Book Review - Whipping Star, by Frank Herbert

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Omphalos
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Book Review - Whipping Star, by Frank Herbert

Postby Omphalos » 01 Feb 2010 01:11

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Springing forth as a continuation of two tales written early in Herbert's career, A Matter of Traces and The Tactful Saboteur, the ConSentiency tales tell the story of one of the author’s best known characters, Jorg X. McKie. This week's review is of the first of two ConSentiency novels, Whipping Star, a rollicking detective story that relies heavily on discussions on the nature of intelligence, particularly the intelligence of other races, and general semantics theory. As Herbert's non-Dune novels go the ConSentiency are generally regarded as the most accessible; a sentiment I agree wholeheartedly with. Those of you who have read Herbert's Dune but nothing more and are intimidated by his reputation for producing dense philosophical ruminations, these novels (especially this one) and his short story collections are excellent starting points for the rest of the author's oeuvre...Please click here, or on the book cover above, to be taken to the complete review..

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Re: Book Review - Whipping Star, by Frank Herbert

Postby inhuien » 01 Feb 2010 14:47

What a really nice review Omph, there was something about it that''s difficult to express. Perhaps it's my recollections of the book it's self, Whipping Star has always moved me.
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Re: Book Review - Whipping Star, by Frank Herbert

Postby Omphalos » 01 Feb 2010 18:01

Thanks!

Herbert put in some really interesting emotional content. It was the nature of the Caleban's existence I think that made this book really different. That shows up even stronger in Dosadi, especially in the very beginning where McKie is psychically speaking with Fannie Mae.

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Re: Book Review - Whipping Star, by Frank Herbert

Postby inhuien » 01 Feb 2010 18:05

And the absolute expression of the intangibility of Love. Wonderful.
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Re: Book Review - Whipping Star, by Frank Herbert

Postby A Thing of Eternity » 01 Feb 2010 18:24

This book was definitely one of my favourites, I was surpised a little bit that you called it one of FH's more accessible novels, because the semantics discussions and such confused the living hell out of me when I read it! I guess if you looked at the rest of the book though it is a bit more straight forward in it's messages and themes than some of his other stuff. Great book, I think in some ways I liked it better than Dosadi, which I actually read first.
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Re: Book Review - Whipping Star, by Frank Herbert

Postby Omphalos » 01 Feb 2010 18:27

Personally I think it is more accessible then, for example, the Ransom books, or Hellstrom's Hive, or Eyes of Heisenberg. Its much lighter in tone, and certainly not as weird as those others. Think of the implications of Ship, or a hive of humans modeled on insects and I think you will get what Im saying. There certainly are some odd things going on in this book, but I don't think as odd as others, and the philosophy in this book is toned down compared to others. Dosadi even, where the tone is much more serioius.

The semantics issues here really were just puzzles for McKie to figure out. That is basic written SF tactics; give a puzzle or a mystery and let the main character figure it out. What made it better/odder than most was that a brilliant mind devised the puzzle.

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Re: Book Review - Whipping Star, by Frank Herbert

Postby Hunchback Jack » 13 Feb 2010 03:04

I enjoyed Whipping Star enormously. Judging the accessibility of it is tough, though. On the one hand, I agree that the central mystery and the gradual reveal are both relatively simple yet absolutely fascinating. Having said that, though, I recall that a sizeable chunk of the book - a third? - consisted of nothing but McKie's initial conversation with the Celeban.

Not many writers could pull that off - but not a lot of readers would necessarily enjoy that sort of thing :).

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Re: Book Review - Whipping Star, by Frank Herbert

Postby Mr. Teg » 21 Mar 2010 10:29

Hunchback Jack wrote:Not many writers could pull that off...

HBJ


That really applies to this book.
Absolutely!
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