August 20, 2002

It occurs to me that

It occurs to me that despite the title, this blog has not yet made any particular reference to linguistics, or to dancing, or to any books (good or otherwise). Clearly, I need to rectify that.

I've just finished reading a fun little book entitled Sentry Peak, by Harry Turtledove. I have a difficult time assigning it to a genre---on the one hand, it's fantasy, but on the other, historical fiction. (How's that work then?) It is a novel of war....

When King Buchan died, his appointed successor was the gangly King Avram. But the northern nobles didn't like his attitudes toward provincial prerogative (they were for it, he was against), so they threw their support to his cousin and rival King Geoffrey. In the ensuing conflict, King Avram promised to unbind the blond serfs from the land....

Ok, get it? I'm not even quite sure if this is better with or without a strong grounding in Civil War history; I didn't have much, but I had enough. It is great fun to read this book and figure out what the cities of Georgetown and Rising Rock and the provinces of Cloviston and Croatoan correspond to, and who northerner Thraxton the Braggart and southron General Guildenstern correspond to---you get the idea, I'm sure. Some are obvious immediately, others come around and hit you like a ton of bricks dozens of pages after you first see them. I was sent into a fit of giggles more times than I can count at figuring out yet another one.

But gimmicks aside, it is still a fairly gripping story, and as is Harry Turtledove's specialty it somehow manages to make you root for both sides at once. The book isn't for everyone (my history-grad-student neighbour Sam would absolutely loathe it, I'm certain), but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

"My philosophy is to "educate and then trust the general public". This philosophy is in line with the basic values of democracies. The government's approach to homeland security is "keep everything secret and trust nobody". This is in line with the basic values of authoritarian governments." --John Gilmore

Posted by blahedo at 12:41am on 20 Aug 2002
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