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Remember: Geoffrey of Monmouth might have been making it all up! There is NO WAY we can know!
Nennius' compilation or "heap" is regarded by most historians as UNRELIABLE, as are the Welsh annals (Annales Cambriae)!
Where does that leave us? With a few lines of pseudohistory from which the entire body of work regarding the "historical" Arthur emanates.
We should all be reading the works of FICTION, literature, regarding Arthur, which are more beautifully written beyond comparison to this book, the so-called "truth".
This book is utter nonsense!
Of all the books I read on the historical King Arthur this is by far the best. If there are errors in their reasoning it might attribute to the fact that not many reliable sources on the subject are out there but so far this is the most convincing attempt at getting the most out of it.
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It appears to me that while Dr. Clarke was exploring the Great Barrier Reef and being mesmerized by some of the sea's most intelligent creatures, he decided to combine his observations into one descriptive essay. However, as that may have been too boring and definitely quite uncharacteristic of his personality, he decided to put a couple of characters together and make up some sort of a story. Unfortunately, he spends so much time on describing how the corral reefs look like that the pace of the story slows down to a crawl. There are as always lots of interesting ideas proposed and he has always been in the forefront of future technologies but none of the characters like Johny Clinton, Mick, or Dr. Kazan ever develop enough to become memorable. In fact, the dolphins (Suzy and Sputnick) are better developed than their human counterparts. Therefore, this book is not quite up to par with what I'd call the Clarke standard, but if you've ever wondered what the Great Barrier Reef looks like, then you should give this book a try; if you can actually find it!
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Twain completely dissects the "good ol' days" of Arthurian Britain by exposing the vicious social practices of the time: white slavery, le droit de seigneur, confiscation of property in event of suicide, the complete lack of impartial justice, the degrading influence of the Church on the mass, etcetera etcetera etcetera...
The Arthurian legends are wonderful tales, but they are a mythic literary production; Twain deals with the brutal reality of daily living in the Dark Ages, and points out that the good ol' days were not so good, anyway.
As for its applicability to modern America, I am not fit to judge. Perhaps it's there. But "The Connecticut Yankee" is a wonderful tonic for those prone to romanticizing the past. Twain seems to agree with Tom Paine that the English nobility were "no-ability", and simply the latest in a series of robbers.
And, of course, the book is stuffed with wonderful Twainisms... My favorite is his observation that a conscience is a very inconvenient thing, and the significant difference between a conscience and an anvil is that, if you had an anvil inside you, it would be alot less uncomfortable than having the conscience.
Twain also mentions the beautiful mispronunciations of childhood, and how the bereaved parental ear listens in vain for them once children have grown.
You'll never look at castles the same again...
The plot is a familiar one in our age of sci-fi and fantasy, though it was innovative when Twain conceived it: Hank Morgan, an enterprising 19th-century engineer, is knocked unconscious and comes to in King Arthur's fabled Camelot. Bewildered but determined to make the best of the situation, Morgan uses his knowledge of history and mechanical skills to convince everyone he is a super-magician greater than even Merlin. Once ensconced as the King's right-hand man, Morgan sets about reforming the country into a republic, a sort of prototype America. Most of the book follows Morgan through a series of haphazard adventures which Twain uses to illuminate the great but often forgotten evils of the Dark Ages, including the abuses of the Catholic Church, the ignorant and useless ruling body that inevitably arises from a monarchy, and the pitiful working conditions of the medieval peasant or slave.
Nor is Twain's critical eye trained only on the far-flung past. Though Morgan is essentially a sympathetic figure, he struggles to find anything the least bit admirable about the knights and nobles he must live with, and considers the chivalric code merely fit for derision. Meanwhile, Morgan's own capitalist code is in full effect, and he takes advantage of every opportunity to cash in his advanced education for the big bucks.
Colorful and sublimely written, Twain's time-travel masterpiece is both a magical fantasy and a stinging dystopian satire. Don't be fooled by the several movie versions of this story, some of which are great fun in their own right. Yes, the novel is funny, often riotously so, but the humorous skin hides a deadly earnestness beneath, and the finale is far less optimistic than one who has first seen the film versions will doubtless expect. A deservedly immortal literary gem.
BY: Christian J. Vazquez
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King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table by Roger Lancelyn Green, were a whole bunch of different stories. They were how Arthur was raised and became king, how each of the knights came apart of the round table and how each of the went on their quest for the Holy Grail, and the departing of King Arthur and his kingdom.
The author, Roger L. Green, emphasized some differences to the original tale. For instance, Launcelot never loved Elaine. Elaine loved Launcelot very much but she was sad because Launcelot did not love her back. So Elaine went to Brysen who was a sorcerer and she made Elaine appear as Guinevere (Launcelot's love). When Launcelot saw Elaine that appeared as Guinevere he asked her to marry him and she said yes. The next morning when Launcelot saw Elaine in bed with him instead of Guinevere he went mad and started to live in the forest. Another change in the story was that the author called the Lady of the Lake, Lady Nimue. This book took place in the 6th century and the narrator is in 3rd person. The themes of the book were basically stories of each knight on their quest for the Holy Grail.
I would recommend this book to avid readers and people who enjoy fantasies. This reason because it is hard to understand some of the words are difficult to understand.
The medieval setting is painted in a rather idealized fashion, limited to the nobility and figures of the court, who embrace all that is beautiful, brave and noble. These virtues are sometimes portrayed rather simplistically, as unknown knights engage in mortal combat, and only after they have virtually killed each other do the introductions begin: "What is your name?" Behind this medieval mayhem is a heightened sense of chivalry more reflective of legend than fact, where knights battle to the death for the sake of a woman - even one they have only just met. But isn't that what the Arthurian legends are all about? Nobody is under the illusion that they are to be taken too seriously. Journeying to Arthur's Camelot is a form of escapism - suspend your sense of disbelief, watch the flashing swords and fearful battles, and enjoy.
That's not to say that the Arthurian tales do not reflect any reality. Arthur's world is in many respects a real medieval world. Medieval beliefs in paganism and Christianity are evident throughout. Witchcraft and enchantment is presented as alive and deadly, and conversely the true religion - in this case the beliefs of the medieval Catholic church - is evident throughout as knights commend themselves to God in prayer, thank him for his help, and even repent from their sins. The whole notion of the Holy Grail is of course a very Christian tradition - although a tradition that represents more fiction than fact. And the moral virtues of justice, truth and right for which the honorable knights fight are still noble ideals of virtue today. Arthur's kingdom is presented as a kingdom blessed by the grace of God, a beacon of light symbolizing all that is good and true and right, and a worthy model for kingdoms in today's world because it revolves around timeless virtues. Tales that promote dignity, courtesy, courage, respect for right, respect for female dignity and purity are as ennobling as they are entertaining.
How much truth there is behind the Arthurian tales will always be the subject of debate. The fact remains that there is an extensive and confusing body of legend to wade through. In this work, Green has essentially followed Malory's fifteenth century classic "Morte d'Arthur." But unlike most other writers, such as Sir James Knowles, Green has made some significant improvements:
1. Firstly, the traditional Arthurian tales are a confusing mass of legends. But Green consciously weaves all the tales together as part of a single pattern. He needs to take some liberties with legend in order to achieve this, but these alterations are minor, and the end result is a plausible reconstruction with a clear development, revolving around the establishment of Arthur's kingdom, its climax with the successful quest for the Holy Grail, and subsequent downfall.
2. Secondly, most other collections slavishly follow the body of legend inherited by Thomas Malory. Green follows Malory in the main, but has researched the legends carefully for himself, and also incorporates some Arthurian legends not found in Malory.
These innovations of Green result in a very readable and successful version of the Arthurian tales, and yet one that does not significantly sacrifice faithfulness to legend. Those looking for a more historical reflection of the Arthurian tales would do well to turn to a version of Malory, such as that by Sir James Knowles. And those looking for a more developed and extensive modern version where the author has taken liberties beyond the original legends, would enjoy the classic work by Howard Pyle. But as a faithful, plausible and enjoyable introduction to the tales, you can't go wrong with this superb effort by Green.
Most readers looking to be introduced to the Arthurian legends need look no further than this collection by Green. It's not as grand as Malory, but it's a better read. There is no end to the accomplishments of sword and sorcery, adventures and quests. To our sorrow, Arthur's kingdom ends in darkness and disgrace, but not before it has shone with a wonderful and memorable light. Along with the tales of Robin Hood, the tales of King Arthur are the most exciting tales that British history has produced. This is the stuff of legend, and it's worth a read.
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Neil Philip writes the book, The Tale of Sir Gawain. He also is a critic who has written many other books such as: Guteesh and the King of France's Daughter and Drakesdail Visits the King. The story is made up of many different tales and legends that tell about Sir Gawain numerous ventures. The tales vary from quests, to banishment, marriage and death. Although it does have a few differences, the book doesn't have many contrasts. For one, it's the fact that the story is not based on King Arthur, but the brave and loyal knight Sir Gawain and the hardships he journeys through. He tells the story of his years at the round table, from his perspective.
I would not recommend this book for younger children because I think that the story is confusing and with so many of the tales, you can't tell who is speaking. I also believe that the word choice is also confusing from the way we speak today. I may not have enjoyed this book but they're still others who would be delighted to read this book.
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One thing I really love about Clarke's books, especially 2001 and 2010, is the description. 2061 didn't have much of that; there was a sense that we had already seen these things before so they didn't need to be described again.
The book wasn't all bad. The redeeming feature is the premise. In the beginning Dr. Heywood Floyd (who I was glad to see again) was on a ship that landed on Halley's comet, which was an interesting twist. I've never read a SF book about landing on Halley's comet before. In the meantime, another ship is hijacked and ends up stranded on Europa, a moon of Jupiter that mankind has been forbidden to land on. The ship that Floyd is on is sent to rescue the other ship. It was an intriguing plot line and more could have been done with it. As usual the characters are uninteresting, and there seem to have been more useless characters in this book than in most of Clarke's books.
I certainly wouldn't call this a must-read for anybody. It's a fast book to read and somewhat entertaining while it's being read, but I doubt I'll remember it very long.
But as a continuation of 2001 and 2010, it is a bit disappointing. It lacks the uncanny riddles of 2001 and simply repeats part of the ideas of 2010. The end of 2010 made buy 2061 in the following week, but 2061 didn't make me buy 3001 that fast.
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The first half of the book is fairly interesting, showing how the beautiful, ambitious, unscrupulous newscaster Francesca Sabatini manipulates the decision-makers who are nominally in charge of the racially, religiously, and nationally diverse expedition. Squared off against her is the heroine, Nicole des Jardins, the French-African Life Sciences Officer, who has secrets of her own. Once underway, a deadly accident causes a shift in the expedition's power structure. Then, once the remaining crew is aboard the Rama spacecraft, Clarke and Lee's scientific skills come to the fore, describing the peculiar features of this enormous vessel, and the seemingly inexplicable activities of the creatures (?) found within.
The second half functions as a more straightforward space adventure story, featuring Nicole des Jardins' perils aboard the Rama. All the intrigue gets lost in the excitement of wondering how Nicole will escape her doom on Rama, and while the resolution may be satisfactory enough for some, perhaps, it does require a good stretch of the imagination. Unfortunately, this book's ultimate conclusion really cuts the entire first half adrift, and the whole is less than satisfying. Perhaps the next volume, The Gardens of Rama, will once again pick up the plot threads that are left dangling in Rama II. One can hope so, at least, and the three-star rating reflects that expectation to a considerable extent, because without any further resolution this book would be very weak indeed.