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Hardcover The Burning City Book

ISBN: 0671036602

ISBN13: 9780671036607

The Burning City

(Book #1 in the Golden Road Series)

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

Each an acclaimed author in his own right, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle have collaborated on some of the biggest bestsellers in science fiction history, including the No. 1 New York Times... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A short commentary on BURNING CITY

In America today, there seems to be a misconception, that Science Fiction is for children. TO correct that, Science Fiction is not for children, it for anyone who would like to take a look at future possibilities. Sometimes you have to go to the past, or in this case a Mythical one. BURNING CITY does this. Set 50 years after the sinking of Atlantis on a Major continent half a world away, there is a city that burns itself every few years. A culture of rigidly set societal levels that is strikingly somewhat like those seen in cities today, exists in an almost frightening mirror of what urban life could easily become. This book is an exploration into the possible and perhaps Probable of urban life as we know it and invites the reader to explore their own attitudes towards what can and cannot be tolerated. In a satirical vein, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle take a HARD look at where we could easily be going and offer some hope. If you like Social Commentary wrapped in a whacking good adventure story, complete with rites of passage and fascinating detail, you will enjoy BURNING CITY. I read it, I liked it, I will reread it to see what I missed the first time through. Frank Gasperik

Fun and Absorbing

Unlike Ms. Bartholomew, I found the book charming and quite a bit of fun. And that is how it was written, I believe; somewhat tongue-in-cheek, a fun romp through someone else's garden.I don't really care that the main themes harken to our own era and Los Angeles's particular peculiarities; it makes for an interesting arc and wrap-up. The characters are intriguing and not overblown; for example, when was the last time a magician character had actual flaws and had to be helped, instead of just being the deus ex machina to pull the hero's chestnuts out of the fire? Gandalf? These characters all have flaws, as well as admirable attributes, making them well-rounded. By the time you finish the book, you want to follow their adventures some more.If you're reading The Burning City to find the child of Tolkien, you won't be happy. If you take it on it's own merits (instead of grinding a personal axe, as a couple other reader-reviewers obviously have), the book is as good a new fantasy read as you're likely to see this year.

The Niven & Pournelle magic hasn't gone away

It must be difficult to write fantasy as science fiction, to address fantasy situations with the same intellectual rigor found in quality science fiction. Done right-- the way Niven & Pournelle do it-- it's a real treat._The Burning City_ takes place on Earth, but long ago when the gods still lived and magic still worked. Magic was a science then, and gods were all men needed of government.Like government today, the god of the Burning City is unknowable and unpredictable. Life in the Burning City is difficult and often all too short for some, luxurious and long for others. Even the wealthiest there have problems of their own to worry about, however, and even the poorest have opportunities to excel-- or escape.The worst thing about living in the Burning City is the burning. Every so often, the god of fire that controls the city allows part of it to burn. The burnings were once almost festive, but over time they become darker (so to speak), more dangerous.Enter our hero, who gets caught-- repeatedly-- in conflicts among the social classes and their god. These conflicts and his responses to them form the core of a great story.Niven & Pournelle have woven assorted subplots into the mix, as they always do; _The Burning City_ is a big book like their earlier collaborations.It's not a very dynamic book, though there are some great action scenes. The authors have put more work into character development than they've done in some previous books, and I like that.The book still moves along well, but includes messages along with the motion. This may not be to everyone's taste, but Niven & Pournelle are good at it. You probably won't even notice most of this higher-level content the first time you read the book.Fortunately this book is worth a second read, and maybe more than that. It reminds me most clearly of _Oath of Fealty_, though the plots and characters in the two books are radically different. Both are (at least in part) about how individuals relate to each other and to the society in which they live-- a popular topic for these authors and many others._Oath of Fealty_ is my favorite Niven & Pournelle book, and _The Burning City_ may well rank right up there with it. I'll know better after I've read it a few more times. If you'll excuse me...

Best of its type

I have to admit that I was initially reluctant to purchase this book, as it did not appear to be the kind of story I normally like. But, since Niven and Pournelle have never disappointed before, I gave it a shot. I'm glad I did! The setting of the story was well done (ancient, but still recognizable). The story was engaging and entertaining, with believable and interesting characters. Even more remarkable, they managed to present the idea of a society based on magic in such a logical and believable manner. (As well done as Heinlien's stories Waldo and Magic Incorporated)

Rather an Enjoyable Book

Okay, it's not the Mote in God's Eye. But after all, it's set in a universe that's already been covered with quite a few stories, so it CAN'T have the shock of newness that Mote had. But it's quite an enjoyable story. Yes, it has cool insider references that may annoy some readers and elude others (but so did "Jurgen") but the story stands on its own. What, you read a story of heroic myth and coming-of-age and your disappointed because it fits the genre? I just don't understand these other reviews. I think that most Niven and Pournelle readers will enjoy it. I know I did.
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