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  •  » Otherland Re-read Week 1: CoGS - Forward & Ch. 1 & 2 (SPOILERS)

#26 2010-11-09 03:57:39

Magpie
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From: miraculously thistle-free town
Registered: 2006-03-27
Posts: 32667
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Re: Otherland Re-read Week 1: CoGS - Forward & Ch. 1 & 2 (SPOILERS)

cyan wrote:

Magpie, you just blew my mind...  it never occurred to me that the tree and cloud castle simulation was the Other's, that makes so much sense!  *reels*  So, with that in mind, I'm thinking that when Paul 'dies', the Other uses that to pull Paul into his simulation, and when Paul dies there ("Shrieking, Paul fell down into oily, gear-grinding darkness."), the Other returns him to Jongleuer's WWI.  And I do think Sellars was the yellow-eyed man who talks to Paul "About really getting out." So now I'm thinking that Sellar's yellow-eyed sim 'died' during the battle, and the Other took it over.  It was the Other in the sim hanging upside down in the tree talking to Paul.  Because that dialog would make no sense coming from Sellars.

Now that was a scene that was puzzling me! Because what he says in that scene just didn't fit in with any theory of who he might be...

I still find it quite funny that it was such a tiny thing, that tree with no roots, that made me see something that I felt should have been quite obvious once I'd noticed it, and even funnier that no-one else had noticed it. As for Avialle and Jongleur appearing it, wasn't the Other in contact with Avialle? So having Avialle there would make sense... The Old Man, on the other hand, might not be a version of the actual Jongleur, but just based on the Other's perceptions of him - old, cruel, powerful, somehow connected with technology...


Basically, I'm Prince Josua in jeans and sneakers, or a different flavor of Renie Sulaweyo.
- Tad

Master of Gardening, Mistress of Kingdom Plantae, Defender of the Seedlings, Guardian of Root and Bough
Scrollbearer and offerer of some very useful opinions

 

#27 2010-11-09 11:04:24

Olaf
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From: Germany
Registered: 2001-07-16
Posts: 4908
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Re: Otherland Re-read Week 1: CoGS - Forward & Ch. 1 & 2 (SPOILERS)

Magpie wrote:

As for Avialle and Jongleur appearing it, wasn't the Other in contact with Avialle? So having Avialle there would make sense... The Old Man, on the other hand, might not be a version of the actual Jongleur, but just based on the Other's perceptions of him - old, cruel, powerful, somehow connected with technology...

But the twins also appear at least in name. Had the OTHER also contact with them?


Scrollbearer

Writing books, especially long books, is a careful balance between laziness and masochism.
Tad Williams

 

#28 2010-11-09 11:57:44

Magpie
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From: miraculously thistle-free town
Registered: 2006-03-27
Posts: 32667
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Re: Otherland Re-read Week 1: CoGS - Forward & Ch. 1 & 2 (SPOILERS)

Olaf wrote:

Magpie wrote:

As for Avialle and Jongleur appearing it, wasn't the Other in contact with Avialle? So having Avialle there would make sense... The Old Man, on the other hand, might not be a version of the actual Jongleur, but just based on the Other's perceptions of him - old, cruel, powerful, somehow connected with technology...

But the twins also appear at least in name. Had the OTHER also contact with them?

That's still in the WW1 simulation. The way I see it, the first part, up to Paul's "death", is one of Jongleur's simulations, and that's Finch and Mullet appear. After his "death", Paul is in a world created by the Other, and that's where we have Avialle and Jongleur. Then Paul "dies" again, and returns to the Jongleur simulation, and Finch and Mullet.


Basically, I'm Prince Josua in jeans and sneakers, or a different flavor of Renie Sulaweyo.
- Tad

Master of Gardening, Mistress of Kingdom Plantae, Defender of the Seedlings, Guardian of Root and Bough
Scrollbearer and offerer of some very useful opinions

 

#29 2010-11-09 12:47:19

cyan
Mantis
From: Magic Loft of Design & Wonder
Registered: 2005-02-16
Posts: 26871

Re: Otherland Re-read Week 1: CoGS - Forward & Ch. 1 & 2 (SPOILERS)

Olaf wrote:

Magpie wrote:

As for Avialle and Jongleur appearing it, wasn't the Other in contact with Avialle? So having Avialle there would make sense... The Old Man, on the other hand, might not be a version of the actual Jongleur, but just based on the Other's perceptions of him - old, cruel, powerful, somehow connected with technology...

But the twins also appear at least in name. Had the OTHER also contact with them?

The twins are like Jongleur's muscle throughout the virtual world(s), so I dont' see why not.


"Never underestimate the power and accuracy of a chicken-chucking trebuchet." ~ Tad

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#30 2010-11-09 12:48:30

Olaf
Mantis
From: Germany
Registered: 2001-07-16
Posts: 4908
Website

Re: Otherland Re-read Week 1: CoGS - Forward & Ch. 1 & 2 (SPOILERS)

Magpie wrote:

That's still in the WW1 simulation. The way I see it, the first part, up to Paul's "death", is one of Jongleur's simulations, and that's Finch and Mullet appear. After his "death", Paul is in a world created by the Other, and that's where we have Avialle and Jongleur. Then Paul "dies" again, and returns to the Jongleur simulation, and Finch and Mullet .

Hmmm....but the Avialle bird-woman in the cloud castle refers to the two cruelest servants of her master, Butterball and Nickelplate. I assumed those were other incarnations of Finch & Mullett.


Scrollbearer

Writing books, especially long books, is a careful balance between laziness and masochism.
Tad Williams

 

#31 2010-11-09 12:48:41

cyan
Mantis
From: Magic Loft of Design & Wonder
Registered: 2005-02-16
Posts: 26871

Re: Otherland Re-read Week 1: CoGS - Forward & Ch. 1 & 2 (SPOILERS)

Olaf wrote:

cyan wrote:

It's not her motivation that I question, but Mr. Sellars' - why would he cultivate a relationship with such a young child?  The first time I read this, I felt pretty certain that Tad wouldn't go down that 'dark alley', but it did raise a lot of questions for me.

Isn't that because her father is chief of security on the base?

Yes, but that comes later.


"Never underestimate the power and accuracy of a chicken-chucking trebuchet." ~ Tad

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#32 2010-11-09 12:58:35

ylvs
Mantis
From: Art Central
Registered: 2001-06-19
Posts: 13279

Re: Otherland Re-read Week 1: CoGS - Forward & Ch. 1 & 2 (SPOILERS)

cyan wrote:

Olaf wrote:

cyan wrote:

It's not her motivation that I question, but Mr. Sellars' - why would he cultivate a relationship with such a young child?  The first time I read this, I felt pretty certain that Tad wouldn't go down that 'dark alley', but it did raise a lot of questions for me.

Isn't that because her father is chief of security on the base?

Yes, but that comes later.

But Sellars with his seemingly unlimited net access cluld know it right from the start.


To meet an old friend is like the finding of a welcoming campfire in the dark. Qanuc saying
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#33 2010-11-09 13:02:34

Magpie
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From: miraculously thistle-free town
Registered: 2006-03-27
Posts: 32667
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Re: Otherland Re-read Week 1: CoGS - Forward & Ch. 1 & 2 (SPOILERS)

Olaf wrote:

Magpie wrote:

That's still in the WW1 simulation. The way I see it, the first part, up to Paul's "death", is one of Jongleur's simulations, and that's Finch and Mullet appear. After his "death", Paul is in a world created by the Other, and that's where we have Avialle and Jongleur. Then Paul "dies" again, and returns to the Jongleur simulation, and Finch and Mullet .

Hmmm....but the Avialle bird-woman in the cloud castle refers to the two cruelest servants of her master, Butterball and Nickelplate. I assumed those were other incarnations of Finch & Mullett.

Oh, OK - missed that. I checked briefly before I wrote that reply, but I didn't notice that particular reference.
It's possible, though, that the Other knew of them from watching Avialle. Or that the fear of them was so deeply ingrained in Avialle that it carried over into this copy of her.


Basically, I'm Prince Josua in jeans and sneakers, or a different flavor of Renie Sulaweyo.
- Tad

Master of Gardening, Mistress of Kingdom Plantae, Defender of the Seedlings, Guardian of Root and Bough
Scrollbearer and offerer of some very useful opinions

 

#34 2010-11-09 13:10:45

cyan
Mantis
From: Magic Loft of Design & Wonder
Registered: 2005-02-16
Posts: 26871

Re: Otherland Re-read Week 1: CoGS - Forward & Ch. 1 & 2 (SPOILERS)

ylvs wrote:

cyan wrote:

Olaf wrote:


Isn't that because her father is chief of security on the base?

Yes, but that comes later.

But Sellars with his seemingly unlimited net access cluld know it right from the start.

I mean, we're only on the first three chapters.  We don't find out what Christabel's father's occupation is until later.


"Never underestimate the power and accuracy of a chicken-chucking trebuchet." ~ Tad

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#35 2010-11-09 16:28:00

cyan
Mantis
From: Magic Loft of Design & Wonder
Registered: 2005-02-16
Posts: 26871

Re: Otherland Re-read Week 1: CoGS - Forward & Ch. 1 & 2 (SPOILERS)

Magpie wrote:

The other thing I noticed clearly for the first time now is that when Paul has “died”, he must be in a simulation created by the Other. Not just because of the fairytale motives. For me, it was a tiny thing that pointed it out – the tree trunk going smoothly down into the ground, without roots. That was the point where I thought, “oh yeah, because the Other has never actually seen a tree.”

Which also explains the castle: “It was an idea of a castle, Paul realized, a sort of Platonic ideal unrelated to the grubby realities of motte-and-bailey architecture or feudal warfare.”


"Never underestimate the power and accuracy of a chicken-chucking trebuchet." ~ Tad

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#36 2010-11-10 12:19:25

Olaf
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From: Germany
Registered: 2001-07-16
Posts: 4908
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Re: Otherland Re-read Week 1: CoGS - Forward & Ch. 1 & 2 (SPOILERS)

cyan wrote:

ylvs wrote:

cyan wrote:


Yes, but that comes later.

But Sellars with his seemingly unlimited net access cluld know it right from the start.

I mean, we're only on the first three chapters.  We don't find out what Christabel's father's occupation is until later.

But Sellars knows it. Even if we as readers make the connections ony much later (or upon a re-read), Sellars must know who Christabels father is and what he does. He is directly responsible for Sellars and must clear anything that Sellars wants to have. And there is reason why Christabel parents have her forbidden to go near his hourse. They do know about each other. But Christabel and therefore we as readers only learn much later.


Scrollbearer

Writing books, especially long books, is a careful balance between laziness and masochism.
Tad Williams

 

#37 2010-11-10 21:51:04

cyan
Mantis
From: Magic Loft of Design & Wonder
Registered: 2005-02-16
Posts: 26871

Re: Otherland Re-read Week 1: CoGS - Forward & Ch. 1 & 2 (SPOILERS)

Olaf wrote:

cyan wrote:

ylvs wrote:

But Sellars with his seemingly unlimited net access cluld know it right from the start.

I mean, we're only on the first three chapters.  We don't find out what Christabel's father's occupation is until later.

But Sellars knows it. Even if we as readers make the connections ony much later (or upon a re-read), Sellars must know who Christabels father is and what he does. He is directly responsible for Sellars and must clear anything that Sellars wants to have. And there is reason why Christabel parents have her forbidden to go near his hourse. They do know about each other. But Christabel and therefore we as readers only learn much later.

Certainly, Sellars knows it.  My comments upstream pertains to what we know at this point in the story.

This is a re-read so we all know what's going to happen.  I understand that it's difficult to not refer to future events in the books, but let's try to keep the focus of discussion to the chapters at hand.

Last edited by cyan (2010-11-10 22:25:46)


"Never underestimate the power and accuracy of a chicken-chucking trebuchet." ~ Tad

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#38 2010-11-11 22:48:20

cyan
Mantis
From: Magic Loft of Design & Wonder
Registered: 2005-02-16
Posts: 26871

Re: Otherland Re-read Week 1: CoGS - Forward & Ch. 1 & 2 (SPOILERS)

No posts from StrangeShe, Firsfron, Em, or Xavie yet.    :-(

Please, don't fall behind this early on in the re-read!


"Never underestimate the power and accuracy of a chicken-chucking trebuchet." ~ Tad

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#39 2010-11-13 01:03:39

Firsfron of Ronchester
Mantis
From: Ronchester
Registered: 2001-06-04
Posts: 23130
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Re: Otherland Re-read Week 1: CoGS - Forward & Ch. 1 & 2 (SPOILERS)

cyan wrote:

No posts from StrangeShe, Firsfron, Em, or Xavie yet.    :-(

Please, don't fall behind this early on in the re-read!

I'm here, Cyan. I just had to wait until the weekend to post something. Darn werk. Dunno about those other three people.

First, I'll share a bit on my first impressions of Otherland, back in 1996: just like Cyan, I thought the cover was really beautiful. But then, Michael Whelan's artwork always is. But I was sorely disappointed in the book itself. I wanted another story set in Osten Ard ("Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn II: Utuk'ku's Revenge: The Reckoning" or similar), so for a long time, I had ambivalent feelings toward Otherland: City of Golden Shadow.

Sure, I recognized that the story was well-written, and I liked the fact that here was another whole world, created from Tad's vivid imagination. I also liked the fact that it was set in Africa... But. It wasn't. Osten Ard.


(Does anyone else remember the Otherland screen saver that came out circa 1997? It had a gorgeous rendition of the cover art, and then a screen that flashed, "Otherland: Where anyone's imagination... can kill you.")

The dream-like beginning of this story is one of those Tad-signatures. And as someone (Cyan?) pointed out, shades of MS&T's dream-road: vast trees, mysterious meanings, yellow-eyed strangers...

Magpie's explanation of who created this simulation makes perfect sense to me. I hadn't even thought of it: of course it would be someone who had never seen a tree before. But, then, this is my first re-read of the story (though I may have read the first volume a second time).

As Neemo correctly mentions, Renie's (i)Pad is quite prophetic. This was 1996; we barely had the WWW!

I like the scenes of Renie at work at the University. I work at a college myself, often training students and faculty on how to use technology (though Renie's technology is a tad bit better); these scenes seem really familiar. It was also interesting to see how Tad (again) brings someone into the story, a newcomer who needs tutoring in the ways of this world so that the reader gets the much-needed exposition before being plunged into the meat of the storyline.

Last edited by Firsfron of Ronchester (2010-11-13 01:42:43)


Scrollbearer, Keeper of the Firsfronicon, Message Board Poet Lariat and Guardian of the Wild Range.
Co-titan of fact-checking and priceless source of Osten-Ard-iana
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Ommu is horrifying; Akhenabi is f**king evil; Makho is Trump with a badass sword; Jijibo is the crackhead version of Towser.  And Saomeji is creepy. --Cyan

 

#40 2010-11-13 01:41:34

Firsfron of Ronchester
Mantis
From: Ronchester
Registered: 2001-06-04
Posts: 23130
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Re: Otherland Re-read Week 1: CoGS - Forward & Ch. 1 & 2 (SPOILERS)

ylvs wrote:

Some little thing I always lovedlovedloved about the Christabel story was Otterland (funny pun of course). Otters are my favorite animals of all time and the thought of otters starring a kids netgame is very apealing to me. If this game ever exists I'll be the first who buys it!

I couldn't find an online otter game, but how about this nice ferret game?


Scrollbearer, Keeper of the Firsfronicon, Message Board Poet Lariat and Guardian of the Wild Range.
Co-titan of fact-checking and priceless source of Osten-Ard-iana
Now-official Osten Ard consultant for Tad Williams

Ommu is horrifying; Akhenabi is f**king evil; Makho is Trump with a badass sword; Jijibo is the crackhead version of Towser.  And Saomeji is creepy. --Cyan

 

#41 2010-11-13 06:36:59

Em
Mantis
From: Didjabringabeeralong, XXX
Registered: 2004-12-28
Posts: 43864

Re: Otherland Re-read Week 1: CoGS - Forward & Ch. 1 & 2 (SPOILERS)

cyan wrote:

No posts from StrangeShe, Firsfron, Em, or Xavie yet.    :-(

Please, don't fall behind this early on in the re-read!

I'm here. And reading. Hopefully, I'll be able to add something more than "good story, cannot put it down" next week.

I'm rather thick that way. Cannot see beyond the surface of a story, but y'all's comments are encouraging me.


Yo, ho, yo ho. A pirate's life for me!

 

#42 2010-11-13 13:23:16

ylvs
Mantis
From: Art Central
Registered: 2001-06-19
Posts: 13279

Re: Otherland Re-read Week 1: CoGS - Forward & Ch. 1 & 2 (SPOILERS)

Firsfron of Ronchester wrote:

ylvs wrote:

Some little thing I always lovedlovedloved about the Christabel story was Otterland (funny pun of course). Otters are my favorite animals of all time and the thought of otters starring a kids netgame is very apealing to me. If this game ever exists I'll be the first who buys it!

I couldn't find an online otter game, but how about this nice ferret game?

That is funny. I'll show it to my 8 year old tomorrow. She'll really love it. Thanks Firs!


To meet an old friend is like the finding of a welcoming campfire in the dark. Qanuc saying
Scrollbearer
Titan of fact-checking and priceless source of Osten-Ard-iana
Arsonist of the probably most spectacular Mint burning ever

 

#43 2010-11-13 15:08:51

Firsfron of Ronchester
Mantis
From: Ronchester
Registered: 2001-06-04
Posts: 23130
Website

Re: Otherland Re-read Week 1: CoGS - Forward & Ch. 1 & 2 (SPOILERS)

ylvs wrote:

Firsfron of Ronchester wrote:

ylvs wrote:

Some little thing I always lovedlovedloved about the Christabel story was Otterland (funny pun of course). Otters are my favorite animals of all time and the thought of otters starring a kids netgame is very apealing to me. If this game ever exists I'll be the first who buys it!

I couldn't find an online otter game, but how about this nice ferret game?

That is funny. I'll show it to my 8 year old tomorrow. She'll really love it. Thanks Firs!

LOL! Glad the link was useful, Ylvs.

Just make sure she really is playing it, not going off to some creepy old guy's house instead!


Scrollbearer, Keeper of the Firsfronicon, Message Board Poet Lariat and Guardian of the Wild Range.
Co-titan of fact-checking and priceless source of Osten-Ard-iana
Now-official Osten Ard consultant for Tad Williams

Ommu is horrifying; Akhenabi is f**king evil; Makho is Trump with a badass sword; Jijibo is the crackhead version of Towser.  And Saomeji is creepy. --Cyan

 

#44 2010-11-13 16:23:38

cyan
Mantis
From: Magic Loft of Design & Wonder
Registered: 2005-02-16
Posts: 26871

Re: Otherland Re-read Week 1: CoGS - Forward & Ch. 1 & 2 (SPOILERS)

Em wrote:

cyan wrote:

No posts from StrangeShe, Firsfron, Em, or Xavie yet.    :-(

Please, don't fall behind this early on in the re-read!

I'm here. And reading. Hopefully, I'll be able to add something more than "good story, cannot put it down" next week.

I'm rather thick that way. Cannot see beyond the surface of a story, but y'all's comments are encouraging me.

Em, your thoughts and observations are as valid as anyone else's.  The fun is in seeing others' viewpoints.


"Never underestimate the power and accuracy of a chicken-chucking trebuchet." ~ Tad

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#45 2010-11-14 05:03:44

Em
Mantis
From: Didjabringabeeralong, XXX
Registered: 2004-12-28
Posts: 43864

Re: Otherland Re-read Week 1: CoGS - Forward & Ch. 1 & 2 (SPOILERS)

DELETED. Sorry. Wrong place.

Last edited by Em (2010-11-14 05:09:45)


Yo, ho, yo ho. A pirate's life for me!

 

#46 2010-11-14 11:08:13

xavie
Pilgrim
From: The Netherlands
Registered: 2006-01-22
Posts: 1566
Website

Re: Otherland Re-read Week 1: CoGS - Forward & Ch. 1 & 2 (SPOILERS)

Hey everyone!
Sorry for being late. I had a tiring week. Like Em, I'm not sure how much I can contribute. I love the book and just want to keep reading, but I don't know if I can say many insightful, intelligent things about it ^_^°

I remember that when I first started City of Golden Shadows, my English wasn't that good yet, so it felt like really hard work to read it. I think I put it away then and only picked it up again a few years later. While I immediately fell in love with Reenie, Orlando, Fredericks and Christabel, it took me a looong, long time to connect with Paul and his story line. I remember that I often paged ahead to see how long a Paul chapter was and was tempted to skip it altogether.

About the first 3 chapters:

Foreword

Fore once, I still have that 'Paul chapters bore me' thing. I know that I'm going to really like and care about him in the end of the book. But what he experiences in the beginning is so weird and out of context that I don't much enjoy reading it.
What struck me was the man with the cigaret who asks for fire. Who is he? For a while I thought that it might me one of those roaming Felix Jongleur copies that we meet much later, like Azador. It never occured to me that it might have been Sellars, but that makes perfect sense!

I never really understood what happened when Paul got hit by the shell. If you can die from mortal wounds in otherland, then why doesn't he die? Why does he get into that weird dream world? As already suggested, I also thought that the beanstalk-tree, the castle above the clouds and all that is a place created by the Other. Does the Other bring Paul back from death like he brings back Orlando?

Mr. Jingo's Smile

I liked how we slowly get introduced into the technology and the net through Reenie's instructions, her own net usage and Steven.

I noticed that the title of the chapter seems to refer to the club Steven tried to enter, but the club is only called Mr. J's - even though its facade is decorated with a very broad grin. Of course, everything that begins with a J in this book -Jingle Jungle, Jongleur ... - is mysteriously connected to each other.

The Airman

Oh, I always love Christabel chapters! I just love her view on the world, and I love how we see things through her eyes that she doesn't understand but we do. I remember that I got the creepiest feeling when I read the book for the first time and she went to change her cloths.

When Sellars says that there was nothing quite like Otterland when he was a little boy I wondered how old he was, when he probably had been a little boy and what computer games there had been that were or were not like Otterland.

 

#47 2010-11-14 11:10:27

xavie
Pilgrim
From: The Netherlands
Registered: 2006-01-22
Posts: 1566
Website

Re: Otherland Re-read Week 1: CoGS - Forward & Ch. 1 & 2 (SPOILERS)

Firsfron of Ronchester wrote:

ylvs wrote:

Some little thing I always lovedlovedloved about the Christabel story was Otterland (funny pun of course). Otters are my favorite animals of all time and the thought of otters starring a kids netgame is very apealing to me. If this game ever exists I'll be the first who buys it!

I couldn't find an online otter game, but how about this nice ferret game?

Man!! I started playing it, but I keep falling into the gap! I think it really is suitable only for 8-year-olds...!

 

#48 2010-11-14 12:13:53

Libra-in-a-roundabout-way
Mantis
From: Yonder green hills
Registered: 2006-03-29
Posts: 13106

Re: Otherland Re-read Week 1: CoGS - Forward & Ch. 1 & 2 (SPOILERS)

xavie wrote:

Firsfron of Ronchester wrote:

ylvs wrote:

Some little thing I always lovedlovedloved about the Christabel story was Otterland (funny pun of course). Otters are my favorite animals of all time and the thought of otters starring a kids netgame is very apealing to me. If this game ever exists I'll be the first who buys it!

I couldn't find an online otter game, but how about this nice ferret game?

Man!! I started playing it, but I keep falling into the gap! I think it really is suitable only for 8-year-olds...!

*snortgiggle* Me TOO!!!!! Seriously think it's not suited for us... eh... grownups?...


Scrollbearer

Author of the 777,777th post

"Sorry about your crap day, wish you libra-level dreams. ;o)"
~ Kenan

 

#49 2010-11-15 19:32:58

cyan
Mantis
From: Magic Loft of Design & Wonder
Registered: 2005-02-16
Posts: 26871

Re: Otherland Re-read Week 1: CoGS - Forward & Ch. 1 & 2 (SPOILERS)

xavie wrote:

When Sellars says that there was nothing quite like Otterland when he was a little boy I wondered how old he was, when he probably had been a little boy and what computer games there had been that were or were not like Otterland.

My impression is that he's pretty darned old so when he was Christabel's age, he prolly only had Pong.


"Never underestimate the power and accuracy of a chicken-chucking trebuchet." ~ Tad

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Proud Member of the Log Brigade

 

#50 2010-11-15 19:47:12

Neemo
Pilgrim
From: Hamilton, ON, CA
Registered: 2005-03-28
Posts: 921
Website

Re: Otherland Re-read Week 1: CoGS - Forward & Ch. 1 & 2 (SPOILERS)

its almost like a mix of now and then....renie also mentions encyclopedia britannica...i mean who even knows what that is anymore :haha:

 
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