Tag: religion

Wulf’s Yarn

WulfsYarn_All.jpgWulf’s Yarn is a slowly unfurling ribbon of a tale which orbits the plot, casting illumination here and there as it drifts from character to situation to the storyteller’s notes: after all, the book is titled Wulf’s Yarn for a reason, and Wulf is an interesting storyteller indeed. Wulf tells the story at its own pace, providing necessary context, rearranging events, quoting from others, and the result is a sedately paced, rich, detailed view of an atypical universe. The characters and institutions are well developed, and I found the religious background to the Gentle Order of St. Francis Dionysos is particularly unique and captivating.

Beyond the unusual character of the world in view of its characters and institutions, the story felt unique as well. The story of Senor Confrere Jon Wilberfoss is a great tale about facing challenges, failing at those challenges and the suffering and trauma that results, and recovering from that trauma and the form that recovery takes. This is a topic that feels rarely touched upon in the science fiction and fantasy media that I read, or indeed in American society today in general. The story is slow, deep, and enveloping, with a lot of interesting and important themes and sub-themes, such as vanity, character flaws, the nature of religion, the intersection of religion and history, the coexistence of different cultures, the nature of humanity / artificial intelligence / non-human intelligence, to name a few.

Cover Art Review: I am digging the title font and color, and the color scheme is good overall. But the ship itself is disappointing to me. While the surfacing itself is nice, the ship’s design is not particularly attractive, and it’s not clear if it is even the entire ship. However, the man whom I presume to be Jon Wilberfuss is very well illustrated, and matches my impression of him during his time aboard the Nightingale.

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Avalanche Soldier

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Avalanche Soldier
By Susan R Matthews

I started reading this novel, and about five pages in, due to something about the quality of the prose, I felt that I had read this author before. Turns out I had read, as Susan R Matthews wrote Prisoner of Conscience. Avalanche Soldiers is quite a different novel, though: where Prisoner of Conscience was tortured, difficult, and painful, Avalanche Soldier is earnest, inviting, and introspective. It is a story of two religions, the societies that follow each religion, and what happens at the intersection, where orthodox meets heterodox.

The world is fascinating, with a complicated history that is both well thought out and subject to the same issues of interpretation as real world history, with cultural, religious, and political considerations playing roles in shaping that history and how it is told. There are a wealth of terms and synonyms relating to religious and cultural persuasion, and it lends a richness to the work, although between the pilgrims, wayfarers, orthodox, Shadene, heterodox, believers, and dreamers, it can be hard to keep the terms straight at times.

I really enjoyed the viewpoint character: she was professional, capable, likeable, sympathetic, and a million other positive adjectives, all while espousing very different viewpoints from me. Her attention to the details of the natural world.

The immersion of the main character in the heterodox teaching is a great exploration of religious sentiment, how religious belief and faith functions, and was super interesting in general. That also leads into Varrick, the leader of the Varrick Teaching, and the mysteries behind her origins and motive. This is an aspect that I think was very well done: much at the core of spirituality and religion is about the mysterious, and that survives and is conveyed very well here.

Storycraft wise, the book is great. The flow and pacing are very well done, and  the mixture of scenes to summary was perfect, although there did seem to be an unusually high frequency of depicting characters lapsing into unconsciousness.