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Your search for "Gap Cycle" returned the following results.

Some of you might have noticed that over the past weeks, tags have been added to the posts on this website. I’ve done this gradually and over quite some time, so even though I’ve used more than one thousand different tags, it really wasn’t that tedious to do (besides, most of the tags are simply paste/cut from the post content). Doing this, I listened to audio books at the same time (No Country for Old Men and Use of Weapons), so even though I think it should be mostly correct, I’d be grateful if you report any inconsistencies you might find. Suggestions for how to improve tagging are also welcome.

I view tags as a freer form of categories, further specifying and categorising the post. Previously, I’ve been forced to use the search function to group things together. For instance, if I wanted to link to my reviews of Stephen R. Donaldson‘s Gap Cycle, I had to make a link to a search query, which would return any results containing the words “Gap Cycle”, thus returning a lot of posts (such as this one) which mentions the Gap Cycle, but contains no information about it whatsoever. Now, I can link to a tag called the Gap Cycle, and, voila, the five reviews are displayed properly. This is of course just an example, there are lots of other advantages, such as making it easier for the visitor to find similar or related posts.

Going through old posts, I also noticed that pingbacks were disabled for a large majorit of the site’s content (I’ve no idea why), so enabling them lead to a huge increase in comments (pingbacks count as comments). This means that the recent comments is cluttered for now, but that should be back to normal as soon as people comment on new articles. The idea is of course that pingbacks should be updated when they appear, not one thousand at a time.

The tags can be used in two ways. First, in the Archive, they are displayed as a cloud containing the 50 most popular tags, and as an alphabetical list containing all tags (1069 at present). Second, in the footer of each post, the dags attached to that post is listed, making it easy to find other posts using the same tag. For instance, in order to view other posts like this one, find and click the tag “Site related” below. Third, I hope that there will some day be a powerful search function in WordPress, which would allos the visitor to combine various categories and tags, this enabling a display of, say, all Reviews, In English of Hugo-award winning novels written by Lois McMaster Bujold. Alas, that is yet in the future, but tags are here now and they are here to stay.

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Title: Mordant’s Need – A Man Rides Through
Author: Stephen R. Donaldson
Year: 1987

A Man Rides Through is the sequel to The Mirror of Her Dreams, Stephen R. Donaldson’s Mordant’s Need, the story about Terisa, drawn from our modern world into a world of mirror, power and conspiracy. This is the last volume, which I felt I wanted to read after having been impressed by his mastery of plot shown in the Gap Cycle. At the end of the previous volume, most of the threads are still unconnected, leading me to conclude that the potential for greatness certainly was there.

I wasn’t completely mistaken. On the whole, this story is good and looking only at the plot, it’s a worthy follow-up to The Mirror of Her Dreams, which i gave four snails. Since the things I like with Donaldson stay roughly the same, I’m not going to elaborate on that now, but rather point out why I have decided to reduce the grade to a mere three.

To begin with, this book is too long. Yes, yes, I know, I always say that, but bear with me, To begin with, the story could have been written using fewer pages without any problem. More serious than that, though, is that quite a number of pages are spent on things lacking even the slightest trace of interest. Without spoiling too much, I can say that there are way, way too many and too long descriptions of battle in A Man Rides Through. Personal conflict is okay, but descriptions of pitched battles? I might have liked that when I was fourteen, but now it’s just a waste of time.

Additionally, I have a minor complaint. Donaldson uses phrases like “Oh, Geraden” or “Oh, Terisa” almost compulsively. Once I noticed this, I got more and more vexed for every time I heard it. I admit it might sound insignificant indeed, but it still annoyed me a lot.

That being said, this book isn’t bad. I have chosen to focus on the differences between this second volume and The Mirror of Her Dreams, and then it is true that the latter surpasses the former in almost every regard. However, these books have to be read together, because the story isn’t even remotely finished after the first book. Taken as a whole, I think Mordant’s Need is good, but the two books don’t even come close to the brilliance of the Gap Cycle.

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Title: Mordant’s Need – The Mirror of Her Dreams
Author: Stephen R. Donaldson
Year: 1986

It’s been ten years since I read Mordant’s Need for the first time, that time in translation to Swedish. I read my notes from that time and my opinion wasn’t very favourable. In short, I said that the book was full of good ideas, but implemented in a bad way. I was not pleased. Since then, I’ve read and liked a lot more by Donaldson and I’m 25 instead of 15. This lead me to the decision to revisit Mordant and see if my opinions from a decade ago still held true. They did not.

Mordant’s Need is the story about Terisa Morgan being pulled from her existence in our world into Mordant, a kingdom on the brink of disaster, caught between mighty enemies, and with a king who seems to have lost his sanity as well as his will to defend his people. Around the king, his followers begin to doubt their reasons for their loyalty and start making their own decisions on how to meet Mordant’s need. In this realm, mirrors work as gateways to other places and other dimensions. Terisa is translated from our world as part of an effort to save Mordant, but apparently something went wrong, because the imagers were expecting a mighty warrior, not a young, insecure woman.

I have said it many times before, but Donaldson is exceedingly good at two things: characters and plot. This book contains a number of unique characters, and although they might seem a bit exaggerated at times, they fulfill their function. The plot is intricate, but it’s hard to say how good it is before it is revealed in the second and final volume about Mordant, A Man Rides Through. However, I have faith in Donaldson’s ability to handle plots.

I have three things I would like to complain about. First, there is a serious flaw in the plot. I don’t like to spoil the reading for potential readers, so I will let it suffice to say that Donaldson portrays a number of characters that should be able to figure something out, but still fails to do this (even though it’s blatantly obvious to the reader). Second, the character of Terisa is a bit annoying. I’m sure Donaldson has written her that way on purpose, but her weakness is tiresome in the long run. Of course, she is not a static figure throughout the book, so I’m prepared to disregard this complaint. Third, the book is too long. The story isn’t at all finished after The Mirror of Her Dreams, so it’s really a question of reading both volumes or none at all. I will continue with A Man Rides Through straight away, so you will have my opinion about this book in more detail later.

These flaws still only add up to a subtraction of one snail, because this book is much, much better than I remembered. It’s not as good as the Gap Cycle (quite far from it), but it’s still interesting enough. Donaldson is a master of intelligent plots and that means a lot to me. Let’s hope he can keep the story going at this pace to the end.

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Titel: Gap into Madness: Chaos and Order
Författare: Stephen R. Donaldson
Utgivningsår: 1994
Recenserad: 2006-04-29
Status: I bokhyllan

Detta är fjärde och näst sista boken i The Gap Cycle av Stephen R. Donaldson, så läs inte den här recensionen om du vill behålla spänningen i böckerna innan.

Efter att ha flytt från ruinerna av Billingate, rör sig huvudpersonerna (hjältarna är knappast rätt term i det här sammanhanget) mot ett systemet Valdor Industries. Angus har fått något sånär fria tyglar, men vet inte riktigt själv varför han gör som han gör. Alla tidigare huvudaktörer är nu samlade på ett och samma skepp, vilket är rätt intressant. På hemmaplan fortsätter Wardens spel mot sin chef, Holt Fasner, och insatserna blir högre och högre.

Chaos and Order är lik sina föregångare. Välskriven och välstrukturerad på alla sätt och vis. Dock tycker jag att den saknar det som framförallt A Dark and Hungry God Arises uppvisade, nämligen en riktigt intressant intrig. Dessutom tycker jag att boken är för lång för sitt innehåll: 750 sidor behöver mer underhållning än vad den här boken klarar av att leverera.

Det är dock ingen som helst diskussion om huruvida jag ska läsa klart serien eller inte. Nu återstår This Day All Gods Die och jag förväntar mig inget annat än en spektakulär och bra skriven avslutning på den här serien. Jag återkommer med mer om detta senare.

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Titel: The Gap into Power: A Dark and Hungry God Arises
Författare: Stephen R. Donaldson
Utgivningsår: 1992
Recenserad: 2006-03-28
Status: I bohyllan

A Dark and Hungry God Arises är den tredje boken i Stephen R. Donaldsons SF-epos The Gap Cycle (de två första böckerna är The Real Story och Forbidden Knowledge). Eftersom serien är tätt sammanhållen är böckerna allt annat än fristående och därför utfärdas en spoilervarning för de båda tidigare böckerna.

Till att börja med är namnet så bra det blir. Det är faktiskt så att jag började läsa den här serien delvis därför att The Gap into Power: A Dark and Hungry God Arises är ett så otroligt bra namn. Jag skojar inte nu, det är helt sant. I övrigt tar boken vid där Forbidden Knowledge slutade. Captain’s Fancy är på väg mot Billingate, på flykt undan Amnion. Samtidigt har Hashi Lebwohl förvandlat Angus till en cyborg som tillsammans med Milos skickas till just Billingate. Deras uppdrag är mångfacetterat och i så många lager att inte ens de själva vet vad de egentligen kämpar för. Under tiden får vi också följa det politiska spelet på hemmaplan, både inom UMCP och i övrigt. Om tidigare böcker hade väl genomtänkta intriger är det här ett ännu bättre exempel på detta. Superbt.

Jag har funderat en del på varför jag tycker att den här serien är så bra som jag tycker att den är. Svaret tror jag står att finna i trovärdigheten. Låt mig förklara. Jag menar inte trovärdighet i ren teknisk form (teknik, fysik, etcetera) utan mer åt det mänskliga hållet. Personerna som figurerar i boken och deras inbördes relationer är fruktansvärd (både blidligt och bokstavligt talat) trovärdiga. Ingen gång tappar författaren denna trovärdighet och intrigen känns alltigenom som om den vore på riktigt.

Det är dock inte bara helheten som är fantastisk, utan också detaljerna. Hur kan man motstå en bok där två mäktiga slagskepp heter Tranquil Hegemony respektive Calm Horizons? Det är förstås omöjligt. Detaljer på personer, förvecklingar i intrigen och många andra små saker förstärker helheten och lyfter boken ytterligare. Det är också skönt att se att Donaldson faktiskt gör något vettigt med drygt 500 sidor; boken hade nog inte fungerat på färre.

Jag rekommenderar egentligen inte Gap till speciellt många, även om jag tycker att det är bland de bästa serier jag någonsin läst. Anledningen till det är det djupt deprimerande innehållet. Böckerna tar upp teman som är långt ifrån behagliga och gör det på ett sätt så att det lika gärna kunde ha varit på riktigt. För mig gör det böckerna så mycket mer jordnära och därmed bättre.

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