Monday, August 10, 2009

Empire of the East

For my last two readings, I entered Fred Saberhagen’s Empire of the East. I tore through The Black Mountains and continued on with Changeling Earth. (I had read the first novel, The Broken Lands a year or two back.)

I am not entirely clear on the history of this work. Like Moorcock’s Elric stories, Saberhagen had Empire of the East repackaged and edited a few different times (and some of his Berserker stories apparently fall into that camp, as well.)

The third novel, originally entitled Changeling Earth (the DAW edition I read) was re-titled to Ardneh’s World when Baen took it over. I don’t know if there were any changes

After that, Baen yet again repackaged the entire trilogy into an edited omnibus, Empire of the East.

In my web travels, I have seen Ardneh’s Sword which I believe is a later fourth novel, but could be yet another rework, I don’t know.


I enjoyed the books. The trilogy is a bit different to me, as it uses a post-Apocalyptic setting where both magic and science/technology operate. I.e.: unlike most science fantasy pieces where super-science is the equivalent of magic, here they are two separate entities. For the most part Saberhagen makes it work if you just allow yourself to go along for the ride.

I have only recently started reading Saberhagen and I’m really enjoying his work. There are touches of Bradbury without the purple prose. He has a natural storytelling ability that flows through the tales. I miss these types of fantasy where you can visit well-crafted worlds and characters and yet do it without slugging through a thousand page novel.

There are some nice descriptions of demons and conjuring, an interesting reveal in the last book (as to how the magic came to exist with the technology) and just enough lost technology to keep a reader interested.

I recommend them. They are quick reads, but have nice depth. Choose an edition to your liking and budget ;)

On the writing front, things are going well, if not quickly. I am about 1000 words away (a scene or two) from finishing my current short story. It will definitely need a polish draft after this – I’m really shaking the rust off. And now I have the lump of raw clay in hand to sculpt. I don’t know how many details can be revealed this early, but the story is for a specific upcoming anthology in which I was invited to participate. It was just the sort of real (non-self-made) goal I needed for a kick in the pants to get back on the writing wagon.

It feels good! :) (So good, in fact, I want to get this one finished and start on another one for a possible second anthology!)