Hiero's Journey - 1. Vividness


Did Lanier's description of the post-apocalyptic world seem vivid and/or compelling to you? Which parts were most effective? What about the mutated versions of animals and other living things? The various human societies?


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    Yes and no. It was compelling in many ways, and quite unlike anything I've read. For reasons I cant explain, it puts me in mind of Harry Harrison's West of Eden, which was an early club pick.

    I feel the landscape were pretty effective. He didn't really go into a lot of detail, but enough to form a picture. This picture is quite different from the landscape of today in the same region. One definitely has a solid impression of the mutated animals, almost all of which were much larger and more dangerous than their ancestors. The habit of going from place to place and encountering monsters to be fought, outwitted, or fled from is a hallmark of the Sword and Sorcery genre, so I think we can almost place this book within it. I say almost because unlike most S&S, Hiero's motives are more altruistic than personal, and he relies more on his mind than his sword to solve problems, but there's no shortage of action.

    I think he also created a fairly vivid and convincing nooshpere.

    Future cultures were a little too loose for me. We learn most about the Metz and the Eleveners (who I did find most interesting), but Dalwah and the Unclean got seriously short shrift, and Otwah barely (not unreasonably) barely any detail at all. For all that he travelled closer to Otwah than any other people, I think Hiero's Joureny would have benefitted from meeting a character from there along the way.

    The bear culture was also pretty intriguing - more hinted at than described, which I thought was appropriate.

  • 0

    Does Hiero get anywhere close to your part of Canada?

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    It's possible that Toronto is the city Lanier had in mind for the lost city, though if that's the case its in the wrong place on the map. It's probably the closest existing big city to the 'lost city' on the map, though. If the lost city is some imaginary place that grew up in our future, then the closest Hiero came to me was sailing overhead as he traveled between the Lost City and Neeyana.

    Manoon, if indeed that's Manitoulin (the world's largest freshwater island?), is about a 4 hour drive north of here, plus a 2-hour ferry ride.

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    It was a vivid world: I could clearly visualise most of the places Hiero visited. Was it compelling? It was certainly a good read, gripping in places. I thought the earlier parts of the book were better than the last bits: the encounter with the House seemed like a plot contrivance even before the climax.

    We didn't see much of society, but got enough hints of them to be interesting. The Metz republic is a progressive Enlightenment state. The Unclean are a stereotypical band of Evil masterminds and minions, and D'alwah is a typical barbarian kingdom. They're all rather familiar tropes, but I don't think that detracts from the book. The focus is on the journey, so having easily-understandable cultures around helps keep the attention where it's supposed to be.

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    I felt the opposite - that the latter parts of the book were better than the first. For me the first part was a little dull, mostly tramping about, then occasionally pausing with the hair standing on end, then more tramping, and finally a monstrous slug or something that needed fleeing from. I was much more interested in Aldo and his beleifs, and also in the House - which, by the way, what an odd name for a fungus monster.

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    > @Apocryphal said:
    > ... the House - which, by the way, what an odd name for a fungus monster.

    I presume that he meant house as in "great family", as in House Lancaster or House York. Or, in modern drama, House Lannister or House Stark :smile: A collective blending unity of purpose with individual wills.
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    I had trouble getting into it at the start, but it grew on me. I think much of this was the number of people around Hiero growing; it was more readable for me with more interaction.

    It had a certain vividness in its sheer over the topness. I enjoyed that. But if it makes sense, at no stage could I take it seriously. It was a cartoon romp, and that was the fun.
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    @dr_mitch said:
    But if it makes sense, at no stage could I take it seriously. It was a cartoon romp, and that was the fun.

    That makes perfect sense. It was utter tosh, but well-written and entertaining tosh. It was a good fun read.

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    Vivid? Yes. I would say over-saturated? Primary colored?

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