Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.
Aspects (edition 2022)
by John M. Ford (Author)
Aspects by John M. Ford
No current Talk conversations about this book.
495 finished pages of a wonderfully original world built from scratch by a master of science fiction and fantasy who died in 2006 before he finished it. a great loss - it greatly rewards the reader as it is, though, and should be required reading in the field all the same. it traffics in magic that might be performed by engineers, if only engineers had been invented yet, and trains that might be steampunk if magic had not come first. in this fantasy of manners the characters are marvellously complex and tumultuous in their thinking, till they engage the heart. plus, Neil Gaiman has written a fine introduction.
I received an advance copy courtesy of NetGalley.
This is a book unlike any other I've read: it is being published in unfinished form, as the author died in 2006. An introduction to the work is written by Neil Gaiman. I felt leery as I began to read--how rough was this book? Would the lack of an ending leave me unsatisfied? Within the first page, however, I was hooked. The action begins with an artfully-described duel, then goes immediately to a tense parliamentary vote. The pace remains steady from there.
This is what I would as cozy fantasy. There is no major threat. There are no villains. The tension never escalates in the way of most books. I felt like I had the opportunity to hang out with some brilliant, incredibly complex people in one of the great literary salons of a past era, and I simply enjoyed lingering and listening.
The prose is eloquent in a way that made me gasp aloud more than once. ("Only mediocre conversations could be brought to an easy end. The intolerable and the important always found momentum to roll on." "The owls knew me from the other mice." "Society's not just a pyramid, it's a range of mountains; it takes time to level them.") The worldbuilding is deep and intricate; there were some things I never really understood, but I was immersed and didn't mind that much. The setting is a secondary world inspired by 19th-century Earth, though with none of the trappings of steampunk. There are trains and telegrams, and there is magic that is brilliant and unique.
The ending of the book is abrupt, as expected from the warnings at the start, but I can't say that I was left unsatisfied. No, I was left sad. Aspects is incredible even in its unfinished state. We'll never know how it was meant to be revised or to end, or how the series could have developed. What a tragic loss for us all, when this storyteller was silenced far too soon.
"At last, the final work of John M. Ford--one of the greatest SF and fantasy authors of his time. Enter the halls of Parliament with Varic, Coron of the Corvaric Coast. Visit Strange House with the Archmage Birch. Explore the mountains of Lady Longlight alongside the Palion Silvern, Sorcerer. In the years before his unexpected death, John M. Ford wrote a novel of fantasy and magic unlike any other. Politics and abdicated kings, swords and sorcerous machine guns, divination and ancient empires--finally, Aspects is here"--
No library descriptions found.
Amazon Kindle (0 editions)
Audible (0 editions)
CD Audiobook (0 editions)
Project Gutenberg (0 editions)
Google Books — Loading...
Melvil Decimal System (DDC)813.54Literature English (North America) American fiction 20th Century 1945-1999
Is this you?
Become a LibraryThing Author.
Coron Varic is a member of the House of Lords in the Republic of Lescoray, representing a northern Coronage which he never visits, choosing to reside in the capital, Lystourel and employing an agent to manage the Coronage. He is one of the parliamentarians engaged in drawing up a constitution; the last king having abdicated some 80 years ago. At the last session before a recess, he meets Coron Longlight from the west who has travelled to Lystourel to seek assistance for her Coronage which is troubled by bandits. This is the story of what happens next.
The action takes place in Lystourel, the house of Coron Strange, Longlight's Coronage, and while travelling on the Ironways (the magical railways). We learn a lot about the world as we progress through the story. Lescoray is bigger than it first seems; it actually takes 2-3 days to travel to the west, and over a week to the north. Religion is based on four goddesses and their consorts, and appears to have elements of Voudoun; the goddesses possessing their priests. Both men and women are equal. Magic is based on craft lines - healing, artificers, and the like.
Overall, a satisfying read but alas unfinished! From Neil Gaiman's introduction, it was near to being finished, although I wonder if it was actually only half way through - the 8 chapters were grouped in 2 groups of 4, perhaps related to the 4 goddesses? I could see stylistically there was a strong resemblance to The Scholars of Night, and to a lesser extent to The Dragon Waiting. The Ironways were perhaps related to the railroads in the Liavek series; there Ford's contribution was the theatre, which again was a element in the plot here, The Dragon Waiting and in The Scholars of Night.