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Author Topic: The Gap Series by Stephen R. Donaldson  (Read 3672 times)

Offline Jeni

The Gap Series by Stephen R. Donaldson
« on: May 24, 2013, 02:15:25 AM »
After much badgering from my brother, I have finally read Stephen R Donaldson's Gap into Conflict: The Real Story.

It was very short. More of a novella than a full length book - although that went in it's favour as the short length meant that I actually finished it. I'm not sure I could have read it all if it had been longer.

Having read a few of Donaldson's Covenant novels in the past, I wasn't expecting to like the main character - but I had hoped there would either be at least one character that I liked, or that I would be able to get involved in the story and the world around the characters enough to keep me interested and make me care* (that worked for me with the Covenant novels). But I didn't even get that from this book.

Has anyone read the whole series?
What made you read on after this point?
I can't see myself ever picking up the second book, as my guess is that Morn has escaped the frying pan only to end up in the fire. And if this isn't even a fraction of what she ends up surviving then not even morbid curiosity will encourage me to read on.


*I found this story quite disturbing - my brain said 'enough' and prevented me getting too involved after only a few chapters I think. 
 

Offline pornokitsch

Re: The Gap Series by Stephen R. Donaldson
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2013, 12:36:46 PM »
What made you read on after this point?
I can't see myself ever picking up the second book, as my guess is that Morn has escaped the frying pan only to end up in the fire. And if this isn't even a fraction of what she ends up surviving then not even morbid curiosity will encourage me to read on.

I read the series. I rate it as high-quality and extremely disturbing.

I read on because of Donaldson's explanatory notes in the first book, explaining how the book linked to Wagner's Ring Cycle. If you purely read the book for its themes - about agency, about destiny, about free will - it is an amazing exercise. If you get sucked in to what's happening on every page, it makes you want to scour your brain with bleach. I know there's a lot of "grimdark" chat going on, but Donaldson kind of already hit as good/bad as it will ever be: this series is both horrible and excellent.

I can't blame you for not going on, and I don't think I'll ever reread them. I'm glad I've read them. I'll keep my copies. But I don't see myself ever opening them again.

Offline simonster

Re: The Gap Series by Stephen R. Donaldson
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2013, 08:54:56 PM »
I read on because of Donaldson's explanatory notes in the first book, explaining how the book linked to Wagner's Ring Cycle.
This.  At least almost.

I read the (first) book and was completely unengaged by it.  But then, reading the author's note at the end, the book suddenly made sense, and I was keen to move on to the second book.

But then I got to thinking: if a book is only good when the author explains it to you, it's probably not that good after all.  So that's as far as I went with the series.

Offline Jeni

Re: The Gap Series by Stephen R. Donaldson
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2013, 01:17:10 AM »
I read on because of Donaldson's explanatory notes in the first book, explaining how the book linked to Wagner's Ring Cycle. If you purely read the book for its themes - about agency, about destiny, about free will - it is an amazing exercise.

But then, reading the author's note at the end, the book suddenly made sense,

Ok, I can understand this up to a point - I know nothing about Wagner's Ring Cycle so that reference goes straight over my head, but I can see how an explanation of what the author was trying to acomplish with this story may alter a readers perspective and let them see the story in a different light - one where something could be gained from continuing to read it.

But I didn't read Donaldson's notes at the end, because once I'd finished, I wasn't in any mood to read any kind of justification for the story.

I may go back and read the notes at some point now though, but not just yet.

Offline pornokitsch

Re: The Gap Series by Stephen R. Donaldson
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2013, 07:30:57 AM »
But then I got to thinking: if a book is only good when the author explains it to you, it's probably not that good after all.  So that's as far as I went with the series.

This is a very, very good point.

Offline Lionwalker

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Re: The Gap Series by Stephen R. Donaldson
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2013, 01:52:40 PM »
But then I got to thinking: if a book is only good when the author explains it to you, it's probably not that good after all.  So that's as far as I went with the series.

This is a very, very good point.

This is exactly how I feel about Wolfe's Book of the New Sun.

As for the Gap cycle, the first book is probably the most horrific and it calms down a little (in terms of extended brutal violence of the kind described in the Real Story) but then that could also just be me as a reader becoming a bit numb to it.

For me, one of the most impressive things about this book is the journey of each character and how Donaldson takes through each archetype (victim, hero, villain). Although this is taken from Wagner, it is still done brilliantly.

I think I would read it again, just to pay more attention to how he does it.
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Offline pornokitsch

Re: The Gap Series by Stephen R. Donaldson
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2013, 01:08:04 PM »
I quit on the New Sun really quickly. In fairness, I was pretty young at the time and picked it up for the cover artwork - I was hoping to find more Eddings or Dragonlance.

Wolfe is many, many things. Eddings isn't one of them.

I should probably try again someday...

Offline Sean Cunningham

Re: The Gap Series by Stephen R. Donaldson
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2013, 09:02:39 PM »
I read the series. I rate it as high-quality and extremely disturbing.

My thoughts exactly.

I read on because of Donaldson's explanatory notes in the first book, explaining how the book linked to Wagner's Ring Cycle. If you purely read the book for its themes - about agency, about destiny, about free will - it is an amazing exercise.

These are themes of great interest to me as well, though I haven't read Wagner's Ring Cycle and I doubt I read the notes. Maybe I should. Could be part of the reason I read the whole series, or maybe just because I'd never read anything so depraved before.
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