Really Big Books (was Re: The Princess Bride)

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Tue Sep 4 19:00:38 EDT 2001


On Wed, 05 Sep 2001 01:15:49 +0300, Tarja Rainio wrote:

>on 4.9.2001 22:31, Dorian E. Gray at israfel at eircom.net wrote:
>
>> Is this the Mary Gentle one that I recommended?  If so, I plead
>> ignorance; I didn't know it came in more than one volume.  The copy I
>> found in my local library is in one huge enormous volume (slightly
>> larger than the one-volume LotR!).  Glad you finally found it, though!
>
>It has been published as one huge volume in the UK and IIRC in four volumes
>in the States. The UK paperback I have has 1112 pages and very small print,
>so I think I might prefer it in four volumes... I haven't read it yet, the
>size of it is making me wait for a better time to start it.

Yes, it is the same one Dorian recommended, and yes, it's in four volumes
here.  Thank goodness.  The individual volumes are fat enough as it is.
What caused the confusion was that I didn't look any deeper at the records
(where I would probably have seen some kind of subtitle) and it was only my
refusal to believe that the library didn't have it that led me to the
shelves, and then.... So I have the first one and it looks good.

On the topic of Huge Books Broken Down for Parts--I have just finished Tad
Williams' _Otherland_, um, series.  It looks like a series, but it isn't.
It is a 3500-page novel published in four volumes.  The man has never
learned to write small books--not that he needs to, because people keep
buying the big ones.  :)  It was wonderful!  It's a futuristic
computer/virtual reality story, but it's really more like fantasy despite
the scientific setting.  The friend who told me about it said she hadn't
bothered getting her husband (a computer game programmer) to read it because
she thought he'd be bothered by the inaccuracies, or something.  Anyway,
it's really good and deeply layered.  I normally don't like stories that
have lots of separate but related plot lines (a la Robert Jordan or George
R. R. Martin) because I find myself becoming more interested in one plot and
annoyed with the time I have to spend reading the others.  But in this case,
I loved ALL the different plots.  I never felt the need to rush through one
section to find out what happens elsewhere.  Also, even though it's a single
novel, Williams manages to end each one in a way that gives each section a
unified feel.  By the time I was within two hundred pages of the end, I had
to stay up late to finish it and find out what happened, knowing that if I
did not I would lose more sleep by dreaming about it all night than if I
stayed up until 3:00 a.m.  The individual volumes are _City of Golden
Shadow_, _River of Blue Fire_, _Mountain of Black Glass_, and _Sea of Silver
Light_.  

I would write more, but my children tell me the clean-up fairies have
visited my bedroom and I have to come see RIGHT NOW.

Melissa Proffitt
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