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am 11. Januar 2006
"City of Golden Shadow" is the first of 4 volumes which make up Tad Williams' Otherland. Each volume clocks in at about 800 pages, which means there's 3200 pages worth of reading, if you bother with all books. Just so you have a sense of comparison: My "Lord of the Rings" edition totals about 2500 pages (that would include "The Hobbit") while the pointsize is slighly larger than "Otherland". The reason I'm pointing out the number of pages is this: Each LotR book was thoroughly fascinating, vivid and written in a way that made me not want to put any of the books away. Sure, there were a few slow parts, but overall, the books all delivered a well paced plot and each of them stood for themselves (that is, there was no need for the lame "It's a trilogy, so you need to read them all to understand them" excuse - in fact, it was 7 books total, but that's a different story). Each book was packed with a plot that made sense in itself and made me want to read the next part, and not with the feeling that it was just an introductory or transitional episode to the grand scheme of things.
What's all of this got to do with Otherland, you ask? Well, my point is this: This first volume is dreadfully slow. The first and last 50-60 pages are rather well paced, the 700 pages in between just seem to go nowhere. What little plot there is on these 700 pages is rather repetetive: Another virtual world one of the main characters travels through, leaves somehow, and it all starts over. Also, after this book finally comes to a close, you still know very little about the actual plot. In fact, what little plot there is is revealed on the back of the book. Seriously, expand the backprint of the book to 800 pages, and you've got it all (with regards to the plot). And I know that its 4 books total - but like I pointed out above, that is a pretty lame excuse for not putting any real plot into each single volume (at least if the thing spans 800 pages).
The lack of content wouldn't be so bad if Williams at least were a good writer. Unfortunately, that's not the case either (at least, his writing in this book doesn't make for great or entertaining reading). The characters are moderately interesting at best, annoying or outright boring at worst. The description of the virtual worlds is rather dull. Dialogues are rather cheesy, and then there are the "side plots", like stories told by some of the characters - in this first book, one of the main characters is a descendant of the bushmen, and we're treated to many, many really long bushmen stories (as in legends). Maybe these stories are actual bushmen legends, maybe they're not. The point is, they're stories that do nothing at all for the plot (and very, very little for the character developement). Have I mentioned that the book is rather repetetive? Yeah? Well, incase you forgot, this book is for you (because every other page, the reader is reminded of something he already read or should have grasped - because it's been pointed out explicitely and implicitely often enough).
In conclusion, I was rather disappointed by this book. I can't help the feeling that Williams sat down with the goal of writing an epic story spanning 4 volumes so as to sell 4 books to every interested reader (instead of sitting down with the goal of writing a great story first, and not bothering with how many volumes this will fill). This book is very, very bloated. For what it's worth, I will give the second part a chance solely because I went ahead and bought the lot of them (after having Otherland recommended to me) - and I have to kill 10 minutes on the bus each morning. Maybe I will be raving after I'm through with the last volume ... but this book really did nothing for me.
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am 21. August 1998
You will try to take your bleary eyes away from this book more than once, hoping for sleep to give you the rest you need to continue. This book cannot be read in one day...the huge tome takes several. As you become immersed in the characters who, in turn, explore virtual reality of which we can only dream, your own world will seem a pale shadow and you will hunger to read more. This step into science fiction takes the science fact of artificial life and examines the implications of awesome computing power and terrabyte bandwidth. Follow a young South African woman and her Bushman student as they try to find the cabal that has pushed her brother into a coma. For conspiracy lovers, sci-fi freaks, and techno-geeks, this book wraps drama and character development in rich technology. As a precaution, I suggest you turn to pages 300 and 600 upon purchase of the book and put notes to yourself to eat, drink, and, please, shower. Forget sleep.
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am 20. Juni 2001
Zwei Dinge muss man Tad Williams zugute halten: Die Handlung spielt mal nicht in nur Amerika, wie es bei diesem Thema zu erwarten wäre, und es stecken tatsächlich einige Ideen in Otherland, die es "menschlicher" als den durchschnittlichen Cyberspace-Thriller machen. Allein die beiden Hauptfiguren, soweit man bei den zahlreichen Handlungssträngen davon reden kann, heben sich wohltuend von den üblichen männlichen Technikhelden ab. Allerdings übertreibt Williams es bisweilen etwas mit den Nebenhandlungen und schweift stilistisch etwas ab. Mit hundert oder zweihundert Seiten weniger wäre die Handlung ebenso spannend und besser zu lesen. Nichtsdestotrotz sehr empfehelenswert.
0Kommentar|5 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 24. März 1998
Beazle Rules!! So does "Otherland". I, personally, liked the heck out of it. The charachters were well drawn, the story is just vague enough to keep the reader interested without giving too much away. The scenes are beutifully painted with Tad Williams brilliant prose, and draw you into the rich and wonderful universe that is called Otherland. But be warned: this book isn't for everybody. It is very long (700 some odd pages), starts off kind of slow, and leaves off with the mother of all cliffhangers. But the fact it does start off slow makes room for great charachterization, and the fact that there is a cliffhanger gives promise that there is more adventure on the way. I persnally am counting the days until River of Blue Fire comes out. So if your in the mood for a high-tech adventure, pick this one up. An excellent read!
0Kommentar|4 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 15. Mai 1998
After reading all the reviews below, something struck me very odd. Almost all of the complaints about the novel had to do with its length. My response to those people is "Why did you buy a 770 page first volume if you are worried about length?".
Tad Williams is notorious for starting out his series with a long expositionary volume which introduces and engrosses the reader into his world. If this series is anthing like his last one the subsequent volumes will be full of action and plot twists and intricately woven subplots. Tad is an extraordinary writer who creates vivid and complex characters. He is one of today's premier SF/Fantasy writers and all of his books are worth reading.
If you are a reader who enjoys cookie cutter SF/Fantasy and just wants the author to tell a story that wont make you think too much, than Otherland and Tad Williams are not for you. Tad never underestimates his readers intelligence, and even sometimes challenges it. So if you want to read a story that is complex, and rich with character development pick up Otherland and get ready for a long but fullfilling ride.
0Kommentar|3 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 5. Juli 2003
The book sets out with a very promising idea. Virtual reality versus real life, the reflection of society and the new dangers. However, these thoughts are given very little attention after the first 50 pages, once the main plot picks up speed.
Not that there is so much of a coherent plot. The six different plotlines are jumbled, and also badly balanced. Renie&Co get most of the attention, while the others are sadly underused. I especially would have liked to see more of Orlando and Dread. I also kept wishing that there would be less chapters focusing on Paul, because they didn't seem to have anything to do with the book, didn't take the plot anywhere and generally felt like excess baggage.
As far as characters are concerned, I liked it that the focus was on Africans for once. It's rare to get this in a book, especially in the sci-fi/fantasy ones. But there was no character I particularly cared about. Orlando came close, but he got so little attention that it was difficult to really care. Renie felt fairly blank. !Xabbu was okay, and I absolutely loahted Renie's father.
The ending is disappointing because it provides no closure of any kind. It feels as if after reading 800 pages, you got nowhere because a solution to the initial problem with the kids isn't anywhere in sight, and nothing that happened in the second half even seemed to be connected to Renie's mission.
I'm not going to read the sequel. I only finished the first because I don't like to put books down without reaching the end. But it was not a very satisfying read, so I'll avoid the rest.
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am 12. Juni 1999
This is the first book in what will be ( according to Tad Williams himself ) a four book cycle. This book is mostly set up for the series. READ IT! After you finish it get the next volume and sit back and keep the phone handy. Your going to be calling to cancel engagements and tell your boss you won't be in until you finish the book. I am a huge fan of the sci-fi fantasy genre and find the growing pseudo-cyberpunk subgenre to be very compelling. Telling a story based entirely in a computer system is a difficult undertaking, but Tad Williams makes it seem like the easiest thing in the world to do. His characters are fresh and exciting and not at all what you would expect in any novel let alone a sci-fi epic. The story itself will keep you wondering what's next, and the variety and originality of the virtual worlds is unbelievable! I guarantee you will not be disappointed! BUY THIS BOOK!!! AND THEN BUY ALL THE SEQUELS!!!
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am 8. Juli 1999
The only thing that disappointed me about this book was discovering that it was part of mega-ology. I just wasn't prepared for the reality of waiting for books to discover the ending. It is completely readable, engaging and I was thoroughly "sucked in". The descriptions are lush, the characters are engaging, the mystery is engrossing and unlike other stories, I didn't have the ending, nor even most of the characters, figured out before reading their destinies. The last half of the book had me turning pages in frenzied anticipation. Now I'm jonesing for the next hit of Otherland. I have read The Dragonbone Chair trilogy and so was intrigued by another large tome by Mr. Williams. If one is a fantasy or sci-fi fan, this is a good way to spend a few days or a week of non-stop reading. Gee, I guess I'm a fan!
0Kommentar|3 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 29. Juni 1998
Otherland, the first in a 4 part epic, is an intricately, tightly woven technomystery set in the not too distant future of Virtual Reality that will not let you put it down!
Lush, realistic characters, who's humanity and compassion are put into sharp relief against a backdrop of cold, hard and very powerful technology. The band of unlikely heroes are pitted against an unseen greedy power mad superich cartel known only as "The Grail Brotherhood". Lead by a paradoxically frail, yet tenacious woman computer professor, Renie Sulaweyo, and helped by her spiritual bushman friend, !Xabbu, the heroine attempts to find out the secrets behind the mysterious coma her VR surfing younger brother has fallen into. As she, along with her friends, begin to peel away the layers of the mystery, the truly evil nature of the Grail Brotherhood begins to show itself in the form of paranoia, arson and murder. Many characters, on seemingly separate paths, converge and the stakes become even higher, as the group begin to realize that their very lives are now at risk!
It is for these very reasons that I loved this book, and I began to care deeply about these people. Among them the lonely, but strong willed Renie. Deep and whimical !Xabbu, and the wonderful Orlando, who finds courage and strength in VR that he can not have in RT. I found myself hanging on every page to see what would happen next! And of course, being set in VR, ANYTHING could, and does happen!
For those out there that do not have the patience or mental memory simms (!) to follow so many story lines, I don't recommend this book. But, if you can keep up, you will find yourself so immersed and so thoroughly enveloped in this epic tale, you will not be sorry! A fantasy, yet so close to us all in the icons and tools we use today, which makes the story so easy to slip into! Bring on the next tome!
I have even found myself playing a casting game. Who will they get to play the parts in the movie? Someone call Steven Spielberg or Ridley Sc! ott!
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am 23. Juni 2000
When I was first thinking about purchasing this book, I read all customer reviews in an attempt to get an idea of if I was going to like this book, and if it was worth reading. I saw 5's, adn then I saw 2's, and everything in between. It seemed that people either loved this book, or hated it.
This book was not engaging, it dragged on and really didn't arrive at much after 800 + pages. The story line was unique, but the author got bogged down in detail and his own intricate plot twists and seemed to lose the thread of the story altogether at times.
This book was not horrible though, it had some merrit to it. The idea the book was predicated on was interesting, and i seriously considered reading the rest of the books, just to see where the author was going with this idea. But when I saw the next 2 books were in the same 800+_ page format, I decided my time was best spent elsewhere.
I am sure you are wondering, and asking me to answer your question that probably prompted you to read this review in the first place: should you read this book.
No. I don't think this book is worth your time, unless you read really fast and could finish it in a day or 2. (This was hte only reason I stuck with it, if I had had to spend more than a week or 2 on this book, I wouldn't have read it) There are so many good books out there that are begging to be read, that reading this would be a waste of your time. The book was just not worth it.
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