Comments on Sören Heim's Funny, Complex, Imbalanced.

Sören reads The Simoqin Prophecies by Samit Basu. He finds it a balancing act between (not quite) pratchettesque fun, deconstructionist fantasy and jabs at PCRPGs. Sometimes it feels like a crossover between The Elder Scrolls and Monkey Island, but it has its great moments, too.

Comments (go to latest)
Robinson L at 20:30 on 2018-01-01
You know, your description does make the book sound awfully appealing, even if it isn’t as good as it could’ve been. I probably will try to check it out someday, although it looks like it’s not available through my standard book-acquiring outlets, so I won’t be in a huge hurry to get my hands on it.
Sören Heim at 12:45 on 2018-01-02
This is really one of those books I loved at times and hated it at others. In its better moments it shows what Fantasy can be if an author really engages with modern literary techniques. And in its worst it is just another adventure plot wanting to have its glory and deconstruct it at the same time... Which can be really annoying. But I had fun reading it, so you might to, since I am very picky ;) And it's written in a way that you can really fly through it.
Robinson L at 22:00 on 2018-01-08
in its worst it is just another adventure plot wanting to have its glory and deconstruct it at the same time

To me, personally, that doesn’t sound like an actively off-putting read; and not necessarily all that annoying. I’ve probably read through worse for a story I enjoy. So, yeah, if I ever get the chance and have some spare reading time, I’ll probably check it out, and enjoy it.
Sören Heim at 09:03 on 2018-01-09
No, not off-putting at all. As I said, party brilliant, partly not as brilliant, still within the top 20-25% of all Fantasy I read (this is a rough estimate of course, I don't actually keep lists and calculate percentiles... ;) ) Hope you'll enjoy.
Robinson L at 15:30 on 2018-01-09
Sounds like more than good enough for me. I'll be sure to make a report once I've read it, though but that'll probably take a while.
Cheriola at 02:25 on 2018-04-11
This does sound interesting.

One little question, though, just to make sure we have the same frame of reference: Have you actually read any relatively recent Pratchett novels?
I ask because your assessment of his style and narrative intentions sounds like you only know the first few books of the Discworld series, which were just basic fantasy genre parodies and therefore quite different from the main bulk of the series, which I consider to be far more typical of his style. What's appealing to me about Pratchett is not primarily the jokes or the mockery of traditional genre tropes, but the gentle satire of real world cultural / social institutions not relating to fantasy (Academia, banks, Hollywood, the British Army, football clubs, politics, etc.), as well as the humanist ethics and his general assumption that his readers are pretty broadly educated and will catch allusions to e.g. modern astrophysics or ancient Greek history or various Shakespeare plays.

Is this book comparable to Pratchett in this regard as well, or is it just a funny fantasy parody?
Cheriola at 03:08 on 2018-04-11
Case in point about different frames of reference regarding Pratchett: I had to look it up to believe that by "the little pub" you really were refering to The (not yet) Mended Drum, of all places. But when you say "gloomy drinking hole" and "barfights that are evaluated according to levels of violence", I think: Shamelessly cribbed from Pratchett's Mended Drum (or Biers, if we're talking really gloomy.)
Sören Heim at 11:39 on 2018-04-16
There are surely better Pratchett novels, I chose the first because you could nicely compare the way a new world is presented. Basu too makes fun of much more than classic fantasy, he comments on the groth of cities, gamification, filmindustry, draws from indian, european & other mythologies & much more. In writing style he is much more modern and show-don't telly than every pratchett I know, which is still only a small part of his - what is it, 100? - novels (counting not only discworld). As I said: therein lies Basus stregth - and weakness. His aim at presenting a living, breathing society while also delivering jokes and social satire undercut each other sometimes...
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