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« Review: Super 8 (Abrams, 2011) | Main | Quite Quotable »
Sunday
Jun122011

My First Visit to the Well World

About twenty-five years ago or so, a friend suggested I read Jack Chalker's Midnight at the Well of Souls.  I was on a strick diet of sword and sorcery at the time - Howard, Leiber, Moorcock, and the like - so, sadly I never got around to it.  I believe I even bought a copy at the time.  Anyway, I was browsing the ebooks over at Baen.com, and lo and behold, what do I find?  The complete Well World saga.  I bought every book and have started reading the first.

All I can say is that I could kick myself for waiting so long.  Well, I guess I should qualify that I'm only approximately 50% through the first book (Midnight), but I can tell I'm going to be reading the rest.  I like Chalker's style a lot.  I find it easy to read, even when he's talking about ancient super-computers.  Initially, I thought it was going to be a lot like Niven's Ringworld in that the setting is the prime attraction.  Now, let me say I love Ringworld, and it remains one of my favorite science fiction novels.  But sometimes it seems that the characters are there primarily to explore the setting.  I don't have a problem with those types of books at all as long as the setting continues to fascinate.  The first half of Midnight did that for me, but it was at that halfway point that Chalker hooked me for the rest of the ride. 

The main character, Nathan Brazil, was interesting enough up to the mid point.  There were some hints that he was definitely different from everybody around him, but now, it's like - BAM! - he's different from anybody in the entire galaxy.   I hated setting the book down this morning to go to work.  Don't want to give any spoilers - but what a hook!

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