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The Lounge => Media and Inspiration => Topic started by: Cylonophile on July 23, 2010, 03:47:48 am

Title: "Haze", By L.E. Modesitt, jr.
Post by: Cylonophile on July 23, 2010, 03:47:48 am
Haze is L.E. Modesitt Jr's latest SF epic, and it's an excellent piece on sociopolitics versus personal freedom.

 Basically, the novel is set a couple thousand years in the future. Most of humanity is dominated by a Sino-Chinese ruled "Federation" that bears no resemblance to the one Captain Kirk served. The federation is much like china today: A dictatorship with a ruling class of mandarins who use force and murder without hesitation to maintain their rule and crush all dissent.

 Many resent the domination of their lives, and some even try to escape. Successful free colonies are called "pirates', accused of piracy, hunted down and nuked, unsuccessful ones are allowed to slowly decay and used as example of the futility of trying to live free of the almighty state.

 During the founding of the federation, a group of dissidents, called "Thomists" because of their "Doubt it." philosophy and their adoption of "Doubting Thomas" as a symbol, loaded up some privately owned vessels and escaped. The federation eventually hunted down and destroyed their ships  when they refused to surrender, or so they believed.

 The federation, sometime later, became aware of the existence of a planet that seemed to defy natural law and was surrounded by a "haze" of orbiting objects that prevent any gathering of information regarding the planet's surface conditions. A group of "volunteers' is given a choice between being assigned terrible, career and even life ending jobs (The federation picks your job, of course!) or going on a mission to reach the surface of Haze.

 The novel is from the POV of one such agent.

 The novel sets of a future world that is plausible, believable, desirable and  that I for one would love to live in. It's not some ridiculous, impossible libertarian dream world. In fact at one time the main character asks if some parts of it aren't old school communism. Likewise it's not a utopian fantasy, there are some very bad parts of the society.

 Despite that, the world on Haze is a believable one and I'd live on it if I could.

 As one novel progresses, we see a lot of references to "the fall of america" and how the sino-chinese federation came to dominate the world. A lot of it is terrifyingly plausible and thus depressing.

it can be confusing at times as the novel bounces between two times: The current story about haze and an earlier period in the agents life, with a little more bouncing thrown in later I won't spoil.

One minor quibble I have with the book is the fonting: The title, credits and the chapter leads are all written in some horrible chaotic scribble font that looks like the credits from a tim burton movie. Also every chapter title page wastes a lot of space putting pointless little circle symbols. Yuk.

 As a gamer I recommend haze for any GM looking to create a plausible future world that's not some utopian dream or a libertarian fantasy but is still one characters would like to live on and that could have conflicts with other, less desirable societies.
Title: "Haze", By L.E. Modesitt, jr.
Post by: The Butcher on July 23, 2010, 08:23:40 am
Quote from: Cylonophile;395652
Sino-Chinese


Bwuh?
Title: "Haze", By L.E. Modesitt, jr.
Post by: Cylonophile on July 23, 2010, 05:17:54 pm
Quote from: The Butcher;395667
Bwuh?
In the book the author referred to the "Sinese",  a future contraction. I knew the term would be confusing so I made it out t be the modern sino chinese.
Title: "Haze", By L.E. Modesitt, jr.
Post by: Silverlion on July 23, 2010, 06:24:26 pm
Does the story involve an:

An:
Outcast
Hero

Who:
Makes changes to another culture to assist his own.
Makes changes in his culture because it is flawed
or
Defects to the new culture because it is so much better than his own?

and does it have:
Magic or
Science

That:
Is treated with very careful consideration of its cultural impact and/or needs of the community?

Possibly:
Treat Religion/Faith besides in the "science/magic" from above as somehow flawed and in error?
Title: "Haze", By L.E. Modesitt, jr.
Post by: Cylonophile on July 23, 2010, 07:50:35 pm
Quote from: Silverlion;395772
Does the story involve an:

An:
Outcast
Hero

Who:
Makes changes to another culture to assist his own.
Makes changes in his culture because it is flawed
or
Defects to the new culture because it is so much better than his own?

and does it have:
Magic or
Science

That:
Is treated with very careful consideration of its cultural impact and/or needs of the community?

Possibly:
Treat Religion/Faith besides in the "science/magic" from above as somehow flawed and in error?



I take it you are familiar with LEMs work.

It's a science fiction novel, I don't read the fantasy ones he writes.

BTW, my favorite LEM novel was "The eternity artifact." The one I really hated was "Adimante". If you'd like to discuss LEM novels I'd be happy to, but we should use spoilers for those who haven't.
Title: "Haze", By L.E. Modesitt, jr.
Post by: Werekoala on July 23, 2010, 11:05:23 pm
I will be riding ATVs tomorrow about 50 miles from Mr. Modesitt's home, apparently. Hm.

Reading some reviews and criticism, I can see why you like his works.
Title: "Haze", By L.E. Modesitt, jr.
Post by: Silverlion on July 23, 2010, 11:42:27 pm
Quote from: Werekoala;395804
I will be riding ATVs tomorrow about 50 miles from Mr. Modesitt's home, apparently. Hm.

Reading some reviews and criticism, I can see why you like his works.


Paste a note to his gate. "Dear sir, a fan told me to tell you to try some new plots. He really likes your works, as they're fun, but some new directions might be fun as well"

(Kidding. Though don't do that.)
Title: "Haze", By L.E. Modesitt, jr.
Post by: Cylonophile on July 24, 2010, 08:45:16 pm
Quote from: Werekoala;395804
I will be riding ATVs tomorrow about 50 miles from Mr. Modesitt's home, apparently. Hm.

Reading some reviews and criticism, I can see why you like his works.


If you'd like to try a LEM book, please make it "The eternity artifact", it's by far his best, IMEO.
Title: "Haze", By L.E. Modesitt, jr.
Post by: Silverlion on July 25, 2010, 01:07:28 am
Quote from: Cylonophile;395908
If you'd like to try a LEM book, please make it "The eternity artifact", it's by far his best, IMEO.



See and so far I liked Adamante best. Just because its the closest to "different" from his fantasy/SF in terms of plot. I do like most of his works I've read but for one. I can't recall it--was fantasy though. (I like the Ecolitan [sic] stuff a bit too. I need the next series though.)


Ah it was I think Legacies I didn't like.
Title: "Haze", By L.E. Modesitt, jr.
Post by: Cylonophile on July 25, 2010, 02:05:49 am
Quote from: Silverlion;395810
Paste a note to his gate. "Dear sir, a fan told me to tell you to try some new plots. He really likes your works, as they're fun, but some new directions might be fun as well"

(Kidding. Though don't do that.)

Why not do that on L.E. Modesitt's forum page?

http://www.ibdof.com/viewforum.php?f=52

I've gotten replies from him on it.