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#260 Scott Lynch: Red Seas Under Red Skies - Off in the distance
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The Bellinghman
Date: 2008-05-23 09:15
Subject: #260 Scott Lynch: Red Seas Under Red Skies
Security: Public
Tags:books, reviews
Scott Lynch: Red Seas Under Red Skies

Paperback: 592 pages
Publisher: Gollancz (June 28, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0575079258
ISBN-13: 978-0575079250
Category(ies): Fantasy

The second of the Gentleman Bastard Sequence (it says here), this is the sequel to the The Lies of Locke Lamora.

After the events of the earlier novel, Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen have had to flee the scene of their original adventures, and have fetched up in the exotic city of Tal Verrar. Lamora and Tannen have set their sights on a daring theft from the ultimate gambling establishment, the Sinspire. But unfortunately for them, the various factions within this (new to them) city have their own ideas, and Lamora and Tannen end up being forced to run a pirate ship, despite having no experience in seafaring.

There are levels of plot here. Who is on what side is not necessarily clear; what factions are trying to do what, even less. Our pair of protagonists are at the same time attempting to finesse the system, and unaware of the scale of forces about to crush them. It's got pirates, well done pirates. It's got buckles to swash, and deep dark treachery. It's got a rich and satisfying story, driven by a pair of crooks who fill that classic role of being selfish but not malicious.

Entertainment how it should be.
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kit
User: mizkit
Date: 2008-05-23 06:25 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I love those books. :)
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2008-05-23 06:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
They are fun, aren't they.

The interesting thing will be whether he can move on to other settings, other stories, or whether he gets pigeonholed in one series (the way Naomi Novak seems in danger of becoming). I hope he can. (And I hope Novak can, too, come to think of it - ending up as the Patrick O'Brien of Fantasy may be rewarding, but surely any writer wants to be known for a varied body of work, to be a Robert Louis Stevenson rather than an Arthur Conan Doyle.)
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kit: writing
User: mizkit
Date: 2008-05-23 06:59 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:writing
They're huge fun, and the only reason I don't wish I'd written them is because I think writing them would be really hard work, and they're so much fun to read I'd rather have the fun than the work. :)

...you know, part of the reason I've been so busy writing so many different things is precisely because of that pigeon-holing thing. I mean, I think you have to set off with a certain amount of arrogance or confidence to think you're going to sell well enough to run the risk of being pigeon-holed, but a lack of confidence has never been one of my problems. It's a very thin line to balance, I think, because people want more of the same and it's always a risk to try something different, but, as you say, I think as a writer (at least for me) it's much more satisfying to be able to do many things than one thing that I know works.
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2008-05-23 07:10 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
On those lines, I find autopope's variety really very impressive. He's got the six-volume megawork out there (well, first four volumes, anyway, fifth undergoing revisions). He's got the Laundry series, two volumes so far. He's got the Singularity hard-SF side with Accelerando. Saturn's Children is both a wonderful romp and a meaningful examination of the meaning of existence. There's the so-near-future-it's-next-year's-headlines Halting State and 419 to follow.

Not to mention Glasshouse. (My least favourite, but only in comparison.)

Well, that's his fault for trying to start enough different series that a publisher would bite for one - they've bitten for all of them.

What was your excuse, again? *grin* And will Kate Dermody be seen again?
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kit
User: mizkit
Date: 2008-05-23 07:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Charlie awes me. Not just the breadth of what he writes, but the deliberation of his style choices--these will be Bond pastiches, these will be MMORPGs, these will be hard SF, this will be a Heinlein homage...I can barely imagine approaching things the way he does, and yet it's so interesting I want to /try/...

*laugh* My excuse was, um. Well. Really, it was a little bit of a mistake, too. :) I expected Luna to turn the Negotiator books down, but they accepted them the day after I pitched them to Del Rey, so I offered Del Rey something else that I had half-done. And the rest became history... :)

Poor Cate Dermody's sales numbers are so bad (because the Bombshell line was handled so very badly) that I don't know if I'm going to be able to resurrect her. Bookstores order books based on the last numbers on the last book by an author, and 2500 books is not enough to inspire anybody to buy a whole bunch of new books by that byline. I've been toying with the idea of proposing to my publisher that they republish the Dermody books as CE Murphy books under their general fiction line instead, which is about the only way I'd let them out as Murphy books.
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2008-05-23 07:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh, and as a reader, yes, I do want more of the same. Given the choice, volume 4 of that series whose characters I know and love, against a total unknown? I'll want the series to continue. Well, my heart does.

My head knows that new, fresh settings, new stories, are more satisfying. Once I've read that new start, I'm happier. It's beforehand that I still want the series.

And we've been bitten, haven't we, precious? When I consider the danger of the series continued too long, I always think of Pier Xanthony's Ant ... Piers Anthony's Xanth series. The first volume? Fantasy Award winner, and rightly so. The second? Maybe two thirds as good. The third? Two thirds as good as the second. And so on.

I stuck it for over ten volumes before I finally gave up. But some of Anthony's work I'll hold up as among the best in the field.
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