Revisiting wilbur...

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Revisiting wilbur...

Postby Mira » Tue Nov 11, 2014 1:37 am

...is like reconnecting with my own younger self.

Hello all.

I first came across WS in my teens...forget exactly when then...it was the Courtneys...and then reading the burning shore likely about the same age as centaine was in the story, when we meet her.

Now after nearly two decades I am finding myself reading WS again, and none of the pleasure is lost...mostly even enhanced and may be I am noticing some little problems here and there, but for the most part, in all my reading through the years, the highbrows et al, I have not encountered another writer and a world that he loves as much and imparts that love in us too...may be JK Rowling and JRR Tolkien come to mind with their scope of availing mythical possibility in the human dimension.

In this mad rush of reconnecting, I have just now reread WTLF, ASF, TBS, and I am forgetting now, the one with writer from New York...Bawu's grandson...the Craig mellow one. This was a bit disappointing.

Anyway, just thought I will write here and properly introduce myself, as I am feeling compelled to comment and share this process of rediscovering WS.

Will write a commentary elsewhere on reencountering TBS which is the freshest one right now.

Best.
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Re: Revisiting wilbur...

Postby annagram » Tue Nov 11, 2014 7:13 am

Wilbur has written some really great books. My favorites are about the Courtney's. Followed by the ballantynes. I have read all of them except the most recent ones and have Read quite a few of them a second time
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Re: Revisiting wilbur...

Postby standeman22 » Tue Nov 11, 2014 1:49 pm

Hey Mira,

iirc craig mellow appears in the books: The Angel's weep and A leopard hunts in darkness.
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Re: Revisiting wilbur...

Postby Mira » Wed Nov 12, 2014 9:17 am

standeman22 wrote:Hey Mira,

iirc craig mellow appears in the books: The Angel's weep and A leopard hunts in darkness.



It was the leopard. Thanks, S.
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Re: Revisiting wilbur...

Postby E-Hoog » Thu Nov 13, 2014 3:58 pm

Very nice to be able to read them all again with fresh eyes :)

Regarding the sequence in which you are reading them: didn't you skip The Sound of Thunder? Also a very good read
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Re: Revisiting wilbur...

Postby Mira » Sat Nov 15, 2014 1:38 am

Good catch there...:)

I did skip with allowances for I could not locate the book. And I really wanted to get the burning shore which probably left the most searing impression on me the most.

I do recall having a rather romantic fixation on 'Thor'. I am sure I loved SoT. But while reading the anders book, found myself having some vague reservations about Ruth.


Yes, the whole process is quite amazing. Both for the pleasure of reading the books again, but also having this bookmark of being a pre-adult when first encountering and now a firmly adult person now...but may be just about ;)

So I only have the whole process of becoming an adult in between to measure myself (I think more than the books) with this reread.

I don't recall loathing centaine quite as much as a child.

[spoiler alert]

God how I loathed her...it was a a psychological window to my own prejudices? I am sure what we detest tells us more of who we are than even what we love...if not as much.

May be it is the remarkable power of WS that he did capture a teenagey character arc and now in my adulthood I am all judgemental? Worth pondering.

But in reading TBS my memory was quite alive until the lion tree. After that may be it was too traumatized by everything else, and conveniently forgot...but even before though, I could not make myself understand how she could abandon these old people who basically gave her life all over again sneak out like a goddamned teenager...but that is it...I feel that centaine never grew out of her spoilt brat and she didnot even seem one in France except when she inveigled stupid promises from Michael, with the harrowing experience of surviving in the ocean first and desert next, one imagines she might have learnt to appreciate life....but she does not.

She appreciates power rather than love. Yeah I did not like her at all. Infact was so shaken by how much I hated her...which seems such a strong emotion even on a fictional character...could not begrudge her any happiness in POTS...but WS had laid the seed of her monstrosity towards Lothar and her other son, and the environment and memory of her protectors, the bushmen, in TBS quite clearly.

Did anyone else read her so negatively?

And should I move this to a new thread on 'Centaine'?
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Re: Revisiting wilbur...

Postby E-Hoog » Tue Nov 18, 2014 6:08 am

For me actually Sparrow Falls was the least interesting of the three :-).

I revisit a lot of WS books every couple of years. Especially the Courtneys (sea-faring and the "newer" generation) and the Egyptians. I still like the sea-faring Courtneys best, with the Egyptians (Seventh Scroll and River God; the others not so much) and the other Courtneys a close second. I'm now reading Power of the Sword again, after reading The Burning Shore. Probably my third or fourth time around. And I have the same experience as you have: I really can't understand a lot of Centaine's actions. The most tragic is the whole Lothar-business. I never felt this way before while reading these books. Even the whole Isabella-issue...
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Re: Revisiting wilbur...

Postby Mira » Wed Nov 19, 2014 1:35 am

E-Hoog wrote:For me actually Sparrow Falls was the least interesting of the three :-).

I revisit a lot of WS books every couple of years. Especially the Courtneys (sea-faring and the "newer" generation) and the Egyptians. I still like the sea-faring Courtneys best, with the Egyptians (Seventh Scroll and River God; the others not so much) and the other Courtneys a close second. I'm now reading Power of the Sword again, after reading The Burning Shore. Probably my third or fourth time around. And I have the same experience as you have: I really can't understand a lot of Centaine's actions. The most tragic is the whole Lothar-business. I never felt this way before while reading these books. Even the whole Isabella-issue...



I can see why about the ASF...it was the beginning of the baffling but evil and spoiltbrat children...as for me even storm is so unlikeable there...but ASF has many redeeming qualities for sure...for although not 'family' Mark feels very real and has a consistency of character and in my 'research' I feel that I came across the exact person (real) that might have been the basis of some of MA.... One of the members here has his picture...it is skukuza (jamela)...there are other pictures you really see the beauty of the man and the soul in his eyes. So I found that endearing and so real. And the beginning of the conservation theme...I can still not condone hunting but it WS's credit that he atleast makes you understand this 'other' quality...

As far his independent books, I know I loved elephant song back then and may be one other of his independent books, but in general liked the embedded quality of his series more...they really become a family for you. His sea ones were less entralling to me then...even more cruel? I don't reall now...but will see when I get to them.

The ballantynes became more real to me as they were the second series I came across and this one I shared with my father so that much more special. Zouga and Robyn..."Africa crouched in the horizon...' Things you always remember.

Te Egyptian series recaptured me after trundling through the twin monstrosity of gosh which one was that...the Ben il something or other? The hunchback...museum...I am getting little bits of images cut across a good span of 20 years now...since reading them around 18 years of age...taita was phenomenal in river god. River god is its own thing. Although the seventh scroll was pretty up there too. Although these I had read later, they are not the same bag as to say as the rest of WS for me...I didn't enjoy them less, the storytelling and the vividness of vision is all there...but the Egyptians will always be 'second home' to me...compared to ladyburg and Cape Town, and Bulawayo and the mastifs of table mountain or Rhodes...which tend to be my 'first'.
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Re: Revisiting wilbur...

Postby E-Hoog » Thu Nov 20, 2014 3:49 am

I like the Ballantynes, as well, but not as much as the rest.

As stand alones I like Elephant Song, Hungry as the Sea and Eye of the Tiger a lot. Everybody always raves about Sunbird, the twin monstrosity you are referring to (:)), but I never saw the point. There is a lot of crap out there as well, what with Goldmine and Diamond Hunters for instance...
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Re: Revisiting wilbur...

Postby Nefer » Sun Nov 23, 2014 2:14 pm

I kind of feel the same way.

Tried re-reading RG a few months ago and I just had to put it down after a while because of how uncomfortable I felt reading about a grown man's lust for a child.

JMHO.
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Re: Revisiting wilbur...

Postby Mira » Mon Nov 24, 2014 5:45 am

Hi nefer.

I actually just left river god, half way...which I never, never do. Abandoning a book. Like a child :) i used to be most forgiving of even the most ponderous writers....The crime has to be very very serious. But river god just did not captivate me this time. I am sure I will loop back and finish it eventually...

Although I must say, it was not because of the encountering ethical problems that usually emotionally upset me, with the book...i just did not seem to care about the characters as before or with other books.

But don't you think the age issue is a non issue for a story set in that time, place and culture?

But it is most interesting how some things bother us more sometimes than at others...as you can see with some of things mentioned earlier here and elsewhere by me and e-hoog...I am fascinated by this process, for I feel it has the possibility for me to understand myself, better :)

Cheers.
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Re: Revisiting wilbur...

Postby E-Hoog » Tue Nov 25, 2014 3:27 am

In River God I never had these misgivings actually. I had them in The Quest though...
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Re: Revisiting wilbur...

Postby Mira » Tue Nov 25, 2014 7:46 am

Hi there e-hoog.

Btw, what is your name about?

Just picked up RG, and I have to say, it picks up after the Hyksos...thank god. may be I always love the parts of being on a journey...that constant movement, and finding your joy on the road.

And yes, I too could not really find fault (and believe me I try, I can't not notice a flaw, helpless critic in service of some elusive perfection...) with taita on this regard in RG but then again with quest....the whole thing is an abomination...haha. Harsh, I am.

I realize I am writing in this site, so much about things that bother me and it is not entirely fair to WS...for there is so much that I absolutely love. But it is hard to gush about those immense moments of beauty...only silence will ever do. As the man knows so well...that deep companionable silence.

So mr. Smith, if you ever read these snippets sent out in the wilderness of space, remember it is mostly about love :)

On that note...I have noticed too, that there seems to be a general disgruntled ness about WS here in these pages from some people...not sure about that.
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Re: Revisiting wilbur...

Postby E-Hoog » Fri Nov 28, 2014 7:02 am

Hi Mira,

My name is the name of a building that I used to work in. It was a nickname I often used 'back in the day', but by now it has kind of lost its significance. I'll ask Matt one of these days to change it (or maybe I can do it myself).

The 'journey' part of River God is indeed enjoyable, but my favourite part is the part before the Hyksos, where Tanus goes after the Shrikes.

I think the reason we might be harsh on WS from time to time is that we all feel very disappointed and let down with/by him with his recent offerings. And with recent, I mean anything after Triumph of the Sun. This shows in the posts of the members. I have been on here since, I don't know, 2008 I guess, and from then on the bad years began. We all reminisce about the good ol' days where he was still writing like the adventure king :). There is a general feeling that he should have stopped when he was still ahead.
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Re: Revisiting wilbur...

Postby Mira » Fri Nov 28, 2014 12:16 pm

Well, e-hoog,

After finishing the seventh scroll, I can definitely see your point explaining some of the negative feelings towards the man....the seventh scroll while having some truly excellent parts, kept frustrating me at some of the really really weak places...I mean the woman had been attacked three times already, and she has made the connection of Pegasus, and yet they don't take any precautions in the valley? And how can they expect all their work in the valley to remain from the 'uglies' not miles away?...I had the same feeling of being really really insulted, that I had while reading Quest. Where WS could not bother to come up with a better arrangement, a more intelligent story arc than making thorough idiots of the characters and us for buying it!

May be it is time I put it all to rest.

I still have the sound of thunder, from the golden oldies to read and cherish. And elephant song. May be some of the ballanynes again.

But he really got me this time. The gratuitous violence visiting upon mostly the good dark people of his stories while the leads, especially the females all very haughtily and callously move past some seriously damaging mistakes really gets my goat, and my sense of deceny and fairness.

So there. Well mr.smith, it seems we really really tried to be loyal to you. But could you say the same?

Sadly... :( signing off now.
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Re: Revisiting wilbur...

Postby Nefer » Sun Dec 14, 2014 6:13 pm

It's really sad that we're all feeling this way about WS, because there is some that I can forgive as being the culture at the time the books were set. But other issues are harder to forgive.

For myself, once I'm done reading the latest Egyptian one, I'll pretend he stopped writing after A Time to Die. It's better that way for everyone :)
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Re: Revisiting wilbur...

Postby jeffw » Thu Dec 18, 2014 2:22 am

Hi all; find it hard to get to grips with the decline, more so the author's dogged inability to accept the inevitable. His promoters' relentless in-your-face PR work will go on, right to the end of the six book contract. However, there are at least some of us who will refuse to be fooled, and sadly, those who will like nothing better than to bury their heads in the (desert) sand. :?
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Re: Revisiting wilbur...

Postby E-Hoog » Mon Jun 22, 2015 7:12 am

Time to bump this old thread. I'm currently rereading Rage, and besides what we already discussed about Centaine (that she is quite heartless from time to time, etc.) I find myself unbelievably annoyed by Tara. Bloody hell, she can be such a child from time to time when it comes to Moses Gama. I'm only halfway through, but I'm sure I'll have more to complain when I've finished :wink:

That being said, I also reread Elephant Song, and that is still very good! This will forever remain one of my favourite stand-alones. Nowadays, the publishers never would've allowed Wilbur naming his main character Armstrong. Instead, he woul've been some distant relative Courtney or Ballantyne, he he

Just like Mira commented last year, I'm amazed by how differently I now see some of the characters and storylines...
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