Amph Human? The Works of Karen Traviss

Discussion in 'Archive: SF&F: Books and Comics' started by JediTrilobite, Jan 29, 2006.

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  1. JediTrilobite Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 1999
    star 7
    Karen Traviss is one of my favorite authors. I actually knew of her before she started writing Republic Commando. My first story that I read of hers was Suitable for the Orient, in Asimovs and it's still one of my favorites. So learning that she wrote the start to a trilogy and a couple of Star Wars books, I've since read them all.

    Her best books, IMO, is the City of Pearl, Crossing the Line and The World Before. She's constructed a huge, intriguing and wonderful, yet very offbeat universe in which everything takes place. Her characters are out of this world, literally, and so much attention has been paid to every detail.

    Who's a fan?

    Unlock on request.
  2. Sniper_Wolf Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 26, 2002
    star 4
    I read City of Pearl, and it was so-so. I disliked how the whole "we're 70 years away from home" part was smacked over the readers' head multiple times. I have considered trying the sequel to see if it got better.
  3. sidious618 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 20, 2003
    star 6
    I thought City of Pearl was pretty good but not spectacular. I will read Crossing the Line eventually, though.
  4. -RebelScum- Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 21, 2004
    star 6
    I've made this thread, it is in the index.

    -The Scummy-
  5. Excellence Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2002
    star 7

    Okay, I can finally join in having finished City of Pearl this weekend. I can see what classic literary tricks hooked the editor in first page, then first chapter. But as a whole book, I was far from impressed. [face_not_talking]
  6. Sniper_Wolf Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 26, 2002
    star 4
    Shall we get an excellence-class critique of it? :D
  7. Excellence Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2002
    star 7

    Not this time, I've got too much going on at the moment. I only excellence a book as you put it when it's total rubbish. City of Pearl was a decent read, and I can respect that. :p

    Basically, insufficient excitement at the expense of conversational "excitement." Put another way, it was bloody boring to read! No cliffhanger climax. Ending's as sedative in pace as the whole book. The noncapitalised aliens made it harder to pick them out from uncapitalised plant or material names. Aras wasn't really too 3D to read.

    On the subject of character characterisation, pretyy much everyone was a stereotypical "type" which made intrigue pointless as I unclothed the whole thing up front, and was proved right. You expect payload's scientists to act just as they did in these scenarios; I've read it many times in other books. Eddie Michallat was a page waster, nothing unexpected happened with him you can't predict. She drew on her news background in writing him, but aside from a simple stupid name Eddie to begin with, he too acted just as a typical reporter would. I didn't like the christianity aspect; I've made effort to avoid sci fi books that have it and wasn't aware this one did. I don't like seeing the usually prefered religion in sci fi and fantasy. The primal community was all but Amish. Yes, yes, I know why she used that religion: most of your readers are it, and it's universally recognised and known. But that still doesn't mean it's not cliche.

    The storyline was pure cliche too. Megacorporations controlling the future, you know they are either regulating life or polluting the planet to Jabba's armit. Frankland's persona is cliche: the typical tough-talking chick. The staring competition was seriously annoying. I know people who do that, and they're determined to win.

    Sadly, I disappoint them.

    On the positive side, well, the first chapter was a hooker, as I said before. Bonus points for the two Talmud quotes. I'm fed up of seeing greek and italian numerals in books like alpha and beta, it's absolutely cliche. Black Fleet's author used Hebrew numbers instead, and it was a world of freshness.

    I haven't listed all the issues, but time presses for me. I'm not in a hurry to read the second book, but I've not ruled out a definite no. The voice and storytelling were the strong points, but the ideas and execution lacked freshness. It's just that a hard-edged protaganist women is getting a bit abundant these days, like Y-beginning words.
  8. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6

    I've enjoyed all the books the series so far. Ironically, I like them a lot better than Karen Traviss?s Star Wars books, and despite what she says about her Star Wars books, I think that they're head and shoulders above. They aren't always innovative (though there?s one or two interesting twists on existing ideas), but they do have a deft and interesting take on the characters, and the overall plot is interesting. They probably won?t rank as classics of sf literature (though I believe that Karen Traviss has the potential to write such a classic) but they?re well worth reading.
  9. JediTrilobite Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 1999
    star 7
    I completely agree, although she has gotten quite a bit of critical praise for her works thus far.
  10. JediTrilobite Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 1999
    star 7
    Up - Republic Commando #2 is coming out soon, by Karen.
  11. The_Flargg Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2004
    star 2


    First Zonama's a stripper, now this book's first chapter is a hooker? I hope you're getting your money's worth, Excellence.
  12. Excellence Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2002
    star 7

    First book was heavily generic in both people and plot. I'll be a long time considering the sequel. It had sharp potential and the voice was good, but the uncapitalised alien names makes them harder to distiguish on-page to any plant or furniture name.
  13. JediTrilobite Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 1999
    star 7
    I asked Karen about the pacing of the first book, and she said that it was deliberate. Things certainly heat up by books 2 and 3.
  14. Excellence Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2002
    star 7

    Pacing wasn't an issue for me. City was just too sedative in action and lack of any sort of finale. It fizzled out as quietly as it begun; and I have to say, teh constant reminder of Frankland's unaltered body was a dead giveaway of what would happen.
  15. JediTrilobite Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 1999
    star 7
    You don't have to have action to have a good story.
  16. Sniper_Wolf Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 26, 2002
    star 4
    I think he's refering to action as in the characters lack of doing much in general. I agree about the Frankland part. Made the read quite boring. If the second book is another disappointment I'm dropping the series.
  17. Excellence Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2002
    star 7

    I would prefer to be reading action, but I've read good books without it, or very little of it. But I'd feel more rewarded if there was an explosive finale. Unfortunately, the book just fizzled out. It made for a rather predictable and unexciting conclusion.
  18. -RebelScum- Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 21, 2004
    star 6
    [face_plain]

    -The Scummy-
  19. Excellence Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2002
    star 7

    Ah; you caught out the moderators. Yours did indeed precede by a few days. They may slience you in some back alley, watch out. Plum-cheeks breeds sinister consequence. And it's such a small forum, so easy to oversee too!

    Scum, what is this "evil cliffhanger" ending book 2 you spoke of first post of your Traviss thread? Please blankout the info.
  20. JediTrilobite Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 1999
    star 7
    Evil Cliffhanger: Shan gets killed.
  21. Excellence Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2002
    star 7

    As I anticipated. But does she really? o_O
  22. -RebelScum- Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 21, 2004
    star 6
    She get's thrown into hard vacuum.

    -The Scummy-
  23. Excellence Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2002
    star 7

    But the series revolves around her . . . How long does she stay that? o_O
  24. JediTrilobite Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 1999
    star 7
    Read the 3rd book and you'll find out.
  25. Excellence Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2002
    star 7

    I'm Triple Zero will have more excitement. I'll pass up for now. :p
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