Everything Is Nice

Beating the nice nice nice thing to death (with fluffy pillows)

Don’t Cry, Emo Ringil

with 4 comments

The Steel Remains was going to be dark and gritty and all those buzzwords that mean serious business. It was going to blow the bloody doors off epic fantasy. So I was a bit surprised at the opening line and the breezy tone of adventure it sets for the opening chapter:

When a man you know to be of sound mind tells you his recently deceased mother has just tried to climb in his bedroom and eat him, you only have two basic options.

Now, it does take a turn for the dark but it is particular sort of dark: the gloom of a teenager’s bedroom. Ringil is a veteran soldier in his early thirties – the sort of person who takes dealing with zombie mothers in his stride – and he is enjoying his quiet life of drinking, fucking and general infamy. Then his mum turns up. How embarrassing. Before long she is rolling her eyes at his adolescent behaviour: “Augh. Do you have to be so coarse, Ringil?”

So Ringil obviously starts playing up, doubling the swearing and tantrums. Then his dad gets involved and things really kick off. For some reason there first meeting reminded me of this. It is all rather panto, aided by those helpful italics – oh, so that’s where the stress in that sentence goes – that turn the characters into hammy actors. At one point Ringil gets three separate lines of dialogue in italics ending in exclamation marks in half a page. He really means it! It’s so unfair, why doesn’t anyone understand him?

Anyway, I’m only a hundred pages into the book and rather enjoying it but as I say, I wasn’t expecting this jaunty teen angst caper. Apparently it is all the fault of this bloke.

Written by Martin

20 August 2009 at 18:18

Posted in books, sf

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4 Responses

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  1. Oh yeah, isn’t it great? It does inevitably get into Richard Morgan’s comfort zone of “And then back in that one battle we struck down countless foes and here are my scars and I lost a lot of good friends that day” badass warrior tale-swapping and grudgingly going back into battle against implacable foes and stuff, but it’s sure a lot of fun along the way.


    20 August 2009 at 22:59

  2. “And then back in that one battle we struck down countless foes and here are my scars and I lost a lot of good friends that day”

    Indeed. Although I’ve just finished Chapter Ten and rather worringly it suggests Morgan might be writing a fantasy version of Night’s Dawn.


    21 August 2009 at 09:07

  3. Not sure what you’re implying there seeing as I haven’t read Night’s Dawn but I’m pretty sure Morgan has talked about the trilogy as not being all too severely interconnected in that winding way epic fantasy series tend to go.

    Is this what you mean by your Hamilton reference?

    Schrodinger's lolcat

    21 August 2009 at 23:28

  4. Satanism, possession and the dead (including Al Capone) coming back to life make up a major and fairly stupid part of Night’s Dawn. The OTT horror schlock of Chapter Ten – “The girl’s sex was gone, the flesh between her thighs replaced by a clenched fist whose fingers he could clearly see pulping his shrivelling member” – coupled with the adolescent hero gave me flashbacks.


    22 August 2009 at 20:42

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