Thursday, June 19, 2014

Mental Quest

By the end of today I will have driven over 18 hours in four days, I have also finished some more books, so that kind of makes up for it.  One of the books is Yurth Burden by Andre Norton and is the second book in the duo book Children of the Gates.  I liked this one better then the first one in this duo, which is surprising 'cause when reading the descriptions the first one sounded much more appealing, but that just goes to show you why you should read all kinds of books.  as always SPOILERS AHEAD LOTS OF SPOILERS!
The Yurth are beings with significant mental powers that live an ascetic life in the unforgiving mountains.  The Raski lack the mental powers of their planet mates, but many live a much richer life then the Yurth.  The Raski hate the Yurth, most believe it is because the Raski fear and covet the Yurth's mental abilities, but it is not known when, or why this hatred was born.  We meet Elossa, a young Yurth who is on a pilgrimage that all Yurth make when they enter adulthood. This quest is one that changes the Yurth who have gone on it in some way, laying upon them a burden of knowledge that is not shared or talked about.  She follows an inner sense far past any where she has been before.  As she is traveling she finds that she is being followed by a Raski and at one point saves his life.  Eventually the two end up in a ruined city with one end dominated by a partially buried giant sphere.  When Elossa approaches it, it opens. Stans, the Raski informed her that he was the last descendant of the king who had ruled in the ruined city and that he was bound to find out what happened and take revenge. Unable to stop him, Elossa allows him into the sphere.  When she enters a voice tells her the story of her people.  Apparently the Yurth are a star faring race that roamed the universe in their giant sphere ships.  At some point the ship is damaged and through user error the ship crash lands on the city of the Raski, destroying it and spreading some sort of madness which results in the Raski reverting back to a medieval style of living.  The Yurth in penance for the unforeseen destruction take an oath to never again rise to the stars and to live an asture life.  They are scanned with a beam that somehow makes all this possible, while imbuing with the mental powers they currently have.  The Raski in their madness blame the Yurth for their reduced way of life and have hated them ever since.  Stans and Elossa decide that since this happened centuries ago that both sides are to blame, and both sides need to move on.  They decide to team up to try and convince both sides to let the past go and move on.  On their journey back, they encounter a cave of what I can only describe as evilness.  They find the old king, who had survived the destruction of the city by foul means and destroy him.  The story ends with the two of them deciding to continue their quest to get their respective races to move forward.
 I think I liked this book better because it made a lot more sense then the other book in this duo.  I really really liked the idea of exploring the various feelings and result that the unintentional destruction set off.  It was nice to have the "aliens" be a race of conscientious beings who felt so bad about their mistake that they doomed not only themselves but all of their decedents to try and make up for it, instead of the normal nefarious destructive aliens.  I loved how Elossa and Stans came to the conclusion that no matter what happened in the past, it was the responsibility of both races to move on and live their lives.  The pacing was interesting because their was a lot of introspection mixed with KAPOW pieces of action.  It may not be everybody's cup of tea, but I liked the mix.  The only real issue I had with it, is that we get the big reveal about half way through the book and then the rest of the book is the whole evil king thing...which I thought was not really nessecary.  I would have much preferred to see Elossa and Stans go to their people and start to try and heal all the wounds from the past.  This is defiantly a science fiction book written in the good style of the 70's which I love.  It is a bit trippy, a bit thinky, a bit spacey, a bit of everything I love about the old school science fiction.  I would give this book 7 out of 10 sargons!
What is your favorite style of science fiction?  Does science fiction always have to take place in the future?  Why did I wait so long to read Andre Norton?

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