The Geomancer


Gradisil : Painstakingly Well-Crafted

I'm a little late noticing this, but Eve's Alexandria has posted a very detailed and thoughtful analysis of Adam Robert's Gradisil, with dueling (though not very opposed) opinions from hosts Nic and Victoria.

First off, Vicky says, "Jon Courtenay Grimwood tells us (via The Guardian) that Adam Roberts is 'the king of high-concept SF', and if the Arthur C. Clarke-nominated Gradisil - Roberts' sixth novel - is representative of his work, I must concur. One of three 'traditional SF' novels in the running for the Award, it proves a painstakingly well-crafted and thematically dense novel, heavy with ideas.... If Gradisil's structure is a variation on The Forsyte Saga, the narrative thrust has all the flavour of Greek tragedy: murdered parents, vengeful children, wronged husbands and siblings in conflict, mixed together with political and social upheaval - the development of national government and the consequences of power conjoined with the fate of families."

Then Nic offers, "I thoroughly enjoyed Gradisil, and have to agree with Vicky's contention that it is "painstakingly well-crafted and thematically dense," then goes into a discussion as to whether the "narrative playfulness" of the book works or not. Nic ends by praising one of the most incredible passages in the whole book, a chapter in which an astronaut falls to earth: " astonishing, soaring piece of writing, showing what Roberts can do when he lays aside the irony for a while."

Meanwhile, I love the depth of this analysis and the duel-host format. And I concur, obviously, with Vicky when she says, "It would be a worthy winner of the Clarke, I think."

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