Re Brust, censorship and Millie
ven at vvcrane.junglelink.co.uk
Tue Jun 20 21:36:43 EDT 2000
Things come in on this list so thick and fast i'm finding
it hard to keep up, I feel like a dog with three tails.
As promised to Chris in particular I'll start off by talking about
Steven Brust. He's a Hungarian American who makes a lot of use
of the Hungarian language and folklore. There's a series of books
about a guy called Vlad Taltos. To start with he's definitely an
antihero, assassin, brothel keeper, owner of gambling dens as well
as sorcerer, witch (very distinct in these books) excellent cook and
devoted grandson. The earlier books deal with his rise to power in
the criminal clan, the Jhereg while also containing a lot of
backstory about his childhood -- which does a lot to explain why
he is the way he is. In spite of everything Vlad is an attractive
character, as are some of his friends tho they are even worse than
he is. Vlad is one of a racial minority of humans of apparent
hungarian origin living in a parallel world dominated by the
Dragaerans, (ie "those Elfs" as Vlad's grandfather, Noish Papa
calls them). The Dragaerans seem to have been genetically
manuipulated by a race of superbeings so that each of the clans
has characteristics of their totem animal. As the series goes on it
is clear Brust has questioned the morality of writing about a
character at odds with his own views (in an interview I don't have to
hand he mentioned a friend of his, an innocent bystander, who died
in gang warfare). Vlad marries a fellow Easterner and, when she
becomes involved with revolutionarys, both Easterners and
Dragaerans from the servant/peasant Teckla clan, things start to
fall apart for him. In the most recent book in his timeline he has
become a wanderer, wanted by his former associates and the
authorities, estranged by his wife and cut off from his friends.
These books are generally funny in a mordant way. I should
mention Vlad's familiar, a jhereg (the clan totem) which is a small
carrion eating dragon who'll do anything (almost ) for a pair of dead
Teckla -- which I think are mice. Yeah "think" eight books into this
series and I still haven't worked out all the clan animals let alone
who the mysterious Jenoine are, what makes Vlad so important to
the demon goddesss Verra, etc. Brust is really parsimonious with
this kind of info so you are continually trying to put all the hints and
suspicions together. I find this fascinating and very conducive to
rereading in any sort of order since as you gradually find things out
they often change how you view things in another book. Brust has
also written a number of stand alone books and then there is
another series in the world of the Dragaerans, the Khavren books
which are an very amusing Alexandre Dumas pastiche set at an
I used John Clute and John Grant's encyclopedia of fantasy for part
of the above. ( I originally wrote fantasty which sounds like a
subject for the list).
Did I say I can go on a bit , I think I've just proved it, hope it
encourages people to look at Mr Brust.
On Mon, 19 Jun 2000 17:21:31 +0200 (CEST)
Britta Koch wrote
And I just got a real shock from
> reading that Harry Potter was to be banned, because I could imagine a
> lot worse books that I still would find important for kids to read AND
and tanaqui (whose date and time are below) said
We should demand that Black Maria (sorry, _Aunt Maria_ in the
censoring > States) be taught in the Bible belt!! DWJ has very little
respect for the > we-know-best element of society, and is a deal
more tough-minded than Rowling > in demonstrating it. If the
fundamentalists have a fit over Harry Potter's > wizardly free spirit,
then we can expect full-on coronaries over DWJ.
Whenever people start pointing out things the fundamentalists
might ban i start worrying that they might be listening -- don't give
them ideas! I only want to put a farthings worth into this debate. I've
noticed that while its reflexive to agree that kids should be
protected from bad stuff this contradicts my own memories of the
effect of my childhood reading. SPOILER WARNING - GEORGE
ORWELL. For example Animal farm, which I read at around 9?10?,
against parental and brotherly advice, because it was "about
animals" gave me nightmares (Napoleon the pig was buried next to
our garage and came out of his grave!) yet I greatly value learning
its lesson about power at such an early age. I never forgot the poor
animals wondering whether the inhabitants of the farmhouse were
the pigs or the humans.
Don't vote it only encourages them.
>On Mon, 19 Jun 2000 18:24:52 +0100 (BST)
> So Ven =/ Venturus...
> See previous mail for Ven explanation. Naturally I collect SF/
> Fantasy uses of the name. most embarassing so far is Old Venn in
> Delany's Neveryon books. My brother thought that one was funny.
Hey, field archeologist (the list masked your originating email so the
> rest of the list will have to put up with this) - what do you think of
> the "excavation" of Canopus and Herakleion, off the coast of Alexandria?
> I was especially enthralled when they brought up two more chunks of the
> Naos of the Decans - the extrapolations of the star system on the naos
> fragments we have will be checked against a new chunk of hieroglyphic
Its terrific, some amazing stuff down there. Explain about the Naos
> In private email, the theory-of-state-evolution would be a fun discussion.
Wouldn't it just, how do we (anyone else who's interested) go about
organising this? just to summarise some of my ideas I think you
can make a useful model of social development from Hunter
Gatherer bands to Tribes (usually simple agriculturalists) through
more complex Tribes to Early States. Technological and economic
changes provide the impetus. One of my hobbyhorses is the idea
that this evolution is still ongoing, the state is not the end of the
process and (down to my politics) I think we should think very hard
about coming up with something better I add to this the observation
that radical change in human culture can happen rapidly, taking
eveyone by surprise (ie the growth of early states themselves, or
the fall of the USSR) and you'll see why I think these interesting
times we are living in are very interesting indeed.
> I collect odd linguistic quirks, like "kiosk" originally being a word
> (Turkish) for "summerhouse", instead of the British assimilation as a
> grubby little booth full of stale cigarettes and blooming warm chocolate
> (or possibly a rancid telephone). Or the fact that you have in English
> a generic "limbs", with specifics "arms" or "legs", a generic "digits",
> with specifics "fingers" or "toes" but the specifics "hands" and "feet"
> have no generic for this middle-size descriptor. Some languages (esp.
> East European ones, for some reason), do have a generic there [some of
> my data came from surgical cockups where the specific hadn't been made
A nice bit of etymology I came up with recently was a common
origin for all three meanings of the word "box", a container, a tree
and a punch. They are all derived from the greek for fist, which is
pyx-- now a speciakl religious box. The connection to punching is
obvious, a fist can be a container, so metaphorically a box, and the
box tree has wood that is good for making boxes. Isn't language
> On Mon, 19 Jun 2000, Deirdre Behan wrote:
> And why does she go around
> > all the time seeming to be so afraid of Chrestomanci - think of the time
> > when Cat and Jane try and run away?
and Lizzie quoted on Sun, 11 Jun 2000 16:04:35
> My love, we were
> needing you, she says when he appears
both referring to Millie in CL. I certainly didn't get the impression
that millie was afraid of Chrestomanci, worried for him perhaps. I
think the thing is that most of our impressions are filtered through
Cat and he's wrong about quite a lot of things. Cat is afraid of
Chrestomanci so he rather assumes everyone else is too. However
I also wonder whether Millie is rather backgrounded because she is
a good mother and thats maybe something that Dwj was.............
I'm on shaky ground here, I was going to say uneasy with, then I
remembered she's a mother herself and realised that if I'm on to
something then its more complicated than i thought. Anyone care
By the way I like CL and LOCC equally, As I already said in a
private e mail to Helen Scott, who helped out when I was trying to
figure out joining the list, one of my cats, the handsome Alex is a
dead ringer for Throgmorten. Named for Alexander the Great, due
to his lordly grandeur, he's a big, slightly siamesy, Ginger. When
he's not being lordly he has a clownish sense of humour. I was just
going to mention that his birthday is the summer solstice when I
realised thats today already! So a big birthday "Wong" for Alex
(and chicken for all three of them tomorrow I mean today after I've
been to sleep) .
And congrats to Becca for the story, sorry to hear about the dismal
dinner but at least they didn't give you tinned peas and skinned
mice! (of course being veggie you would have refused the latter).
To unsubscribe, email dwj-request at suberic.net with the body "unsubscribe".
Visit the archives at http://suberic.net/dwj/list/
More information about the Dwj