ursula: (sheep)
Ursula ([personal profile] ursula) wrote2016-03-30 12:37 pm
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reading Wednesday

Recently read: Nine Princes in Amber.
Currently reading: Guns of Avalon.
Up next: Next one in the series, probably.

I actually stumbled on A/N/N/A/R/C/H/I/V/E, read about half of the Amber Diceless RPG rules linked therein, and decided to go back & see what the Amber books looked like, from an adult perspective.

I read Nine Princes in Amber the first time on a rainy day in the library of the Sylvia Beach Hotel on the Oregon coast, when I was about thirteen. I remember wondering why nobody had told me these books existed. I was interested in the world-building, I think, and the propulsive effect of the plot. I don't remember caring about the characters, particularly.

Adult me is struck by how terrible (intentionally) the characters are, and the amount of unintentional privilege conveyed. The sexism is blatant, and the echoes of Earth's colonialist history are likely planned; the casual assumption that the realest people in all of many universes can be distinguished by their pale skin and blue or green eyes is in some ways weirder.

Thirteen-year-old me was irritated by large chunks of the prose. I retain the joke "Blue sky . . . Green sky . . . Dot dot dot . . ." Adult me is interested in the structure, though. There are tales within tales, which reminds me very much of eighteenth-century novels, and a little of medieval romance.
isis: (Default)

[personal profile] isis 2016-03-30 08:18 pm (UTC)(link)
I also read these books as a young teenager, and haven't dared go back and revisit them.
thistleingrey: (Default)

[personal profile] thistleingrey 2016-03-31 04:48 am (UTC)(link)
I read the Amber books mid-teens, which may or may not have inflected my eyerolly sense at the time that the characters were awful (I couldn't see the possibility of intent then, definitely), but I did pick up on the structure, which made the first five worth it. Not much could save the second five for me, largely because I wanted a different balance of character attention. The specifics have gone; I remember only the dissatisfaction.
thistleingrey: (Default)

[personal profile] thistleingrey 2016-04-01 03:31 am (UTC)(link)
Curious what you think of it this time, if you read that far. It was kind of a relief to find later that Zelazny hadn't bothered (much) to put female characters into the Dilvish stories; they were better with the absence.