Monday, September 20, 2010

Otherland: Mountain of Black Glass

Otherland: Mountain of Black Glass by Tad Williams
Otherland Series #3
DAW Books, 1999
Mass Market Paperback, 784 pages
ISBN-10: 0886779065
Volume three, Mountain of Black Glass, not only brings Renie and the others closer to solving the riddles of Otherland but also brings them face to face with the Other, the network's greatest riddle, and reveals their true and most deadly enemy.
In the fourth and final volume, Sea of Silver Light, a number of surprising truths will be revealed, not only about the fate of the characters but also about the fate of all humankind.
My Thoughts:

Trapped in Otherland, the characters continue their separate and joint explorations into the heart of the virtual reality worlds that surround them in Mountain of Black Glass, the third book in the series. Synopses of the previous two volumes, City of Golden Shadow and River of Blue Fire, are included at the beginning.

At this point I will admit to feeling like mumbling "Pick up the pace" a few times while reading Mountain of Black Glass, but I think this feeling may be a typical third-book-in-a-long-series reaction. This time the characters don't go through as many different virtual worlds, but the ones they do are described in more detail. While more time is spent in the virtual reality world, Otherland, there is still action taking place in the real world. We do learn some new things about the Grail Brotherhood and some other answers are revealed at the end, but, of course, there is nothing close to a conclusion.

In an interview found on the Barnes and Noble site Tad Williams writes: "I always have a hard time explaining Otherland. In today's book world, where people (especially on the sales and marketing end) usually want a description in a few words, leading to a neat category, it gets called things like "cyber-fantasy," "science-fiction virtual reality epic," and other even more hard-to-wrap-your-brain-around titles. It is science fiction, with ideas about the world that's coming soon, the future of the Net, and the shrinking distance between humans and their creations, but it's also an epic fantasy, and the virtual universe I've invented is mostly an excuse for high adventure of the getting-chased-by-monsters variety."

I think that explains the Otherland series quite nicely.

Very Highly Recommended - but know from the start that the series is long


As she spoke, the flame of the oil lamp repeatedly drew his eye, a wriggling brightness that in such a still room might have been the only real thing in all the universe. opening.

I've got to learn the rules of this thing, he thought as he watched the seagulls wheeling below him. Not Greece, but the whole network. I have to make sense of it or I'll just wander forever. pg. 7

It was hard to be patient when he wanted to shout. He had waited so long - had been pushed and tugged and flung from place to place, always passive, always the one acted upon. pg. 17

"It's simple, really - the net simply replicates world economic inequality, the haves versus the have-nots. There was a time when people thought information technology would bring advantages to everyone, but it's clear that unless things change, the net will continue to be like everything else - if you can afford it, you'll get it. If you can't, who cares about you?" pg. 25

But I also want you to know that my mother was fear the modern life of instant communication and imaginary worlds - in short, the life of the net. pg 33-34

Waiting to die, as Joseph Sulaweyo discovered, was surprisingly like waiting for anything else: after a long enough time, your mind began to wander. pg. 47

"...We are the Circle, young man, and we are going to send every one of theses sinners and false gods down to hell on the express elevator. Now, s'pose you start talking." pg. 76

"Hearing them speak I cannot help wondering at how shot through with myth and story are all the parts of Otherland we have seen. It seems an odd obsession when one considers who built the place." pg. 173

No comments: