Sunday, 10 May 2015

Shalee lhaih 2015: shiaghtin 19

Go here for English version. Note, this is rewritten from scratch, not a direct translation.

4oo-10oo Mee ny Boaldyn

Jerrey nuyoo shiaghtin jeig ny Shalee Lhaih. Shoh ny lhiah mee yn çhiaghtin shoh chaie:

Waking in Dreamland (Jody Lynn Nye)

Ta'n skeeal shoh soit ayns Çheer ny h-Ashlishyn, crooit ec sleih nyn gadley. Chionnee mee yn lioar shoh erreish dou lhaih skeealyn Tildi Summerbee ayns 2013. As nagh dug ee gys cooinaghtyn y chied lioar shen, An Unexpected Apprentice!

  • Ard-charracteyr gyn cosoylaght er y fa dy vel tro quaagh eck/echey ✔
  • Noid keoie as nhee druiaghtagh niartal echey ✔
  • Noid by vie lesh jannoo red ennagh, as bee y jannoo shen cur jerrey er y teihll s'cosoylagh, as t'eh jeean ny yei shen ✔
  • Possan dy 'eniee geiyrt er y noid er turrys liauyr tessen y teihll, shirrey luirg ny druiaghtys ✔
  • Ta drogh-ymmyd druiaghtys caghlaa as leodaghey yn çhymbyllaght ✔
  • Red niartal follit ayns mean sleityn ✔
  • Druiaghtys ta bentyn rish caghlaa reddyn son y chooid smoo ✔

Ta scansh elley eddyr y daa skeeal, dy jarroo, agh t'ad casley rish y cheilley gyn ourys. Ta JLN screeu skeealyn taitnyssagh dy liooar, as t'ee er ngientyn seihll anaasoil noa. Ta blass gennalys er y skeeal shoh nagh row er AUA, as ghow mee soylley jeh. Agh shegin dou gra dy row yn ennaghtyn orrym dy mennick dy row mee er lhaih y skeeal shoh hannah! S'treisht lhiam nagh bee y lioar elley lioree chionnee mee y red cheddin myrgeddin...

By vie lhiam ny karracteyryn son y chooid smoo, agh shegin dou gra dy row yn ard-charracteyr lane chiart mychione ny ven-phrinse. As ish gyn schlei ny oayllaght ymmydoil hoshiaght, she sondid hene eh soie er goaill ayrn 'sy turrys as gaue naardey er y lane teihll, as dy jarroo t'ee ny doilleeid daue ooilley rish tammylt. T'ee gynsaghey as gaase dy ve ymmydoil ny s'anmey, agh cha nel shen caghlaa firrinys ny dooyrt eh. By hreih lhiam fakin dy vel eh cur meehastey da shen wheesh tappee, as lieh jee - dy jarroo, t'eh gaghtey myr va kiart ecksh as eshyn er nyannoo brock ennagh as shirrey lieh!

Kwaidan: stories and studies of strange things (Lafcadio Hearn)

Skeealyn beggey çhyndaait ass yn Çhapaanish, ny screeuit liorish Haern hene rere sannish ny cowag ennagh. Ghow mee soylley jeh, ga dy vel mee er lhaih lhieggan Gaelg cooid jeu liorish Rob y Teare. T'eh beggan quaagh ec y jerrey, as screeuyn mychione shey-chassee jingit stiagh 'sy lioar shoh... ta art mychione snienganyn nyn moylley derrey oddagh oo credjal by vie lesh jannoo sniengenan jeh dagh ooilley pheiagh! As ta blass fallsoonys quaagh far-skeealaght heanse 1970yn er as eshyn loayrt er aafilleydys.

Fockle s'jerree

Lhaih mee 2 lioar, va 102 aym yn çhiaghtin shoh chaie, myr shen ta 100 faagit dou nish. Ta blass caarjoil ec shen, er lhiam... agh aght ennagh, ta "100 lioar ry-lhaih" gennaghtyn ny smoo na "159 lioaryn ry-lhaih"...?

English version

4th-7th May

The end of week nineteen of the Reading Project. Here's what I've read this week:

Waking in Dreamland (Jody Lynn Nye)

This is a fantasy quest story set in the titular Dreamland, a self-aware world where everyone knows they only exist in someone's dreams. I bought it after reading the Tildi Summerbee duology in 2013. I've got to say, it was uncannily similar to the first of those, An Unexpected Apprentice, in some respects - not identical by any means, but I had a constant flow of deja vu while I read, feeling that despite the obvious differences they were very much akin. Both are fantasy quest stories set in a world where magic changes things, featuring a mad rebel 'wizard' who has obtained a powerful magical artefact and intends to use it in a ritual he knows to be dangerous that may destroy reality. In both stories, a party of heroes follow the madman using the trail of magical distortion left by the artefact's presence; they include a protagonist with a highly unusual trait, who is also a wizard, as well as a taciturn yet likable guard captain whose stony exterior conceals their deep love for another party member. An adventurous young man who carries out missions for the king is in love with a princess, and angers her through trying to juggle his love with his obligations to the king, but is eventually forgiven as their joint efforts bring the quest to a successful conclusion.

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of original touches, both in the world and in the story. For example, this one features a whole party of antagonists, who suffer from internal bickering; while both books are light-hearted, Dreamland is more openly humorous with its focus on dream logic. The characters were pretty likeable, and the book as a whole mostly very readable, so I barely stopped from start to finish. I enjoyed it, but found some sections dull - it opens with a substantial infodump full of setting jargon, which very nearly put me off entirely.

One problem with dream logic is that it makes for low consistency, and allows a lot of author fiat. This is okay in a pure comedy book, but problematic is more serious stories like this. There were a couple of times where it felt like the antagonists only escaped because the author wished it, with the questers becoming suddenly ineffectual and failing to use their resources, and the rules of the setting conveniently arranged to let the bad'uns get away. The scene where Roan is arrested was particularly irksome, and though the courtroom and testing scenes were reasonable observations of dream logic, they also seemed a bit of a waste of time. The test was very long for a diversion, and quite dull in my opinion, and I ended up skimming it. I can't help feeling that either Nye had the idea and was determined to shoehorn it in somewhere, or suddenly felt the urge to add more depth to Roan's philosophy and his feelings for Leonora and couldn't work out a way to do this in the actual story - sorry! If it was meant to be a humourous diversion, it didn't feel funny enough to do that, and it seemed to sit oddly in the story's pacing.

I also found the handling of Leonora's escapade somewhat frustrating. Right in the beginning, Roan points out that she's a liability to the party - and he's absolutely right. Her wish to somehow contribute to their efforts doesn't give her any right to do so, nor grant her any actual ability, and looking at things dispassionately it's a desperately selfish action on her part to force herself on them. As predicted, she delays them and allows their enemies to gain ground. While she does contribute later in the quest (and allows for the romance sideplot!) there was no reason to think this would happen, so Roan's objection remains sound. Her main contribution is her mere presence: the antagonists pull their punches to avoid hurting her out of sheer monarchism, and one adores the Lovely Princess enough to spark a fatal crisis of conscience. Roan is perfectly right, but frustratingly abandons his ethical position at the first hurdle, and begins to act as though he was in the wrong, even seeking her forgiveness. The guards, who should be pragmatic, apparently choose loyalty to the Princess over common sense, despite the fact that she's leaving without the King's permission, so they're probably actually going against their own orders and allegiance to the royal family and the realm... it's all rather peculiar. Makes perfect sense from the point of view of writing the story, mind, you need her along for the plot. I really wish Nye had deal with this better, as it undermined my sympathy for the characters (and the author) right from the start by putting the two main characters clearly in the wrong, yet refusing to acknowledge it.

Kwaidan: stories and studies of strange things (Lafcadio Hearn)

An interesting little collection of short folk-tales and bits of legend, translated and explained by Hearn. There's a good mixture of stories and I enjoyed them. The closing section is rather random - a set of little musings on insects, including a distinctly weird piece which ends up speculating on how evolutionary and societal advances could allow humans to reach the ethical perfection of ants, and perhaps become near-immortal. Sounds like a quote from a transhumanist character in a bit of 1970s sci-fi.


I read 2 books, I had 102 last week, so 100 are left over. A nice number! But somehow, it feels almost more than the 159 I started with. Something about hundreds, I suppose...

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