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The Ordinary by Jim Grimsley
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The Ordinary

by Jim Grimsley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Irion/Hormling (book 2)

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
The book begins like a normal scifi story--a group of diplomats, scientists and their linguist go on an expedition to meet the leader of the world they recently discovered. From there, it gets a bit awesome. Seriously, this story goes from solid tale to enthralling in one unexpected switcheroo. It rapidly becomes an incredible tale that spans thousands of years, told from several points of view. It reminded me a bit of Patricia McKinley's incredible "Riddle-Master of Hed" series, with a taste of Ursula K LeGuin. Overall, a fascinating look at the intersection between science and magic, with some novel characters. Watching Jedda and Malin slowly shift their stances over time was great fun, and I could barely contain my excitement and anticipation over their eventual meeting. I highly recommend this book.

Jedda is a linguist from a scientifically advanced people who value conformity and fear being noticed. Every citizen is linked and recorded via a "stat"; privacy is an illusion. To her mingled consternation and pleasure, she is selected to be part of a small diplomatic envoy through the mysterious Twill Gate to Irion. Irion is a technologically backward country where the common people believe in wizards and magic. Jedda and her superiors are astounded when a fleet of their best ships is easily destroyed by Irion's magic. The rest of the Hormlings go home, but Jedda stays behind to learn about this strange new world. She begins to learn magic, time-travels to the beginnings of Irion, and falls in love with a powerful sorceress.

Grimsley has a gift for names--they are musical, fantastical, yet easily remembered. He is not good with magic, however, and his dragging explanations of mediation and energy slow the second half of the book. I expected to like this novel, but there is no conflict or climax--deus ex machina *literally* saves the day every time. Even the Big Bad is defeated off-stage, without any trouble at all, while Jedda lies unconscious. It is frustratingly boring.

Despite my annoyance, there were a lot of details I liked about this book. Jedda really reads like a linguist; she's continually noticing language shifts or figuring out what the root of a word means. Her interest and skill carries the story of her uncovering of the truth about Irion. Grimsley describes sex and desire well--no ridiculous euphamisms, and the right combination of intellect and heat. And I loved that because Irion's stars were mutable and changed every night, the people tried to explain their world through intuition and magic instead of clockwork and science. Makes sense! ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
This book bills itself as a stand alone novel, but I got about halfway through and found I couldn't go on without reading Kirith Kirin. I really wanted to like this book because I think that the author's Hormling short story "120 Hours of Sodom" was a brilliant piece of work, but The Ordinary after a really slow start and a long pause to read Kirith Kirin, seemed very rushed and unsatisfying at the end. ( )
  aulsmith | Sep 24, 2013 |
Dense, many-layered, complex science fiction. Puts me in mind of Le Guin's early stuff. A little too complex for me, but I enjoyed dropping into the narrative and being carried downstream. I cared about the characters, even as I struggled to place them in context. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
The whole first part was great! And the first part of the second part, too. Had it kept on being great, it could have been among the best SF/fantasy books I've read. And then it nosedived into banality! What the hell happened!?

This one book has 3 books' worth of storyline in it, none of which are treated as fully as they deserve. The story is plot driven but the plot weakens through the book, dissolving into misty vagueness by the end. Much of the middle of the book is characterization that, while clever enough, doesn't flesh the characters out very much. And then there's the fourth part, all 11 baffling pages of it. What the fuck was that?

The principal characters' relationships to one another and to the story remind me of the principal characters, and a bit of the story, of Eddings' Belgariad. ( )
  drbubbles | Jan 30, 2012 |
An odd book depicting one woman's journey into a confusing world, where apparently magic can induce technology failures. This book has a slow start and a lightning fast ending.
  lisa2 | Jan 18, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jim Grimsleyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Giancola, DonatoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765305291, Paperback)

Jim Grimsley's novels and short stories have been favorably compared to the works of Samuel R. Delany, Jack Vance, and Ursula K. Le Guin. Now he unleashes an ambitious and audacious collision between science and magic.

The Twil Gate links two very different realms. On one side of the portal is Senal, an advanced technological civilization of some thirty billion inhabitants, all cybernetically linked and at war with machine intelligences many light-years away. On the other side is Irion, a land of myth and legend, where the world is flat and mighty wizards once ruled.

Jedda Martele is a linguist and trader from Senal. Although fascinated by the languages and cultures of Irion, she shares her people's assumption that Irion is backward and superstitious and no match for her homeland's superior numbers and technology. But as the two realms march inevitably toward war, Jedda finds herself at the center of historic, unimaginable events that will challenge everything she has ever believed about the world--and herself.

The Ordinary is a powerful and entrancing tale of magic, science, and the mysterious truth that binds them together.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:01 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"The Twil Gate links two very different realms. On one side of the portal is Senal, an advanced technological civilization of some thirty billion inhabitants, all cybernetically linked and at war with machine intelligences many light-years away. On the other side is Irion, a land of myth and legend, where the world is flat and mighty wizards once ruled." "Jedda Martele is a linguist and trader from Senal. Although fascinated by the languages and cultures of Irion, she shares her people's assumption that Irion is backward and superstitious and no match for her homeland's superior numbers and technology. But as the two realms march inevitably towards war, Jedda finds herself at the center of historic, unimaginable events that will challenge everything she has ever believed about the world - and herself."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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