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Thoughts on Farthing

1. At a certain point, I looked at where the characters were, looked at how many pages were left in the book, and thought Crap. There's not enough room left for a happy ending.

And there wasn't.

2. One of the things that stood out to me was how useful it is for a fascist state to outlaw things that aren't wrong. If everyone has broken a law, then everyone fears the power of the state and can be controlled by the threat of arrest. This works even if you don't have innocent things outlawed, of course, but it's so very much easier and tidier-looking if you do.

Furthermore, the effects are improved if nobody ever talks about the innocent outlawed things, so that people can fool themselves into thinking nobody else does it, and they are uniquely vulnerable; or, alternatively, that since they don't do it and nobody they know does it (that they know of), anyone who does really is a loathsome criminal and ought to be locked up.

This left me with a really strong impulse to come out as publicly as possible about everything I've ever done that isn't wrong but is disapproved of or frowned upon, all the way down to reading smutty fanfiction[1]. I squelched the urge, because I'm fairly sure it isn't actually a good idea[2], but boy is it tempting.

[1] Not about the Farthing characters.
[2] This is an understatement.

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At a certain point, I looked at where the characters were, looked at how many pages were left in the book, and thought Crap. There's not enough room left for a happy ending.

I don't know how much, if any, that the sequels help in this regard, but there is one sequel that should be out fairly soon, and another that (if I'm remembering correctly) is partway through the writing stage.

The third one is supposed to have a happy ending. papersky said so.

Oh, good; I'd forgotten that post. (I also wasn't sure if you read her LJ or not.)

(Deleted comment)
Hm. It has been sufficiently long since I read Accelerando that I don't quite remember how it ends. (Brain like a steel sieve, me.)

As I'm always in the market for new things to read (even when I really should, oh, I don't know, be WORKING) what's the author's name?
Re: [1] Nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all. I've written the stuff - which I justify by saying that imitation is the highest form of flattery. And honestly, the characters really were headed in that direction anyways. Anyone could see it. *coughs* Anyways...

what's the author's name?

Jo Walton.

Footnote [1] is there because she specifically does not wish fanfiction to be written about her characters; I don't think fanfiction as a species is wrong (or it wouldn't be on that list!) but it does seem at the very least rude to write it based on the works of someone who'd rather you didn't.

It's a lovely book, but it's very depressing. Kind of like China Mieville; it's nice and all, but you feel so bad about the world when you're done, it's not a good idea to read too much. (Last month I read a China Mieville short story collection without taking restorative breaks between stories; bad idea, very bad idea.)

I didn't realize she was particular. It's not really something that she can hope to have a say in, though, is it? She's let her characters out into the world - it's a tad silly to be upset that readers are interacting with them. She doesn't have to read the fanfic. But then not everyone agrees about everything; can't fault people for having opinions.

That's good to know about China Mieville, too. I have Perdido Street Station tucked away on a shelf to read at some point. Knowing he's more depressing, I'll pick a time when I'm not feeling blue when I start it.

I'd say that he can be depressing like Dickens can be depressing -- Mieville's settings are dark and grimy, but I don't find his novels excessively downbeat.

His recent YA, Un Lun Dun even has a fairly happy ending, thought it's not happy in the middle, and left me with the feeling that he loves The Phantom Tollbooth as much as I do.

Perdido is my favorite of the Bas Lag books so far; I'm not sure I could choose a favorite between it and Un Lun Dun overall, because they're just different kinds of books.

If I didn't know Farthing had sequels, I would have been very disappointed in the ending, because it felt to me more like a stopping point than an ending. Too much unresolved. I was somewhat upset when I finished Butler's Fledgling, because it had the same sort of ending that wants another book, and she died, so there'll never be one. I don't know if there would be one if she hadn't died, mind you, but I could hope if she were alive.

It's not clear to me whether the sequels will help with Farthing's ending -- I have gotten the impression that they're pretty much just set later on in the same world, rather than focusing on the same characters. That doesn't mean they can't explain what became of the first set of characters, though. And I could be wrong! I have no idea where I got this impression in the first place, so it's highly unreliable.

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