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Jernau Morat Gurgeh Candidate | joined 09 July 2004 | 19 posts


Now Reading... posted 12 July 2004 in Off-Topic DiscussionNow Reading... by Jernau Morat Gurgeh, Candidate

Fiction: Just finished 'This Alien Shore" by C.S. Friedman. I really enjoyed this book, though I thought the ending didn't do the rest justice. Recommended though.

Non-Fiction: "House of Bush, House of Saud" by Craig Unger

Not sure what's next, until my copy of TDTCB arrives. view post


Your top 5 fantasy series... posted 14 July 2004 in Off-Topic DiscussionYour top 5 fantasy series... by Jernau Morat Gurgeh, Candidate

Hmm, for epic fantasy (and in no particular order)

Gene Wolfe, The Book of the New Sun

JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings

Ursula K LeGuin, Earthsea

Glen Cook, The Black Company

George RR Martin, Song of Ice and Fire

Contenders that may end up moving onto the list...
Erikson (only read the first so far)
Gene Wolfe, The Wizard Knight (Based on being blown away by the first of the two book series)
Bakker? (Waiting for book one to arrive! I have high hopes) view post


Week One: Gurgeh posted 14 July 2004 in Member Written WorksWeek One: Gurgeh by Jernau Morat Gurgeh, Candidate

Ok, this feels strange. I haven't let anyone read anything I've written in years. But, here goes...

------

Mark crossed the crushed limestone driveway with a slow but purposeful gait. The ground was still wet from the mid-afternoon rain shower that had just ended, and the limestone dust made a thin, pale mud that failed to stain the soles of his black dress shoes. His finely tailored suit now looked rumpled and slept-in. Though clean, it appeared tired and sad, a fitting mantle for the broken figure who wore it.

Mark’s feet led him forward, but the man inside shrank away, furtively seeking an alternative to the finality of what lay ahead. He moved between the first of the weathered gravestones, which lay in neat rows that fanned out before him following the gentle curves of the landscape. Though his head remained bowed and did not move, his worn and bloodshot eyes darted about picking out detail which left no lasting impression. The stones were all subtly different, but the differences were quickly lost in their sameness, their unity of purpose as signposts of other people’s crossing over.

The hill gradually steepened before him, but Mark did not notice. The stones he passed became older as he climbed, their writing became more faded and the ever-present lichen and moss became thicker and more wizened. Gradually the murmur of voices rose ahead, and with it a dark grove of hats and then coat shoulders as he came into view of a group standing gathered with their backs to his approach.

He crested the hill and could see the gathering arrayed below him, a short walk down the far side of the rise. A small group, perhaps a dozen people, all in dark clothes and most with raincoats, faced a man in a priest’s cassock. Some held umbrellas closed by their sides, but none looked to the sky wondering if the dingy clouds would add more rain to the somber proceeding. Their eyes were forward, watching the priest, or downward, hiding tears or their lack.

Mark strode down the hill and stepped between the mourners, walking forward to stand before one of the two coffins suspended side by side over freshly dug graves. None of the participants acknowledged his arrival, nor did the priest stop his slow recitation. Mark ignored them, focused on the dark wood of the ornate box and the body he knew lay within. Sarah Marie, his darling wife, young and beautiful and everything he ever wanted, now dead and lost to him forever. He reached forward tentatively with one hand, holding it a few inches from the coffin, wishing he could feel something of the warmth which filled his life every moment she had been a part of it. His heart felt like a decaying stone, being crushed under a great weight. He felt that weight force the tears to his eyes, accompanied by a cold burning in his chest, but his eyes remained painfully dry. He had been unable to weep since the day she had died, but the desire to do so wracked him now with silent sobs.

After a while, how long Mark didn’t know, the priest finished the ceremony and the mourners began to walk away, across the slope toward the small church in the distance. Mark came to himself then, and withdrew his hand, returning it to the pocket of his tattered wool raincoat. He lifted his head and turned it slightly, glancing at the stone at the head of his wife’s grave. Sarah Marie Down, Beloved Wife, Beloved Daughter, 1972-1999. She had left him and gone on, to what he didn’t know, and he was still here, alone and cold and lost.

A last shudder shook his body and he was still again. The hillside was silent after the passing of the funeral party, and a light drizzle had begun to fall from a sky the color of old gravestones. As he turned to walk away his eyes paused briefly on the stone next to hers, the coffin before it identical to hers. Mark James Down, Beloved Husband, Beloved Son, 1970-1999.

He didn’t linger, though he had nowhere to go, but walked away into the rain.

-----

Thanks in advance for reading and commenting.
Gurgeh view post


Idea for this forum posted 14 July 2004 in Member Written WorksIdea for this forum by Jernau Morat Gurgeh, Candidate

I think this is a great idea as well. One problem I have is writing on a regular basis. This might help me get into the habit despite my too busy life.

I would add that people should try to critique as many of other people's submissions as possible.

Anyway, I just posted my attempt at the first scene, and I enjoyed writing it. I can't wait to see what other people come up with.

Gurgeh view post


For a US Reader -- posted 14 July 2004 in The Warrior ProphetFor a US Reader -- by Jernau Morat Gurgeh, Candidate

Several of my favorite authors get published in the UK or Canada first. For new releases try amazon.ca for Canada, amazon.co.uk for UK releases. I ordered my copy of TWP from amazon.ca and have already received it.

For out of print, first editions, etc (for example, the Canadian TP of TDtCB) try <!-- w --><a class="postlink" href="http://www.abebooks.com">www.abebooks.com</a><!-- w -->.

Gurgeh view post


For a US Reader -- posted 14 July 2004 in The Warrior ProphetFor a US Reader -- by Jernau Morat Gurgeh, Candidate

I paid $18.20 CDN for the trade paperback of TWP (there was no HB first edition) and $9.98 for standard shipping, which took about 3 business days plus the weekend to arrive. The total is roughly $22 American.

TDtCB was more expensive, since the first edition is out of print. I found a copy on abebooks.

Gurgeh view post


Week One: Replay posted 14 July 2004 in Member Written WorksWeek One: Replay by Jernau Morat Gurgeh, Candidate

Ok, writing a critique of someone else’s work is very very new to me, so if this isn’t helpful, or isn’t what you want, or you want more in a particular vein, please let me know.

I like the image of the opening sentences, they set the mood and environment very well.

“A short gust of wind” is redundant, gust implies a brief change in the wind. I think this would be stronger if you dropped the word “short”.

The fragment in p3, “the darkness that was his thoughts toying with the idea that someone had reached into his chest and removed some vital part of him” seems to be missing a subject. I’m not sure how to fix this, although I think I see what you are trying for. It’s a good image, I just think it needs some restructuring. Maybe something like “his thoughts filled with darkness, he toyed with the idea that someone had reached into his chest and removed some vital part of him”

There are some minor punctuation and grammatical errors, should we go into those here, given that these stories are rough?

At the end of p7, “And now he no longer had her to turn to” implies a relationship to the previous sentence “She had always been good with names; always had given people her undivided attention and got to know them properly, no matter who they were” but I think it might be stronger if the tie was explicit. Maybe, “Now he no longer had her to turn to when a name or face slipped his mind.” That may not be the best solution, but I think it shows what I’m getting at.

“catch” should be “caught” in the first sentence of p8.

I like the way you contrasted Gabe’s inability to place the man in black with the earlier paragraph about Dani’s facility with names. It made me feel that though you had been building a picture of how incomplete he was without her, here was something entirely other, which she couldn’t have helped him with.

Overall very good. I felt the tone was consistent through the whole piece. The mysterious stranger fit the scene but also left it open and created a tension that could go almost anywhere. I was annoyed at the end that it wasn’t the beginning of a story so I could see where it ended up. <!-- s:) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- s:) -->

As I said above, I liked the imagery at the beginning, but I felt that the rest of the piece was light on descriptive detail. This may have been intentional, as his attention is directed inward, but I think some more details on his surroundings would help to anchor things. view post


Week Two Scene Nominations [CLOSED] posted 14 July 2004 in Member Written WorksWeek Two Scene Nominations [CLOSED] by Jernau Morat Gurgeh, Candidate

A person discovers a room in their home that they had never encountered before. view post


Week One Scene posted 16 July 2004 in Member Written WorksWeek One Scene by Jernau Morat Gurgeh, Candidate

I agree, seems good to have a weekend at the beginning and a weekend at the end.

I assume we don't need deadlines for critiques? However it seems like moving on from critiquing a particular week's posts within a week after the deadline would be a good guideline.

Gurgeh view post


Week One: Gurgeh posted 16 July 2004 in Member Written WorksWeek One: Gurgeh by Jernau Morat Gurgeh, Candidate

Thanks for the comments!

I actually didn't intend the twist to be a twist, more like a highlight of something that had been subtly present throughout, but I think i may have left it too fuzzy. I pictured this as a fragment of a story where the reader would have already known that the main character was dead before this scene, which is probably why I did it the way I did.

http://www.wordsmith.org/anagram/


Yeah, I think i should have spent more time revealing him through his feelings for his wife. If I was doing a rewrite I would focus on that.

Thanks again! view post


Week One: Wil posted 16 July 2004 in Member Written WorksWeek One: Wil by Jernau Morat Gurgeh, Candidate

As I told Replay, I am trying to get a hang of this critique thing, so please let me know if something was unhelpful or you need more of something. I'll go through start to finish first with some comments on the prose and then add general comments...this seems like the way my brain wants to do it.

The small gravel path seemed to stretch on forever, as it always did. Norman Bales slowly trudged along this path, as he did every Sunday.


I like this opener, it sets up the idea that this is an event in a series very well, that this man is in a process of mourning and remembering. I think it would do it's job even better, however, if you switched the order of the two sentences. "as it always did" kind of seems to imply "as it always did when he (did something)". Switching the order adds the "something"...trudging along the path every Sunday.

He stopped and peered at it, apparently someone named Lisa was a whore.


This is great, the second phrase really delivers the impression of diappointment and contempt he feels at seeing the low vandalism.

He stopped and peered at it, apparently someone named Lisa was a whore.


I don't think shook needs an adverb here. When I read it without sadly it feels clearer to me. I think that's becuase his reactions is so clear from the previous sentence.

He knew he had laughed; Claire had always been witty, even when visiting her parents.


I think the second clause here is too specific. Maybe "Claire had always been witty, even when the occasion was somber." Or something like that...maybe the mood being somber wasn't what you had in mind, but i think generalizing her sense of humor's persistence to a mood rather than a specific event would make the picture of her clearer.

He sat down, trying as hard as he might to remember.


I think "could" is a better word than "might" here. Might kind of implies uncertain probability of effort.

He closed his eyes, and heard laughter. It seemed to be hers; a light jingle like a tiny bell. He remembered her smile, and how she always complained that her front teeth were too big. And her eyes, those marvelous green eyes, with the left slightly higher on her face then her right. He would tease her mercilessly about that. She would laugh and say at least her face didn’t look like the backside of a horse.


I really liked this. Great imagery showing how he felt about her, and how they related to each other. An easy, comfortable familiarity comes across really well.

Norman smiled to himself, remembering. He stood up and contained his journey. He came to the spot where they had laid in the grass and talked. He remembered those talks, how she had said that she was going to leave him; that she couldn’t stay with him. She didn’t know when I would be, but it made him cry every time. She had said it before they got married, that she would leave him someday. Like a fool, he had believed that he could keep her here, that she wouldn’t leave because of him. He was wrong.

Falling to his knees in the grass, Norman wept. He put his forehead to the ground smelling the grass. The smell flooded him with memories, all of them memories of her. He fell to his side and closed his eyes, savouring the memories.


Great transition from the fond memories of their laughter and closeness, to a way that she hurt him, then using that to show his loss. I like that the memory of her saying that she would leave him, something that might be taken to be an offhand but hurtful speculation, seems like prophecy (he seems to realize this here). I'm rambling about my impressions so you can think about whether I got the message you wanted me to.

I also like the sensory imagery here. one thing i would change, the use of the word "memories" several times in the second paragraph i quoted seems a bit forced.


Norman stood up and began back down the path.


The second clause needs a verb, maybe "began to make his way back down..."

The small gravel path seemed to end too soon, as it always did.


I like how this ties back and contrasts to the opening.

I think this migth be the strongest place to end it. The two following sentences are less effective.

Ok...I think i got all my thoughts out there. Good stuff!

Gurgeh view post


Week One Scene posted 16 July 2004 in Member Written WorksWeek One Scene by Jernau Morat Gurgeh, Candidate

Agreed...and an author can bump an old piece up if they want more specific comments on a certain thing, etc.

I just meant it would be good to make sure everyone gets some feedback within a reasonable period.

Gurgeh view post


Now Reading... posted 16 July 2004 in Off-Topic DiscussionNow Reading... by Jernau Morat Gurgeh, Candidate

Just started The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross. Lots of fun so far.

Also reading short stories in Innocents Aboard by Gene Wolfe. Incredible. view post


Now listening to... posted 16 July 2004 in Off-Topic DiscussionNow listening to... by Jernau Morat Gurgeh, Candidate

The Starlight Mints - Built on Squares
The Decemberists - Her Majesty
Motorhead - Best of Motorhead view post


Week One Scene posted 19 July 2004 in Member Written WorksWeek One Scene by Jernau Morat Gurgeh, Candidate

I just meant that as more topics get posted and old things get pushed down the list, someone can bring one of their old scenes to people's attention by posting a reply to it so it pops back to the top of the list. view post


Your thoughts on Postmodernism in The Book of the New Sun posted 19 July 2004 in Author Q &amp; AYour thoughts on Postmodernism in The Book of the New Sun by Jernau Morat Gurgeh, Candidate

Hi Scott,

I just finished reading your interview in sffworld where you talk about some of your impressions as you were reading Gene Wolfe's The Book of the New Sun. Like a lot of the tings you said in the interview, it got me thinking, and I have a couple of questions for you.

(I don't know a whole heck of a lot about postmodernism, beyond the basics, so if I get anything wrong or seem to have some misconceptions please forgive me, and if time allows, correct me.)

It has always seemed to me the Wolfe's narrators have an unusually strong influence on the reader's inderstanding of events, characters, and ideas in his stories. Severian, for one, lies, distorts, misunderstands, and wilfully misleads his audience to manipulate our view of him and his role in events. This reveals his motivation and personality to us in a complicated but, it seems to me, no less clear way than characters whose personality is explicitly described and demostrated by the real author of the story. Do you think that Wolfe is downplaying the importance of the individual by presenting Severian as a collection of perceptions and interactions? Or is he revealed, through his interactions and the way he tells the story, as a complete self?

Second, do you think Wolfe is consciously trying to attack the concrete and objective by telling the story the way he does, or is it a choice to give his narrator these characteristics that makes it appear this way?

Sorry to hear you got flamed for bringing up your questions, it's a shame and the death of thought. Note to myself...take care when challenging sacred cows.

Thanks,
Eric

ps...I just got my copy of TDtCB and so far I am really enjoying it! In just the prologue there were several images and bits of prose that completely floored me. Looking forward very much to the rest. view post


Week Two Scene Nominations [CLOSED] posted 19 July 2004 in Member Written WorksWeek Two Scene Nominations [CLOSED] by Jernau Morat Gurgeh, Candidate

Hmm, we need another interested party! view post


Your thoughts on Postmodernism in The Book of the New Sun posted 19 July 2004 in Author Q &amp; AYour thoughts on Postmodernism in The Book of the New Sun by Jernau Morat Gurgeh, Candidate

It's somewhat frustrating to read this great conversation between you two. I feel like I lack the language to discuss this in the terms that you are discussing it. Nevertheless, I have opinions, oh yes, and am utterly fascinated. My (layman's) two cents will have to wait until after a meeting though...but I am now sure I'll be thinking about this instead of work.

One thought...Severian the narrator is already a multitude. Through the chronology of the story Severian evolves from being alone in his head, to being joined with Thecla (or the memory of Thecla as he saw her), to being joined with all the foremer Autarchs. But it's this final "Severian as legion" who is telling the story. On my second read, this realization colored my understanding and interpretations of the early parts of the story.

I feel like I need to get my loaner copy back and re-read it now. It will only be my third time.

Thanks for making me think. view post


Week Two Scene posted 25 July 2004 in Member Written WorksWeek Two Scene by Jernau Morat Gurgeh, Candidate

Ahh great idea. Work blew up in my face this week and I haven't even had time to come by and see if anyone else had posted.

A reprieve. view post


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