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OSC's The Tales of Alvin Maker- any good?

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OSC's The Tales of Alvin Maker- any good?

Old 10-13-03, 08:39 AM
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OSC's The Tales of Alvin Maker- any good?

I'm debating starting this series. I've had Seventh Son sitting on the shelf for a while, but was waiting to finish up the Ender books, which I just did after reading First Meetings.
So, if anyone's read the sereis, is it worth it? Or should I move on to something else for now?
Old 10-13-03, 11:44 AM
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I can highly recommend Book One.

However, as I recall, Book Two wasn't quite as good and I'm sure I didn't get beyond Book Three.

In all, my reading experience of this series was similar to that of the Ender books and I think that this must be more down to OSC than it is to me!
Old 10-13-03, 12:18 PM
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I lost interest in it after a while. There's just way too much Mormon dogma.
Old 10-13-03, 02:04 PM
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From what I know, Card let the story get away from him. The first two books followed a path he wanted, but he got sidetracked. The final two books (the one out in Nov. and the other sometime later) supposedly get the story back on track.

As for the mormon dogma, I never read that into it and loved the books. I might read them again and see what I think.
Old 10-13-03, 02:55 PM
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Well, it looks like I'll definately read the first one then and just wing it from there.
I'll take anything at this point that'll distract me from the fact that Dark Tower 5 is less than a month away.
Old 10-14-03, 10:40 AM
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I enjoyed it. The plot does meander a bit after the first book or two, but I don't mind that, since I think the journey is lots of fun.

I notice you're a Dark Tower fan. If you've got the Legends anthology -- which included a King Dark Tower short story ("The Little Sisters of Eluria") -- there's also an Alvin Maker short story ("The Grinning Man") in there, so you can get a feel for the setting and the style before you dive into the novels.
Old 10-14-03, 08:19 PM
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Alvin is Brigham Young. If you read up on the Mormon's origins, you'll see this story for exactly what it is- an alternate history of the Mormon church. The parallels are all there.

It is interesting, as I said, but after I figured this out I started to develop a distaste for it. I sort of equate this to John Travolta's Battlefield Earth Project- Spreading the gospel in a thinly veiled Sci-Fi/Fantasy form. The fact these books are marketed squarely towards young adults just adds to my distaste.

OSC is a great writer as long as his religious/political convictions don't get in the way.

Last edited by Eric F; 10-14-03 at 08:21 PM.
Old 10-28-03, 12:33 PM
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Originally posted by Eric F
Alvin is Brigham Young. If you read up on the Mormon's origins, you'll see this story for exactly what it is- an alternate history of the Mormon church. The parallels are all there.

It is interesting, as I said, but after I figured this out I started to develop a distaste for it. I sort of equate this to John Travolta's Battlefield Earth Project- Spreading the gospel in a thinly veiled Sci-Fi/Fantasy form. The fact these books are marketed squarely towards young adults just adds to my distaste.

OSC is a great writer as long as his religious/political convictions don't get in the way.
I've never been able to get into the Alvin Maker tales but hadn't heard this before. I know that the 1st book of the homecoming saga is the story of Joseph Smith more or less.
Old 10-29-03, 10:00 AM
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Yeah, Maybe I'm thinking of Joseph Smith, but I was pretty sure Alvin was Brigham Young. All the elements of the church are there.
Follows his journey accross the US- helping slaves along the way, etc. A pretty idealized view of the church.

It's a pretty simple story when you come down to it- Alvin is the "maker" and he's fighting the "un-maker" ie- Satan. It doesn't get any plainer than that. After a while I began to find the story a bit insulting.

I suppose it's OK for an author to inject their religious and political views into their works, but at least call it what it is- propoganda. If you read any of the Bean books, he even blasts Clinton in one of them for taking action against Osama, and the book arrived right after 9/11 (even though he wrote it before).

I'll stick with Ender's Game, thank you very much.
Old 10-29-03, 11:38 AM
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[Confused? You will be!]

<small>
Originally posted by Eric F
Yeah, Maybe I'm thinking of Joseph Smith, but I was pretty sure Alvin was Brigham Young.
</small>To clarify, "The Homecoming Saga" series comprises a separate, unrelated science-fiction sequence to the Alvin Maker stories (which are more of a fantasy/alternate history).

"Homecoming" iswidely "credited" as being some form of allegory for the Mormon movement, although I have also seen it described (less accurately?) as "the re-telling of ancient scripture as science fiction".

I remember becoming concerned as to the Alvin Maker books when I noticed all the people OSC was crediting as being essential to the creation of the story: the more people he credits, the less interesting the tale.... perhaps he knows this and is spreading the blame!

The answer seems to be to keep the series down to just two books; or maybe just one big book! That way maybe we'll all be happy as he is a fascinating writer.
Old 10-29-03, 11:46 AM
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I never saw any of these allegories, but I'm wondering if I will no longer reading him if I start to catch these "hidden meanings." I think Card is one hell of a writer, but now that I know all this, I wonder if it'll ruin any re-readings I might do.
Old 10-29-03, 03:55 PM
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Maker is particularly blatant, and wait untill you read Pastwatch. See what happens when the Mormons change the past! Geez...
I really wish he would just be up-front about what he's doing.

I do think the Bean books are excellent- but once again, it's his take on near future politics.

His Ender books are the best, and at this point I wish he'd stopped there. As for me, I'm pretty much done with him.
Old 10-31-03, 08:02 PM
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Pastwatch. See what happens when the Mormons change the past! Geez...
You know, I was raised sort of Mormon (a branch off) in a very strongly religous household (which I later escaped). I'm very much agnostic, and not particularly christian, really - I believe that I don't have enough evidence to believe anything. But I have a lot of religous upbringing. And all of this allegory that you guys are talking about, I see very little of. Pastwatch was one of my favorite books, being that I love alternate history. I have read it several times (despite not really liking the original 2 Ender sequels much, I like the Shadow books). I didn't see any mention of it being Mormons changing the past, and if there is allegory that people in the future are Mormons, I certainly missed it. Having been raised that way, I would have expected to see this immediately. Honestly, you guys sound like the people that say that Lord of the Rings is allegory for the World Wars, the Industrial revolution, the ring = Nuclear Weapons, etc.

Honestly, it seemed like he wrote that such a device (to see the past) collapsed ALL of the major religions in a major upheaval, into a very few couple of religions.

Last edited by GreenMonkey; 10-31-03 at 08:04 PM.
Old 11-01-03, 07:20 AM
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I'm pretty allergic to religious allegory, and I enjoyed Pastwatch - I found it to be relatively free of religious overtones. Not entirely - I seem to recall that he squeaked in a few "It's so GOOD to be religious!" moments, but not enough to spoil a fun book.

OSC is definitely one of those writers whose quality varies wildly between books.
Old 11-01-03, 10:03 AM
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GreenMonkey- Have you read the Alvin Maker books?
Old 11-03-03, 10:49 AM
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I love the Alvin Maker books, especially the first couple, but I'm interested enough that I'll read any more that come out.
Old 11-03-03, 09:10 PM
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I absorbed a hunk of the first Alvin Maker book YEARS ago (or all of it?? can't remember), and recently the Alvin Maker short story that appeared in the Silverberg anthology. I know it's got a religious theme and all, but everyone seems to scream ALLEGORY! There's a difference between allegory and influence. I would say that Alvin Maker and the Homecoming books were the only ones that seemed to have religious Influences.

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