Thursday, July 17, 2008


More like LameStoryDeviceWorld

I just finished reading #10 Bloodworld by Laurence M. Janifer from the Top 10 Most Obscure but Superb Science Fiction Novels from List Universe. We'll get to that in a second but first a story.

It's an idyllic morning in the valley. A fresh snowfall has left the surrounding mountains and valley village bathed in a quiet white blanket. Vlad asks if I know my way around my guns. Of course I do, I mutter and then explain the safety and where to insert the bullets and we shoot through a clip or two. Bah, I forgot to pack extra ammo! My house sits down in the valley about 200 feet down from where we are now. Be right back. Once in my house (which is identical to the one we lived in here) I get the bullets and start to make my way back when I get a bad feeling. Something's wrong. The lights are off and I slowly creep my way around then windows, then I see it. A massive grey wolf. Shit. It hasn't caught my scent so I follow it as it circles the house. It comes to the back where screen covers the upper half of the door. He could tear through that in a heartbeat, I think to myself. I haven't had time to reload the clips so my guns are worthless. The wolf stands up on its hindlegs, peering and sniffing through the screen door. Aaaaaaaah! I shriek hoping to scare it away so it never comes back. My scream momentarily startles the wolf and I beat it in the head with a hammer. Nothing gruesome. It's like I'm beating the animatronic wolf, The Nothing, from the Never Ending Story.

Then I switch dreams to something I can't remember.

That scream woke me up. This morning I found out it woke J up too. I don't usually talk or scream in my dreams but I guess I really wanted that wolf gone. Also only in dreams do I condone the killing of wolves by beating them. Feel free to beat all the animatronic things you want in real life. The theme park might not like it though.

So Bloodworld. It's told from the protagonist's viewpoint as he's relaying the story to inhabitants of another planet (presumably ours or one similar) about how his home world was destroyed and his customs. I suppose in 1967 it was shocking but not so much by today's standard and he spends entirely too much time convincing us that it's okay where he comes from. Gah! I believe you already, stop interrupting the story! Basically there are 2 classes of people, Lords and Ladies, and the Bound men and women. The Lords and Ladies are very polite and refined and rule their world sanely. Apparently they can only do this by ordering around the Bound and occasionally torturing them. Yeah. At one point, Jo, the main guy, gets pissed at his mom so he sets off to one of their "remand houses", goes through the formal commands, selects a Bound girl who kind of resembles her and wants "Style B" (there is a Style A but people are shocked when it's asked for so it must be really messed up), then is led to an empty metal room which contains the Bound girl who is tied up, a fire with a bucket full of tools with insulated handles over it, and a chair. He then proceeds to brand the Bound girl and then explains to the Doctors "oh you sane men" about how their medicines are advanced and they are able to heal the Bound very quickly. They take joy in the pain of the Bound. That's a few chapters in, so no big spoilers.

*Spoiler alert* Don't scroll down if you plan to read Bloodworld*

He then falls in love with Elaine, his favorite Bound girl who he never tortured, and devises a way for them to be together but can't really come up with anything, nor does it sound like he tried. There are 2 murders on their city streets, then 2 more, which is unheard of in their Lord and Lady polite society, so a bunch of his friends decide they can do a better job of keeping the city safe than the current Council, they stage a coup, it doesn't work and are banned from the city, then they burn down the city and pretty much end their entire civilization.

I guess the message is if you beat someone enough, you lose the spark and then have to beat them more and beat different important people. I don't know. I'm just glad I can move on to the next one. The List Universe recommends it to Gene Wolfe fans and according to this Wikipedia quote:
Wolfe frequently creates an unreliable narrator to tell his stories. According to Wolfe, "Real people really are unreliable narrators all the time, even if they try to be reliable narrators."[2] Sometimes this is a person who is simply naïve (Pandora by Holly Hollander, The Knight), or is not particularly intelligent (There Are Doors) or is not always truthful (The Book of the New Sun), or is suffering from serious illness (Latro in Soldier of the Mist, who forgets everything within 24 hours).
So maybe that's true if they like less than perfect narrators.

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