating it is,,but just a bit more than a whiff of it in chapter 1..is the part of all this,,that all is on equal footing with TC when TC is as the Timewarden. Even Foul is deemed necessary as a choice ,as a potential. How very Surreal.

Its not the reality of polarized Black vs White..Left vs Right..etc etc.the reality of conflicted existence ( Linden),,where any one's Truth, Wholeness is..but the reality of ones Imagination, intuition, and instincts where the black and white of any conflict is mixed and the individual's own " gray" is their reality.. keeping them " whole" or at least..in touch with their humanity. Chapter 1 plays out in Andelain and in TC's memories..conflicted for sure..but the bottom line is..TC hugging..TC caressing..TC extending himself to Linden's felt need. TC manages ..with compassion, wisdom and patient caring to set the Haruchai straight and..warn even US ..of some unpleasantries coming our way..all with equal responsibility. But,,Linden's self defeatism..as pointed out elsewhere and here also..her conflicted existence of being a " healer" and a " Killer"..TC just can'tget Linden to treat equally in her polarized, true false existence.One side always has to win out over the other..How sad.. She remains divided. polarized, conflicted.

As Cambo and Vraith point out..its that 3rd choice.. or 3 rd reality..or even a Choice one didn't even kno existed..that TC flip flops back and forth in..that starts here in Chapter 1. .." In some fashion, which was not yet awareness or true sensation, he recognized that he was surrounded by needs, by people and spectres who had gathered to witness Linden's choices."..The author''s " Some Fashion" being defined more in terms of what it is not,,perhaps he is being coy, but for the author who is known for his word smithy.." some fashion" sticks out like a red flag..imho anyway. o well..if it walks like a duck,,quacks like a duck...its probably a duck.
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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lurch wrote:
o well..if it walks like a duck,,quacks like a duck...its probably a duck.


How very rational of you Razz

In either case, one reason that I love the Chronicles so much is that its meaning varies between people... hell, it varies depending on your own life experience. There aren't many books out there like that.
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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 3:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Orlion wrote:
In either case, one reason that I love the Chronicles so much is that its meaning varies between people... hell, it varies depending on your own life experience. There aren't many books out there like that.
Exactly!

Reread this chapter for the first time since October-wow! It's imply a work of art. I could see, at least, the first three paragraphs as an onstage monologue, sheer poetry, an absolute orgasm for Covenant fans. Every character gathered in Andelian (except for maybe the Masters-and they might just be the Pips without Gladys Knight) has their own resonance, and, in a weird way their own musical quality: Kevin is a fricking nihilist deathmetaler, the Harrow is a psychedelic enigma and Loric a classic pianist. Infelice is meant to be there, but the Harrow is the serious trip here. He's kind of like the new biker guy who shows up at the party uninvited from a gang where only the good die young. A very weird but totally necessary juxtaposition. It's almost like you (the reader) are in Andelian seeing the scene unfold through his eyes...

Somewhat heartening and more manageable to be reminded that the Worm Spoiler:
starts out much smaller than I imagined during my first read...
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 2:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

danlo,,yeeeeaa..poetry..Its a difficult call for me to make,,which opening paragraphs of which opening chapter ,,do I like the best.,,well,,in the Last Chrons any way. I thought the first few paragraphs and pages of Fatal Rev were excellent..the subjectivity of place seemed emphasized. But AATE opener..with its play on Time...the setting,,the characters,,the plot..and all of that in high irony to TC's inadequacy..his failure. There are dimensions there that the author seldom compresses into such small space.
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