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S. M. Stirling

Discussion in 'The Book Rack' started by repooc, Oct 11, 2006.

  1. repooc

    repooc Millennium Member

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    I am reading a book by S.M. Stirling - DIES the FIRE, that you may find interesting. It would be found in the SciFi section but it is more of a "what if" or "alternative history" type of read. There is a sudden event "The Change" that has the effect of disabling all electronics, internal combustion engines and firearms. No it is not a anti gun book. It takes place in the Pacific Northwest. After the "Change" much of society dies off. Survivors must rely on skills from yesteryear ie.. archery, blacksmithing, close quarters combat with knives. The talents of many reenactors are very valuable. It shows just how much we take for granted in modern day America.
    Read and enjoy.
     
  2. tobpd7220

    tobpd7220

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    Loved that book. Finally finished the other two in the trilogy, they aren't as good as the initial book, but still well worth the read I thought. I also liked Peshawar Lancers by Stirling.
     

  3. Vic303

    Vic303 Senior Member

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    You might also enjoy Eric Flint's 1632 & 1633. Similar premise but a different take on it.
     
  4. SDDL-UP

    SDDL-UP

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    I' almost finished with the book myself. While I do enjoy his writing style I think ist is comical the way the witches are embraced as leaders after "the change". Everything falls into the main characters lap a little too easily. While other leaders, religious and otherwise fail, the witch is portrayed as a totally normal and upright person. They are very ritious and indignant about the small amount of criticism they do receive. Of course the Christians are portrayed as the lunitics...

    A somewhat enjoyable read, but I really get a strong feeling the S.M. Stirling wants a wiccan lifestyle to be viewed as normal and ritious. I don't know if this is his personal lifestyle but I would suspect so.
     
  5. Ganesh

    Ganesh Okie 4 Life

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    Havent read the last one...."A meeting at corvallis" I think its called. I downloaded the first 5 or so chapters to read before the book came out. Gotta go out and buy it someday, heh.

    Eric Flint is good too. Ive read 1632...have 1633 and Ring of Fire sittin on the desk to be read.

    Another good guy to read is Harry Turtledove. Reading Settling Accounts: Drive to the East, as we speak. Theres alot of good reading from Harry Turtledove thats all connected. Starting with the end of the Civil War with:
    How Few Remain

    Then follows with three sets of trilogies:
    The Great War...

    The Great War: American Front
    The Great War: Walk in Hell
    The Great War: Breakthroughs

    American Empire...

    American Empire: Blood and Iron
    American Empire: The Center Cannot Hold
    American Empire: The Victorious Opposition

    Settling Accounts...

    Settling Accounts: Return Engagement
    Settling Accounts: Drive to the East
    Settling Accounts: The Grapple

    Like I said, alot of reading...but well worth it, and very enjoyable.:thumbsup:

    I love reading from all three authors. They all produce some good stuff.;)
     
  6. spork

    spork Caffeinator

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    I am getting ready to start this book in the next week or so. I am glad to see folks around here like it.
     
  7. DonGlock26

    DonGlock26

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    I stopped half way through it. I couldn't take those two issues any more. But, I am picky about books and films.
     
  8. SDDL-UP

    SDDL-UP

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    DonGlock26,

    I don't blame you. It is downright eerie how he portrays the wiccans (witches) as "normal" and only the christians as judgemental hate mongers. Even his rebutal of the "suffer not a witch to live" is sooo lame as he ignores THE FIRST COMMANDMENT!!! Hey if the nutjobs in the book want to worship the "goddess", "dark lord", "horned lord", "deceiver", etc. (there are a BUNCH in the book) then I think you need a little more conflict with them an a lone christian preacher that dies after seeing the main witch go into battle more for the first time. I mean to think that all of these people are just going to ignorantly say .."wiccan huh..seems to be workin' I think I'll follow them gods too..." that's just lame IMO.

    Not only does S.M. Stirling practically BEG for acceptance of polytheistic (evil) beliefs, he also bestows titles on the main characters in the book, titles they have not really earned! It's a big fantasy land for sure! "lord" this and "lady" that... it would be more interesting if these people actually EARNED the title rather than just have a few chums start callin you that 'cause they think it's cute. The main witch even get's her owm "clan"... like everyone is going to give up their own heritage and name to join a bunch of witches!?!

    I do like S.M. Stirling's writing style, but it's just too bad the subject is so skewed towards the wiccans, it's just waaay out in left field. I am left thinking that I'm really glad I didn't buy the book because I'd be STUNNED if this guy wasn't doing all kinds of wierd stuff in his basement....
     
  9. DonGlock26

    DonGlock26

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    I understand and I could have put that aside, but your other point was the clencher.

    "Everything falls into the main characters lap a little too easily."
     
  10. spork

    spork Caffeinator

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    Well, I just finished the entire three part series (starting with Dies the Fire). I can say that I honestly enjoyed them very much. The author went to a great deal of trouble to describe the way in which people had to adapt to the new needs of defense, such as fabricating weapons, armor and training for both individual combat and group actions. The book series shows the evolution of these capabilities and knowledge over a ten year period. As an extreme version of "what if" this book was great. My wife is reading the series now and enjoying it as well.

    Major problems:

    Yeah, the Wiccan stuff gets old in the first and second books. Both my wife and I felt like the "blessed be", "may it come back threefold", and "bless the lady and the lord" stuff got really old, really fast. Plus, in the first two books, it seems like the author has a bone to pick with Christians, portraying them either as idiots, mean spirited, or incapable. Moreover, I just couldn't get past the fact that the nation's most dominant religion would nearly dissolve under the influence of Wicca in such a large group of people in such a short time.

    By the third book, some of these issues get balanced out; Stirling apparently listened to the complaints of many of his readers (just look at the reviews on Amazon).

    I think that if you can get past the cardboard charactitures of Christians and the abundance of Wiccan rituals and sayings, then the book series is well worth reading. Heck, just skip the three-four page overblown explanations of Wiccan rituals that come up every chapter and the books flow very smoothly. If you are as much of a geek as me, then you may decide you want to go make some chainmail after you finish this book!
     
  11. blinddog

    blinddog

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    I have all three of the dies the fire book I also have Eric Flints altrnate universe books I am finding that genra is becoming seperate from Sci- Fi. Like fantasy did in the sixties
     
  12. Biscuitsjam

    Biscuitsjam

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    You may also want to check out S.M. Stirling's Island in the Sea of Time series.

    In that series, the island of Nantucket and a Coast Guard training vessel are sent back into prehistoric times. The island is fairly self-sufficient (power plant, water treatment, etc.), but it still has a small population and is cut off from most modern technology. The people have to adapt to survive.

    Again, Stirling goes into taboo subjects (Lesbian relationships instead of Wicca this time around), and he has some silly plot devices (ancient civilizations jump forward 3,000 years of development in a few months after stealing an encyclopedia), but it is still a very good read.
     
  13. blinddog

    blinddog

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    I read the first two of them when they first came out didn't know any more had been published but I can not read as much as I used to. I only bought the dies the fire books because I happened to see the three volumes at the same time. I am still working through the third one Buit I am only able to read print a few minutes at a time and I have to enlarge it when I do.
     
  14. Biscuitsjam

    Biscuitsjam

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    Spoiler!








    Another interesting thing about Island in the Sea of Time is that all firearms are removed from the story near the beginning via a silly plot device.

    The town decides to collect all the firearms into a central armory and the townsfolk universally go along with it. Then, some people burn down the armory and all firearms and ammunition are completely destroyed. After that, the people are dependant on swords and such.

    There are about 10,000 ways Stirling's books aren't true to real life. I think you just have to realize that he wrote books the way he wanted them and suspend your disbelief at times. If you do, you'll certainly be rewarded. Despite its flaws, this is still a great series, and if you haven't read it, I heartily recommend it.
     
  15. blinddog

    blinddog

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    Black powder is so easy to make as are firearms I am surprised Stirling has not started an arms manufactury in any of her stories.
     
  16. lysander6

    lysander6 Ragnarocks! CLM

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    I have not read "Dies the Fire" and the others and most likely will not but I would recommend the Draka books such as "Stone Dogs" and "Marching through Geogia". Terrific military SF in a fascinating alternate history timeline. Highly recommended.
     
  17. Glenn E. Meyer

    Glenn E. Meyer

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    The destruction of the guns on the Island was a plot device. Stirling frequents the sci fi news groups and I asked him. It was to get rid of most of the modern firearms so he could discuss developments of older guns.

    I told him that Texans wouldn't have handed them in and he gave me that point.

    Also, I didn't care for the Dies The Fire story line. I would have liked to see a resolution of the causality of the incident. I'm not to keen on endless series with a never ending big enemy who never gets put down.

    I didn't find the semifeudal LOTR and Lord Bear stuff realisitc. I lived in that area and the SCA prof becoming lord and lots of folks listening to some stoned hippy gal who thinks she's Frodo's momma just didn't do it.

    The Lancer book was awesome as was the Island set. The Draka - so so - I didn't buy their easy conquest of the world or slave society.
     
  18. Sulaco

    Sulaco Guest

    +1

    I read Drakon as a teenager and loved it. I wouldn't recommend it now because my views have changed as have my tastes. I also began reading Dies the Fire and had to stop. The Wicca thing was just too much for me. I also read the one about Nantucket. I like it for the most part, but the lesbian relationship was just unnecessary and felt like an agenda being pushed more than a needed issue.

    I really like books about small groups of people in 'end of the world' scenarios and wish someone would run with this premise but try and keep it clean.
     
  19. PoiDog

    PoiDog Gun Cultured

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    I really like Stirling's writing style, but like most of you I can do without the PC issue of the moment in his books. (Lesbians, interracial, witches, whatever is next)

    The man has talent, whatever his agendas. I haven't read the third installment in Dies the Fire yet, because I'm waiting for the paperback to come out. I can't do hardcovers, with the rate I read I'd go broke.

    I really enjoyed the Nantucket series, great stuff. His earlier Draka series is very good too. Peshawar Lancers was pretty good too, with an interesting premise.

    He has another, stand-alone book that is absolutely great; Conquistador. Pick it up, it is outstanding.
     
  20. mitchshrader

    mitchshrader Deceased

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    current issues a commercial hook, designed to provoke an editor into opinions, into demanding a re-write or a re-emphasis.

    it may suck for literature but it works for bait.

    kudos. dirty trick if it's intentional, but you plays the cards you're dealt and publishing is fairly famous for cutting edge "liberal" influence.

    (I happen to be a liberal and there's not much overlap in philosophy despite the claims and pretentions)

    if he manages to get paid for sloshing propaganda into his schtick, who am i to complain.

    druther he DIDN'T of course, but when I wanted to get Eric Flint's attention I wrote a quite nasty letter about one (the only one) book he'd allowed on Baen's free book site that was hacked crap. (really).

    I wished to communicate and deliberately picked a provocative stance and ANNOYED him, to get a response. and got one. and we then communicated repeatedly by mutual consent and in civil terms.

    sooo. sometimes you pick your annoyances to get attention, is all.