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A Critique of The Last Dark
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2016 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ur Dead wrote:
The first Chronicles was written as a new story.
The second chronicles were written to clean up the chads left from the first book.
The third chronicles were written because the fanbase pestered
and moaned for a new one.


We did? I was fine after the 2nd Chonicles. The ending to WGW was solid, in my opinion.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2016 12:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

+JMJ+

wayfriend wrote:
Re-reading for me was well worth it. First read goes too fast -- the emotion issue. You pick up a lot more detail the second time around. And that, for me, made the story more fulfilling -- the reasons behind things became clearer, the parts I disliked seem far less tiresome. I think you will be glad you did.

I have to agree with this. This series -- truly remarkable, IMO -- certainly does not reward slapdash reading.

But it's a mature work, and mature works tend to be polarizing for some reason.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2016 5:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to wonder if people's opinions on 3C are in some sense dependant on the age they were when they read the first two? 1C and 2C were much more story based and as such resonated to a high degree with the young mind. In coming to the third series some thirty years later, it was inevitable that the (even subconscious) comparison one inevitably made, would not stand up well against the 'rose-tinted' memory of yesteryear, imbued as it was with the joire de vivre of simply being young at the time. How many of us were simply (if again subconsciously) hoping to briefly recapture that feeling by the vicarious means of reading a novel. Yes, 3C is a mature work and of a different order than the others, but perhaps it is only by the shedding of an impossible to realise expectation, that we may truly come to the point of being able to appreciate its merits.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2016 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Book, I meant chronicles... my error..

I had heard that he really didn't want to write a third but the fanbase convinced him..
So he did..
and it had time travel, a new group of people, a crazed giant who was to
explain why the giants could understand other people... etc

After rereading the last 4 books..
It just seems like he put a mis-mashed story together
and tried to put a final conclusion to it.

He wrote it like he was tired... The Donaldson creativity just
looked like it wasn't there when he wrote the first two.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
I have to wonder if people's opinions on 3C are in some sense dependant on the age they were when they read the first two? 1C and 2C were much more story based and as such resonated to a high degree with the young mind. In coming to the third series some thirty years later, it was inevitable that the (even subconscious) comparison one inevitably made, would not stand up well against the 'rose-tinted' memory of yesteryear, imbued as it was with the joire de vivre of simply being young at the time. How many of us were simply (if again subconsciously) hoping to briefly recapture that feeling by the vicarious means of reading a novel. Yes, 3C is a mature work and of a different order than the others, but perhaps it is only by the shedding of an impossible to realise expectation, that we may truly come to the point of being able to appreciate its merits.


Peter, I've commented elsewhere on the influence that our advancing years and changing perspectives may have had on our opinions of all three of the trilogies. I think it's an important point.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll also point out that we've had over 20 years to ponder and appreciate the earlier Chronicles. Spending that much time thinking about it yields insights that aren't possible until such time has passed, and then it sedimentates those opinions into one's personal bedrock. Newer works cannot stand a chance against that. Not until a similar amount of time goes by.

Ur Dead wrote:
I had heard that he really didn't want to write a third but the fanbase convinced him..

Well, that's not true, for a certainty! That's wrong in about three different ways I can think of.

It's more like Donaldson felt that he was insufficient to his vision for all those years, but eventually reached the point where it was now or never.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DrPaul wrote:
peter wrote:
I have to wonder if people's opinions on 3C are in some sense dependant on the age they were when they read the first two? 1C and 2C were much more story based and as such resonated to a high degree with the young mind. In coming to the third series some thirty years later, it was inevitable that the (even subconscious) comparison one inevitably made, would not stand up well against the 'rose-tinted' memory of yesteryear, imbued as it was with the joire de vivre of simply being young at the time. How many of us were simply (if again subconsciously) hoping to briefly recapture that feeling by the vicarious means of reading a novel. Yes, 3C is a mature work and of a different order than the others, but perhaps it is only by the shedding of an impossible to realise expectation, that we may truly come to the point of being able to appreciate its merits.


Peter, I've commented elsewhere on the influence that our advancing years and changing perspectives may have had on our opinions of all three of the trilogies. I think it's an important point.


I've also commented on this elsewhere. Smile I don't think the point is as important as others here. I don't think it takes 20 years worth of thought to know whether or not one set of books is as good as another. Nor are any of us relying on 'rose-tinted' glasses of yesteryear. Most of us reread the 1st and 2nd Chronicles prior to the LC, with updated opinions (some of those books went up in my ratings, others went down).

Most of us here have put in years worth of analysis of the LC by now. We've been reading, evaluating, and posting about these books since 2007, for christsake! I think it is insulting to those thoughtful critics among us (such as myself) to disregard all that thoughtful criticism as merely an inability to shed "impossible expectations." By the first book, Runes, our expectations were recalibrated. That point has been irrelevant for nearly a decade now.

I do not think the expectations were "impossible." Donaldson very well could have exceeded our expectations. After all, he's had all that time to become a better writer.

There are plenty of sequels that I think are better than the originals. There are even later Donaldson books that I think are much better than the original Chronicles (e.g. The Gap). This line of argument is demonstrably false, not to mention dismissive and insulting to the thoughtful, intelligent, and well-reasoned objections to the LC. It is just as insulting as if I'd said that everyone who likes the LC is blinded to how bad they are by fanboy hero-worship of their favorite author. When you have to dip into the alleged psychology of your fellow fans in order to find an explanation for their opinion, you have already taken a step away from simply reading their words and letting them speak for themselves ... a move that says more about the one who makes it rather than the hypothetical subjects of such groundless speculation.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You put a lot of words in my mouth that I didn't say, and then gave me a good dressing down for having said them. That's not really demonstrating a better class of commentary.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
Yes, 3C is a mature work and of a different order than the others, but perhaps it is only by the shedding of an impossible to realise expectation, that we may truly come to the point of being able to appreciate its merits.


The thing is that at times 3C recaptured the magic of the first two. For me those times were:

1. Linden in Berek's time
2. Covenant's journey to Foul's Creche
3. Linden and Jeremiah while Convenant was at Foul's Creche

The pattern is obvious in that I enjoyed the writing better when Linden and Covenant apart better than when they were together. OTOH, the worst was both times they were marching around under Mount Thunder.

To some degree, it bothers me worse that I can see the SRD magic at times than if the whole thing completely sucked.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Over the weekend, I decided it was time for a re-read; starting with LFB. Today I realized I never came back to Kevin's Watch to see what others had to say about the Last Chronicles.

I see that we all seem to be in agreement that there was a lot to be disappointed with. The idea of a missing chapter seems right to me also. It felt like the biggest issues they faced was resolved between chapters.

Now I may have my facts incorrect (it's been a while since finishing the series), but the as the books progressed, we learn there is no way to solve the problem of the Worm. It's headed for the Blood of the Earth, and there is nothing to stop it.

Suddenly, the Elohim (who said they could do nothing and were afraid of being eaten by it) are able to put the worm back to sleep? Why not do that from the beginning?

I think SRD backed himself into a corner, and had to find a solution. That rubbed me the wrong way.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IIRC, the Elohim were only able to sedate the Worm after it had sated its appetite and was therefore subject to what Menolly refers to as "food coma."
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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having reread AATE twice now (I think 3 times total), I have a much better sense of where it was coming from, and where it was going. Also TLD makes a lot of sense, and so on. The problem isn't so much the story as the delivery. It's not that repetitively saying things is silly. Chuck Pahlaniuk(sp.?) wrote a book of repetitive cryptic sayings that would make LOST look like a blank piece of paper (Diary, IIRC). However, when "now or never" and "as ready as she would ever be" are repeated, it's... weird. Like, is that really how Linden thinks of her challenges? And Covenant too? Like, they're really always getting ready? Of course they are, but pointing it out like that doesn't get the message across as well as it might have been, I would suggest.

Similarly, although random events occurred at the end of TPTP, we have been conditioned by the more logical flow of TIW and WGW's endgames, and FR's for that matter after all, to expect a more motivated account of Covenant fusing with the Despiser. Because that's the scene that's really lacking the most, if you will, in the last chapter. Not recreating the world, I mean you'd be describing the recreation of Time using temporal language, which presumably would have been destroyed, or so it might seem... However if SRD could expend 3 pages on 3 seconds (heartbeats) in "Hold Possession," you'd think he could come up with a more intense fusion scene for the ur-Lord and the Despiser. Not just suddenly hugging him and using his wisdom to save the world(!).
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