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[personal profile] lesbiassparrow
Ever read a book which could have been awesome and shows flashes of that potential but it all gets lost in a welter of not very good writing? I just read Byzantium's Crown, which is an alternate reality novel set a 1,000 years after Antony and Cleopatra won at Actium. Some things are recognizable - Byzantium was founded, the emperor has both Roman and Egyptian titles, but it just all falls apart under a welter of fantasy. I did like the idea that many of the elements of Greek and Egyptian religion are real but it just takes over the novel. And how many bloody seers can you fit in one novel? Apparently a lot. Such a pity because I did love some parts, such as the mosaic of Octavian surrendering to Antony and Cleopatra after Actium, and it really could have been so good. As it is I find it a waste of an interesting concept.

ETA: Recommendations of good alternate reality books gladly taken.

Date: 2008-09-05 04:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meganbmoore.livejournal.com
What AU time periods are you accepting?

Date: 2008-09-05 04:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
Anything! But I guess it would help if it were a culture that I was familiar enough with the history of to know where the AU part comes up.

Date: 2008-09-05 04:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nyssa23.livejournal.com
I seem to remember liking Fatherland (in which America never gets involved in WW2 and so the Holocaust is never discovered) but it was pretty creepy and I frankly don't think the writing would stand up to a re-read. They made an HBO movie-of-the-week about it which was also creepy as hell.

Alternate book series I absolutely LOVED: S.P. Somtow's "Armorica" trilogy, which takes place in an alternate America but I can't recall exactly how it got different. They're out of print though so may be hard to find.

Date: 2008-09-05 04:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
Fatherland! I'd forgotten about that one, though I remember the whole premise being really bleak (how much bleaker can you get than Hitler winning) and perhaps too bleak for me to really get into it.

I shall look for the Armorica series and see if I can turn them up somewhere. Thanks!

Date: 2008-09-05 05:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oxymoronassoc.livejournal.com
I feel that way about Twilight. Just the first one. Until it goes into that weirdass shit at the end.

Date: 2008-09-07 12:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
I thought Twilight declined after Edward started talking. But, yes, there's a clever idea badly handled.

Date: 2008-09-05 07:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vaznetti.livejournal.com
Read Christopher Priest, The Separation -- it's an AU where WWII was (sort of) cut short and is very very cool and well-written and above all smart.

Date: 2008-09-07 12:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
I shall look for it - thanks for the recommendation.


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