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Just started and what a wild ride. A beautiful and strange story, unlike anything else I ve read Bisson introduces with equal aplomb the sound of an old John Deere A tractor Boom chunk chunk chunk boom chunk chunk and the sight of the six mile wide Mississippi River Canyon, with fishermen dragging out 1700 year old catfish as big as a house In the best possible sense, a book full of magic. @DOWNLOAD EBOOK ë Talking Man ⚣ A World Fantasy Award Nominee A Genuinely Fresh Imagination At Work Michael Moorcock Any Novel That Encompasses John Deere Tractors, Tobacco Planting In The South, Wizards At The End Of Time, A Six Mile Wide Mississippi Canyon, Singing Magic, And A Chrysler Racing To The North Pole Is Covering An Awful Lot Of Ground Bisson Covers That Ground As If It Were The Most Natural Thing In This World, Or Any Other Guy Gavriel Kay The Geography Shimmers And Melts, Catfish Big As Boats Are Pulled From The Mississippi, The Moon Crumbles Into Luminous Rings And Refugees From Burning Cities Choke The Highways A Novel Of The New South With A Liberal Does Of The Old Fantastic And Gothic, Charming, Literate Teasingly Allusive And Very Entertaining Publishers Weekly An Action Filled Romp Through A Surreal Landscape Of Ever Changing America Los Angeles Times Bisson Has Dumped Magic Into Non Urban America, And Writes About It All With Brilliance And Poetry Asimov SAbout The Author Best Known For His Short Stories Macs, They Re Made Out Of Meat And Bears Discover Fire, Terry Bisson Has Won Every Major Award In SF, Including The Hugo, The Nebula, The Sturgeon And Locus Awards, And France S Gran Prix De L Imaginaire He Lives In California Talking Man is perhaps the best fantasy book I have read Well, what can best mean Probably that I am most glad to have read Whereas some books are so gripping that I cannot put them down in order to sooth some discomfort from, say, a bad chair or crick in my neck, Talking Man made me so comfortable there was no discomfort to distract me, no willpower required to stay seated Moving forward with perfect ease, a traveler or reader may travel far simply for the pleasure of movement.I have much to say about this short book, and too little time as I write, at present, so please forgive my careless grammar and mixed tenses.It is the hybrid structure of this tale, myth told in a manner similar to many American road movies and the effortless, affable character of the narration which led me so easily There are plenty of reviews mentioning the whimsy and broad imagination of the book, the easy language of the South and authenticity of it s Americana and so forth, so I d like to think about the structure of this tale.Myths and novels Talking Man is both those things To contrast, The Hobbit is a great example of the heroic journey, a fact Tolkien expresses self consciously, text within the text reference style, in Bilbo s book about his adventure, There and Back Again Tolkien was an expert craftsman, and master artificer, and wrote a most perfect there and back again novel length myth and fairytale Talking Man, is a novel, not a fairytale tho it is mythical It encompasses than one character s or one group s journey so it is not a geometrically perfect fairytale or myth it is an excellent short novel It isn t as the masterful as the greater novels in the Western Cannon of literature and its craft is not a perfect as Tolkien s but it is still the best fantasy book I have read The five stars it earns are for my subjective reading experience.At the start, we a have a very nice, homey setting and an interesting, partial history, which is disturbed the way many stories begin The comfortable and homey the initial setting is, the motivated I am to read about how the characters restore it s balance once it has been disturbed So the idyllic, comfy, friendly, quirky home of our characters is upset Because they are so lovable, this perturbed me powerfully I wanted them safe and happy I had to read until I knew they were The charms of quirky mystery such as magical engine repair, promised secrets to be revealed as the heroine s journey unrolled.Crystal pulls a friend along as she chases her father the god wizard, who in turn is chased by terrible Dgene, his archetypal antagonist, whom he created in a long gone era of the universe The question of what, why and hows, of origins are a mystery which in addition to my sympathy with the characters, magnetically drew me along with the characters in various cars across an incredible, changing, magical American dreamscape.The constant change in the landscape is reflected in the transformation of the characters and unfolding of their relationships As the landscape is revealed, history and mystery are revealed to our protagonist, Crystal, who motors up along her father s tail stream, then to her friend become lover, William Williams, who s pulled along in HER tail stream And finally these revelations drew the me along as in a tailstream In my reading, I found myself invested in them all, every character, even in oppositionally to Dgene, the antagonist. Good mystical road fantasy, though it would help to be familiar with the geography of the USA to know what bits of it he s tinkered with, and what he s left alone Otherwise, read with an atlas handy His sense of place and people is reminiscent of Howard Waldrop. This was entertaining, light fantasy I found the characters engaging, the scene setting skillful, and the plot functional I do not know how true the characters and setting would ring to someone from tobacco country.To me, the main weakness and the main point of interest was the plot I thought Bisson did a good job of giving us an insight into the motivations and foibles of forces of nature gods what have you without making them too accessible They were always half there, half understood, and rarely seen For that purpose, framing the plot as a who done it chase worked well, and the race across alternate possible realities was fun That said, too much of the story felt arbitrary to me It never gained the feeling of inevitability or truth telling that I find in stories like Gaiman s The Ocean at The End of the Lane, which featured similar themes and characters.Nevertheless, I enjoyed the book and will keep an eye out for by him. After reading a wonderful story by Terry Bisson, Scout s Honor, I decided to check out his work I loved his recent book Any Day Now, which featured an alternate history of the sixties and a protagonist who was a mechanic Bisson s an auto mechanic, among other things Then I read The Pickup Artist, which was okay, funny Today I read the short novel in question, and it contained some of the same things from the other two novels Road trips, for one Both Any Day Now and this book contain alternate versions of America And auto mechanics Hmm But Talking Man was boring as hell It s nearly all one long car ride with two characters who, though having just met, hardly ever say than three words to each other Imagine a road trip with no talking Boring Who are these two people We aren t shown It s in very limited third person, and there s no view into their heads So if neither is talking and the author ain t saying much either, there s no reason to care about these two The title character, for some reason, never talks at all He s a wizard, and a car mechanic, and the story is about two teenagers driving all the way from Kentucky to New Mexico for, really, no reason, other than that Talking Man has gone there, and they are trying to find him Why We don t know until the end From New Mexico which morphs into Mexico, while everything else slowly changes, too, though why is never explained they head toum, the North Pole Which is now no longer a polar ice cap, but is instead a bunch of empty identical blockhouses with nobody home Why are they there No idea The final magical confrontation between Talking Man and his former sorceress girlfriend gone bad again, no explanation given for why she s turned evil is, to say the least, disappointingly dull and leaves nearly everything unanswered The two teenagers are trailer trash from the south, the girl smokes a lot and the book seems to be filled with her lighting cigarettes and the two of them switching places, while driving, which I suppose is meant to convey some sense of urgency Yawn Our male teen seems to be romantically inclined, due to the presence on the girl s chest of boobs They eat nothing but junk foodI mean, really, it was hard to find any reason to care for these two Give us some back story, some emotional content Something Bisson seems interested in automobiles than his characters, as we are given blow by blow descriptions of auto repairs, including exact wrench sizes This gets really silly when the car breaks down conveniently near a crashed airplane which has a part that can fix the car Are you kidding me Two pages of car maintenance ensues, with Talking Man magically installing the part with some magical saliva OMG This was Bisson s second book, and dates from the mid 80 s I suppose that, back then, it was somewhat cutting edge to have a fantasy without dragons and knights, but, instead, a humming cracker who can make cars lift off the ground, ala Yoda Urban fantasy came soon after, and now it seems there s nothing to recommend a book like this that conflates fantasy with weird stuff happening for no freaking reason and characters with less appeal than a Shell No Pest Strip Ugh. It s too tiresomely personal and difficult to go into I never grasped what it tried to hint, and I do not certainly wonder it. The creator of the universe may also be a bad tempered old whiskey swilling car mechanic, and his worst enemy may be his ex wife in a Chevrolet, but not really A road trip across the American Myth to the cold heart of the world My only complaint is that there wasn t of it if you re going to work on the level of myth, you need to be prepared for that grand and complicated scale Somewhere between this and American Gods would be absolutely perfect But closer to this. Just delightful It s a sprawling high fantasy trilogy in under two hundred pages, and set in America a couple of different Americas, actually It uses roads and cars as well as Borgel or Nine Princes in Amber It has a sense of place and a sense of scale It s an astoundingly controlled book There are obvious parallels with American Gods, but that book is so long and aspires to be so universal that I find it loses its way Also, in Talking Man, Bisson s protagonist is slightly of a person.From my admittedly limited experience of Appalachia, he gets it just about right The concept of a junkyard wizard and a quest across America as the universe is so incredibly perfect that it s hard to imagine, once you ve read this book, that it could be done any other way, or be done wrong, but of course it is, all the time Orson Scott Card s similarly theological alternate Americana which I actually like a great deal goes on too long, and gets, well, a bit Orson Scott Card And that s just it This book encapsulates, for me, what I like about Terry Bisson books well told, laid back, slightly corny, occasionally beautiful, precisely atmospheric.