Berserker Q1 - Historian


"The Vision has been formed piece by piece through my contacts in past and present time with the minds of men and machines."

The book is made of 11 short stories, with some additional text to tie it together in the form of a 3 page introduction at the beginning, and a short half-page introduction to each chapter. These are in the voice of the Third Historian of the Carmpan Race, who are largely positioned as passivist observers and beneficiaries of Earth's war effort. From your perspective, did the stories translate well into a novel?


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    On the whole yes, as they covered what appears to be a large fraction of the Earth-Berserker war (though omitting both the initial encounter and the final resolution). The different episodes included meshed well in terms of credible progress and development. Some weapons which were fearful at the start (eg the mind beam) became useless as defences were found, and the berserkers became more cunning at trying to infiltrate (eg by means of replica humans) once they found out that direct assault was not working for them.

    I found it interesting that the Stone Place battle, which arguably was the turning point of the war, happened comparatively early on.

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    For me, it didn't work as a novel. I thought of it as a collection of short stories with some connecting text. The stories were too different in tone and characters to have more cohesion than that.

    Now, the short stories themselves were entertaining enough, and I think are best appreciated as good short stories rather than a disjointed novel.

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    Not really. 2 points: 1) I thought the sequence (?) of stories about Johann Karlsen's adventures would have made a good novel, or novella, but 2) The connections were just too sparse. I would have preferred that he work out a proper novella, and then include the other short stories, in an omnibus type format.

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    I thought it held together fairly well. It did always feel like a collection of stories, but the 'binding' was reasonably effective, and the fact that some many of the later stories were built on earlier stories would have helped. Like all of you, I think, I generally prefer the space that a novel provides to explore characters and themes.

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    edited November 2022

    This was definitely an assemblage of short stories for me. There was no uniformity of tone and person that a novel would provide. It's short stories with a frame story, like 1001 Nights, not a novel.

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