Monday, August 16, 2010

Reviews of Up Jim River

The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction has a review of my baby. 

Flynn has been writing excellent sf novels for years, but many readers didn’t sit up and take notice until his novel Eifelheim was nominated for the 2007 Hugo Award.  Since then he has published a handful of truly superior novels, all delicately balanced in that elusive sweet spot between commercial and literary sf. My favorite of these remains The Wreck of the River of Stars, a novel so outrageously, tragically, gorgeously romantic that you’d swear Cordwainer Smith came back from the dead to sit at Flynn’s elbow while he wrote it. But I’m not even going to attempt to justify this bias in any rational way, and readers with a yen for wide-ranging space opera may prefer Flynn’s last two efforts.
The sweet spot between commercial and literary, heh?  Not commercial enough, or I'd sell more.  Not literary enough or...  Oh, well.  He likes UP JIM RIVER save for the inevitable let-down of a second book.  Perhaps I should have used a different suite of characters. 

Meanwhile some web reviews. 
The great strength of these books is Flynn's prose, which is delightful to read.
-- In Which Our Hero
The January Dancer blew my mind, it is hard for a second volume to live up to that. Where January Dancer was an epic Saga Up Jim River is more of a good mystery quest. Some of the turns feels a bit to easy and could have been more of an obstacle for the characters to overcome but it is a good book to listen to. The ending gives closure but is also a great setup for a third book.
-- Cybermage
The language isn’t quite flowery but there is a certain cadence, a rhythm, to it that lends it a near mythic quality.  In the passage above is the obvious, though obscured, reference to to Yeats; Second Coming and it is these half-remember, or incorrectly remembered bits of our own past that enhance that same sense of myth.  Whether it be the great “sky gods” which count both Einstein and Planck amongst there number, the mysterious “mighty condrians” , or the wonder and mystery of “True Coriander” Flynn truly does an amazing job of scattering bits of our present and past across the universe creating an odd pastiche and strange amalgamations that are both familiar and wholly strange.
While the first two thirds of the novel are a planet hopping mystery adventure the final third most closely resembles a quest narrative as our now fully formed party of adventures takes a great journey into the wilderness in search of secrets from the now ancient past.  There are even talking swords!    Flynn’s ability to turn science fiction on its head, to give it the sound and feel of fantasy or myth is difficult to describe without experiencing it for yourself.  Several reviews of Flynn’s work have compared him to Tolkein which is an apt one as he displays a similar ability to weave our own past and present into a mythology and world wholly his own.  If you are looking for something a bit different then I highly highly recommend you give Michael Flynn a try for some truly wondrous reading.  Also, on a last note, I must say I’m a bit tired of cliffhangers!  Hurry up with that next book Flynn because I really want to know what happens next!
-- King of the Nerds!

Alright.  Who am I to disagree with so many others.  Tolkien?  Forsooth.  And not an elf in sight. 

Almost done with In the Lion's Mouth.  Or it is almost done with me. 

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