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 Post subject: [RBC] Trullion Alastor 2262
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:13 am 
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Grafo

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To get things started, the traditional questions to get things started:

1. Vance has a distinctive writing style, particularly in dialog. Did you find this interesting or irritating?

2. Trullion has a rather non-technological culture for a world set in a high tech space-faring uber-culture. How did you feel about this? Is this intriguing or off-putting?

3. The prutanshyr - how did it affect you? Barbaric? Understandable? Both?

4. Hussade is a large part of this novel. Did the importantce of this made up sport to the plot affect your appreciation of the book? How? Did the treatment of the Shierl bother you, or was it acceptable?

5. Fanscherade is an important movement which reaches its height of influence then falls apart by the end of the novel. What did you think of Fanscherade?

6. The Trills are notoriously hedonistic. Even the children engage in sexual play. Is this offensive, or does it feel natural within the setting?

7. Merlings hunt humans, humans hunt merlings. Both seem happy with this arrangement. Does this relationship work for you?

8. Is the treatment of the Trevanyi racist? Or is it evenhanded? Does the fact that the book was written 40 years ago affect your judgement?

9. Like Twain, Vance has a very low opinion of humanity, generally depicting them as, at best, self absorbed and genially corrupt. A very few are able to transcend this gravity of nature and soar. Does anyone do this in Trullion?

10. The Connatic, like Haroun al-Rashid, wanders the cluster in disguise. He is present in all three Alastor books, in Trullion as Rhyl Shermatz. Is this a silly conceit? Or is it the only way an absolute monarchy could work?

-clash

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Last edited by flyingmice on Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: [RBC] Trullion Alastor 2262
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:26 am 
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Grafo

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11. What did you think of the Tamarcho? Why did they do the hideous things they did? Was it just a reaction to the beauty of Rhamnotis?

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 Post subject: Re: [RBC] Trullion Alastor 2262
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 4:09 pm 
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Markizo

Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:05 am
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Overall, I quite liked the book. It had solid storytelling with engaging characters. True, some of the characters were a bit cliched, even for the 70's, but I don't consider that a major drawback. The story and atmosphere take precedence over the science, which I don't really mind. The story could have easily taken place in 19th C. Britain as it could in any number of other places - and why not?

To get to Clash's questions:
1. Yes, I noticed the distinctive style. I liked the style. It's possible that I'll start to find it irritating if I find that it carries over from book to book, from world to world, as it did with David Eddings, but for now I'm fine with it.

2. It's neither intriguing or off-putting. There's no reason for the two not to co-exist, and in fact in a high-technology world I can easily see people 'going back to the land' as it were. I noted it, but didn't really find this all that remarkable.

3. Both, but I'm rather inured to this kind of thing since I'm always trying to think of things to shock my players. I think we've seen worse in previous club books, and will see worse un future club books, too.

4. Hussade was cool. I'd love to see some games - surprised there isn't a league somewhere. I wasn't bothered by the 'treatment' of the shierl. In a generally promiscuous society it seems like a non-issue, and in fact I think certain aspects of society make far too much of nudity.

5. I didn't think it was an important movement in the book. It was all rather just a flash in the pan, in my view. A bunch of people want to make names for themselves, piss everyone off in trying to do so, and never really accomplished anything. They forgot that their goal was to do something worthwhile, and instead focused on getting themselves ready to do something worthwhile. It reminds me of the people who work their asses off all their lives, and then on their deathbeds wonder where all the time went. They've forgotten that the goal of work is to make a life for oneself.

6. Why would it be offensive?

7. I wouldn't have said that either party was happy with the arrangement, but rather accept it as status quo. Does it work for me? Not really, but I don't live there.

8. The Trevanyi are portrayed entirely from the Trill point of view. Is that point of view racist? probably. It certainly isn't even-handed. This has nothing to do with my view of the book. For me to judge alien cultures by my own standards would make me a racists. Strange question.

9. All of the characters in the book generally seem to be this way except for the Connatic, who seems to be at least fair and possibly altruistic. The next book, Marune, has a number of characters who are more generally helpful and less selfish-seeming.

10. Personally, I don't think the Connatic would have time as an individual to do all the travelling he's credited with, thus it is certainly a conceit. I don't find it realistic, but nor do I find it silly.

11. I think it has to do with the degree of fleigle.

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 Post subject: Re: [RBC] Trullion Alastor 2262
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 4:57 pm 
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Markizo

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Sorry! Still reading. I'll weigh in in a day or two.


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 Post subject: Re: [RBC] Trullion Alastor 2262
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:45 pm 
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Markizo

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Disappointing turnout for the first day of discussion :(

I liked it enough to buy a number of other Jack Vance books, including the Dying Earth omnibus, Planet of Adventure, and Emphyrion. Thanks for turning me on to Vance, Clash!

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 Post subject: Re: [RBC] Trullion Alastor 2262
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:48 pm 
Markizo

Joined: Tue May 04, 2010 5:17 pm
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Thalaba wrote:
Disappointing turnout for the first day of discussion :(


Well we do work and its a Friday... will post tomorrow.


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 Post subject: Re: [RBC] Trullion Alastor 2262
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 6:34 am 
Markizo

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Tullion Alastor 2262

For me Jack Vance is the anthropologist of Science-Fiction. Field anthropology was the big thing in social science the 60s and 70s. His approach is « realistic » in the sense that the characters invariably act in their own interest. There is no self-sacrifice for the greater good and there are no heros. Just people struggling to survive within the parameters Jack Vance put them into.

This was my fifth book from Jack Vance. The four other being The Tshcai - Planet of Adventure Series. Because of that, I found the culture(s) described in Tullion less interesting as they are very close to Earth’s frame of reference. Tullion in itself is a coherent book and the internal logic is sound but I found the story to be easily predictable.

I was not shocked by any of the cultural choices Vance made because within the book’s logic they made sense. Even the uneasy truce between the Trills and the Merlings made sense. The Trills are far too hedonistic to launch a campaign to get rid of the Merlings once and for all.

The Hussade does take that alote of room in the book. Fortunetely, the match by match description did lead to the pirate attack scene. So in retrospect it all works out and my growing frustration went away. The treatment of the Shierl did not bother me. Like most sports Hussade is a ritualistic reanactment of battle between two tribes. These battles were always about three things : killing the males, spoils of war and stealing women. We do have almost naked cheerleaders in football... which Hussade is clearly baed on.

The Fanscherade was certainly the most interesting notion developped in the book. In any given cultural group there will unvariably be, after some time, a number of people who grow dissatisfied with the status quo and will look for a different frame of reference.

On that note I was disappointed that the tension between the two brothers was set assided after a few chapters. Grey was certainly one of the more interesting characters in the book.

Tullion was very low tech in terms of SF. All the SF keywords and notions are there but the book could have been set in any area of human history. A greek tragedy would have been excellent. Change the Connatic into Zeus and voilà ! Its a typical tale of human greed and how far one will go to survive at the expense of others.

All in all I enjoyed reading this book but preferred by far the Planet of Adventure Series. A GURPS supplement for that series can be bought in PDF if you are interested in creating a camping on Tschai.

http://www.warehouse23.com/item.html?id=SJG6716


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 Post subject: Re: [RBC] Trullion Alastor 2262
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 8:11 am 
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Grafo

Joined: Sun May 01, 2011 12:40 pm
Posts: 794
Thalaba wrote:
Overall, I quite liked the book. It had solid storytelling with engaging characters. True, some of the characters were a bit cliched, even for the 70's, but I don't consider that a major drawback. The story and atmosphere take precedence over the science, which I don't really mind. The story could have easily taken place in 19th C. Britain as it could in any number of other places - and why not?


Vance, like Bradbury, is not interested in the science per se. He is very much interested in people and cultures. He was a merchant seaman during WWII, and traveled all over the world, continuing this travel until he went blind in the eighties.

Quote:
To get to Clash's questions:
1. Yes, I noticed the distinctive style. I liked the style. It's possible that I'll start to find it irritating if I find that it carries over from book to book, from world to world, as it did with David Eddings, but for now I'm fine with it.


Eddings, IIRC, is a devotee of Vance, as is Gaiman.

Quote:
2. It's neither intriguing or off-putting. There's no reason for the two not to co-exist, and in fact in a high-technology world I can easily see people 'going back to the land' as it were. I noted it, but didn't really find this all that remarkable.


That is my feeling, but some people have other opinions.

Quote:
3. Both, but I'm rather inured to this kind of thing since I'm always trying to think of things to shock my players. I think we've seen worse in previous club books, and will see worse un future club books, too.


Probably. The Trills are a genial folk, but they have a nasty side which comes out here.

Quote:
4. Hussade was cool. I'd love to see some games - surprised there isn't a league somewhere. I wasn't bothered by the 'treatment' of the shierl. In a generally promiscuous society it seems like a non-issue, and in fact I think certain aspects of society make far too much of nudity.


The "ravishment" of the Shierl may be different in other worlds. In Wyst: Alastor 1716 it is far nastier and more literal. Here it is more symbolic.

Quote:
5. I didn't think it was an important movement in the book. It was all rather just a flash in the pan, in my view. A bunch of people want to make names for themselves, piss everyone off in trying to do so, and never really accomplished anything. They forgot that their goal was to do something worthwhile, and instead focused on getting themselves ready to do something worthwhile. It reminds me of the people who work their asses off all their lives, and then on their deathbeds wonder where all the time went. They've forgotten that the goal of work is to make a life for oneself.


Ha! Good assessment! :D

Quote:
6. Why would it be offensive?


To me it isn't, but it is very difficult to offend me outside of deliberate rudeness.

Quote:
7. I wouldn't have said that either party was happy with the arrangement, but rather accept it as status quo. Does it work for me? Not really, but I don't live there.


Jut Hulden, Glinnes' father, hunted merlings until he was killed by them. Most Trills seem to take it more philosophically than I would. OTOH, the Merlings were there first.

Quote:
8. The Trevanyi are portrayed entirely from the Trill point of view. Is that point of view racist? probably. It certainly isn't even-handed. This has nothing to do with my view of the book. For me to judge alien cultures by my own standards would make me a racists. Strange question.


Is it? It's one that gets thrown about quite a bit these days. I am entirely of your opinion, BTW, but others are different.

Quote:
9. All of the characters in the book generally seem to be this way except for the Connatic, who seems to be at least fair and possibly altruistic. The next book, Marune, has a number of characters who are more generally helpful and less selfish-seeming.


True. The main character in Marune meets a number of exceptional people. It is part of what changes him. This is not typical.

Quote:
10. Personally, I don't think the Connatic would have time as an individual to do all the travelling he's credited with, thus it is certainly a conceit. I don't find it realistic, but nor do I find it silly.


The Connatic - while demonstrably traveling incognito per the books, most likely is "seen" in a hundred places he never went for every world he does visit. This is probably a good thing.

Quote:
11. I think it has to do with the degree of fleigle.


Possibly... Academics may cavil and assert otherwise. I withhold judgement.

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Flying Mice: http://jalan.flyingmice.com/flyingmice.html
Currently Designing: Lowell Was Right!
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 Post subject: Re: [RBC] Trullion Alastor 2262
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 8:13 am 
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Grafo

Joined: Sun May 01, 2011 12:40 pm
Posts: 794
Thalaba wrote:
Disappointing turnout for the first day of discussion :(

I liked it enough to buy a number of other Jack Vance books, including the Dying Earth omnibus, Planet of Adventure, and Emphyrion. Thanks for turning me on to Vance, Clash!


You are very welcome! :D

-clash

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clash bowley Flying Mice Games - Imprint of Better Mousetrap Games
Flying Mice: http://jalan.flyingmice.com/flyingmice.html
Currently Designing: Lowell Was Right!
Last Releases: IHW: Pigboats, Volant - Kingdoms of Air and Stone
Blog: I FLY BY NIGHT


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 Post subject: Re: [RBC] Trullion Alastor 2262
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 8:52 am 
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Grafo

Joined: Sun May 01, 2011 12:40 pm
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MARC C wrote:
Tullion Alastor 2262

For me Jack Vance is the anthropologist of Science-Fiction. Field anthropology was the big thing in social science the 60s and 70s. His approach is « realistic » in the sense that the characters invariably act in their own interest. There is no self-sacrifice for the greater good and there are no heros. Just people struggling to survive within the parameters Jack Vance put them into.


This is typical of Vance, though he does sometimes have heroes. Your observation that he is an "anthropologist" is spot on. He is fascinated by peoples and cultures.

Quote:
I was not shocked by any of the cultural choices Vance made because within the book’s logic they made sense. Even the uneasy truce between the Trills and the Merlings made sense. The Trills are far too hedonistic to launch a campaign to get rid of the Merlings once and for all.


Ha! That is most likely true!

Quote:
The Hussade does take that alote of room in the book. Fortunetely, the match by match description did lead to the pirate attack scene. So in retrospect it all works out and my growing frustration went away. The treatment of the Shierl did not bother me. Like most sports Hussade is a ritualistic reanactment of battle between two tribes. These battles were always about three things : killing the males, spoils of war and stealing women. We do have almost naked cheerleaders in football... which Hussade is clearly baed on.


I personally loved the Hussade stuff, but then I am a big sports fan. I would love watching the game - and if I were younger, participating. Unlike quiddich, the only other fictional sport I can think of, hussade would actually work as a sport. OTOH, Hussade has little or nothing in common with football in my opinion.

Quote:
The Fanscherade was certainly the most interesting notion developped in the book. In any given cultural group there will unvariably be, after some time, a number of people who grow dissatisfied with the status quo and will look for a different frame of reference.


I found Fanscherade, like Tamarcho, a very interesting reaction to those worlds' primary concerns. Each reflected in a distorted fashon the dominant culture. Tamarcho was a hideous cult - ork work as Tolkien would say - while Fanscherade would be admirable ideally, but both fail in different ways.

Quote:
On that note I was disappointed that the tension between the two brothers was set assided after a few chapters. Grey was certainly one of the more interesting characters in the book.


Yes - the Gley sub-plot was never rounded out, but life is like that. There are a number of sub-plots in my life that were never finished in a satisfactory manner, just dissolving and disappearing one day.

Quote:
Tullion was very low tech in terms of SF. All the SF keywords and notions are there but the book could have been set in any area of human history. A greek tragedy would have been excellent. Change the Connatic into Zeus and voilà ! Its a typical tale of human greed and how far one will go to survive at the expense of others.


Indeed. Human greed is a timeless subject. :D

Quote:
All in all I enjoyed reading this book but preferred by far the Planet of Adventure Series. A GURPS supplement for that series can be bought in PDF if you are interested in creating a camping on Tschai.

http://www.warehouse23.com/item.html?id=SJG6716


I have this, actually. It is quite well done, though GURPS itself holds no interest for me - typical of GURPS support material! Trullion is not my favorite of Vance's books either - that would be either Emphyrio or The Languages of Pao. In fact, Trullion may be the weakest of the entire Alastor series. Even Vance's lesser works are very much worth reading, and I thought this would be interesting to the Book Club, and very different from what we had been reading.

-clash

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Flying Mice: http://jalan.flyingmice.com/flyingmice.html
Currently Designing: Lowell Was Right!
Last Releases: IHW: Pigboats, Volant - Kingdoms of Air and Stone
Blog: I FLY BY NIGHT


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