[PDF / Epub] ☃ Arslan Author M.J. Engh – Thisbookse.co

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10 thoughts on “Arslan

  1. says:

    It took me ages to track a copy of Arslan down, having seen the book described in various places as an Important Science Fiction Novel.After forcing myself through a few chapters my disappointment was weapons grade I read a lot of older SF, and with a few exceptions can generally see why a book was popular in it s era, even if it no longer really holds up against modern works M.J Engh s Arslan is one of those few exceptions.Basically, a murderous young warlord from central Asia the titular Arslan takes over the US in a war that is as well described as it is plausible which is not at all Still, I can handle a flimsy premise if the story teetering on it is strong, interesting and believable, but Arslan is none of these The titular warlord rapes kids, ships everyone s daughters off into sexual bondage, executes folks and generally behaves like an awful war criminal While this is hard going and it really is awful at times it s no American Psycho in either stylistic panache or ultra violence , and Arslan s sadism isn t completely implausible What is completely implausible is the behavior of the oppressed Americans he comes to rule They near immediately fold and give up completely in the face of threats from their new overlords, and stay mostly passive, or at least they do for as much of the book as I could stomach Considering the availability of firearms in the US and the deep reverence for the War of Independence, the Constitution, the right to bear arms etc in American culture the idea that pretty much everyone would bow their heads to foreign tyranny is beyond science fiction it is pure fantasy The militias and the die hard gun nuts would salivate at the opportunity to fight an occupying power, regardless of the consequences, and revel in the justification such an invasion would give to their whackjob paranoid fantasies.I made it through a few chapters of oppressed Americans tugging the forelock and meekly accepting progressively worse treatment from their new rulers before bailing out.Things may improve in the second half the book, but I didn t stick around to find out the story had long shattered my suspension of disbelief and I d tired of the seemingly pointless descriptions of the nasty treatment Arslan and his henchmen were meting out Warning extended analogy ahead Some older works of SF age like scotch whiskey, their flavor deepening and becoming richer with time, leaving us with books that can still be savored decades later Even less timeless works, cheaper vintages if you like, can usually be put into their chronological context and appreciated for what they offered in their own era.I didn t enjoy Arslan at all, and I cannot fathom how it would have been any better a read upon its original publication This book has gone sour in the barrel, if it was ever palatable in the first place, and I recommend you look elsewhere for your hit of vintage SF.

  2. says:

    I wish I could give this one star, because reading it upset me and even made me feel physically ill But it is actually well written the author is a competent writer and storyteller I simply hated the content, which is packed with rape, especially the rape of children, and features a young man growing up to love his rapist The protagonist s Arslan s motto is first the rape, then the seduction , which adequately describes the arc of the story too This book is summed up as a small American town comes to accept, and possibly feel sorry for, its rapist and murderer Except there are no apologies, no justice for the victims, no admittance of wrongdoing, nothing changed by the end.It was nauseating I also found the premise of the book implausible No way would good ol boys steeped in American gun culture just roll over and let a foreign invader stomp all over them, rape their children, send off their daughters to sexual slavery in brothels, and take away all their rights and property without putting up of a fight This book failed as an enjoyable read because of the rape, and the blase attitudes towards rape and victim blaming of children It also failed as a thought experiment or what if story.

  3. says:

    This is possibly one of the most brilliant and odd books I ve ever read Engh does a superb job of dropping the reader into a very strange and inconceivable situation, with zero infodumping yet with total clarity The creepiness of what is happening is clearly captured along with the helplessness of the populace to prevent it It does take a rather long time to clarify exactly how everyone got here, however, and that was a niggling thought for quite awhile as I was reading This, in fact, is the weakest part of the story, as it does not quite ring plausible to me however, the events happening in the here and now are so vivid and so possible that the rest becomes of less importance and one is left with the overall impression that you just read a Really Great Book.The evolution of characters, the slow transformation of bad to good and back again is fascinating Engh ensures that no one is as black or white as they seem Arslan the character is the type of guy you want to choke on sight, but but there is always this calm, sane side to him and this underlying trace of humanity that keeps him forever out of the Evil Overlord or cliched psychopath category Excellent writing, indeed.I have met and had a couple of long and delightful chats with M.J Engh which included a discussion of this character and how she used to dream about him when she was writing the book, a creepy experience in itself When she signed the book for me she wrote Don t like it To which I must regretfully reply, Too late I did.

  4. says:

    The first thing you usually hear about this book is that it attempts to make a rapist of children likable Then you learn that this monster is a 20 something general from Turkmenistan who manages implausibly to militarily conquer the US, and indeed, most of the world Much of the potential audience has been lost by this point, and s the pity Even though the novel s setup may feel contrived, the main characters are realistically and feelingly portrayed And throughout there s an exploration of how a society could be organized from the bottom up and what it would look like I also think a major theme is how the lust for judgement and justice is ultimately self destructive and futile, but that might just be me Overall, this is a subtle book that defies simple interpretation The stilted lamguage of one of the narrators can be infuriating, but it s surely hypocritical for me to complain about that

  5. says:

    What can I say It opens with the brutal rape of two children, and ends with the probable extinction of the human race, and somewhere along the way you forget to hate the man responsible for these and many other crimes At once a skillful riff on Marlowe s Tamerlane and a meditation on human cruelty and grace, Mary Jane Engh reminds us that those two attributes can be contained in the same human A dark, ugly, beautiful book.

  6. says:

    I read Arslan the first time when I was reasonably young I was shocked and disturbed and enthralled The implausible back story aside, the book is about the strange charisma of a brutal and fanatic tyrant and his effect on a small American town.I found the book less effective this time through The beginning was just as powerful, even knowing what was coming But the latter half of the novel was weaker than I remembered The story is told in two alternations from the viewpoints of Franklin Bond, the school principal, and Hunt Morgan, a boy severely affected by the arrival of Arslan and his soldiers On this re read, I found that while Bond s sections are still effective, Morgan s portion is not Engh tries to get into Hunt s head, and to show his turbulent ambivalence, but it s not as convincing as when I first read it She gets at Hunt effectively from Bond s limited viewpoint than she does from within Hunt s head In part, that s because she never really gets very far into his head Bond is far introspective about his, Hunt s, and the town s situations than Hunt is about his own It s a shame, because I think Hunt is a credible character Engh never really gives us a chance to see him as he sees himself Instead, we re given mostly the top level of his thoughts, and not the deeper dive that seems called for.The book also weakens toward its end While I thought the plot itself was reasonable, the eventual resolution was less than I had hoped for In large part, this is because of the role of Arslan s son He s like a character actor offered a starring role, but only going through the motions In the end, his role, while offering some nice literary balance, simply doesn t carry the weight that it needs to, leaving the book to trail off into a vague cloud of metaphor It could be a nice counterpoint to the book s sharp beginning, but in fact it s just a disappointment.Despite all that, I still think this is a great book It s surprising and unusual, and it does make you think, which is always good I downgraded it to a strong 4 stars, but in some ways I still think of it as a star book for its initial and memorable impact.

  7. says:

    3.75 5 Stars Humanity was a plague Locustlike, we ripped holes in the world s fabric. About Wow What to say about this book Well, it s all about Arslan, a young Asian general from the European created state of Turkistan, who takes over the world s military powers without firing a single shot His methods and reasons remain a mystery from most of the world, but he gradually reveals his vision to two men in small town Illinois, where the modern conqueror makes his capital Arslan was just republished by Open Road Integrated Media last month, and that s how I heard of it, but it was originally published in 1976 to much critical acclaim Being a fan of Dystopias and occasionally tempted by SF classics of the 70s 80s, I couldn t resist a classic of the subgenre coming in at only 288 pages I m glad I got the chance to read it Thoughts Two very different, unreliable and extremely well realized characters narrate the story, telling us details of humanity s deterioration and of Arslan, the man causing said deterioration Franklin Bond is a Christian conservative and school principle in the small, rural town where Arslan appears, and he cares very much for all under his responsibility Therefore, he risks the wrath of the town by enforcing the hated general s every rule, having quickly determined that a resistance would only survive its initial stages if he kept it a secret from Arslan he s all action and no talk He gets most of the page time, since he helps run everything from food distribution, to the resistance, to the town government itself The other narrator, Hunt, is one of Franklin Bond s sixth graders and only twelve years old when Arslan takes him as a sex slave Over the course of the book, Hunt grows in and out of physical captivity and learns to play both sides of the conflict over Arslan, whichever offers him the best chance of survival Though clearly a victim, Hunt s pretentiousness and love of literature his ability, as he grows, to express his anguish through poetry, and his pride, which prevents him from addressing it in any other way make him a strong, complex narrator of indeterminate sexuality whose reactions defy prediction His quotes from Milton express his situation particularly well The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven Hunt s perspective is just I had to take breaks from reading it Anguished is probably the best word for it Cynical, yes, but also constantly flirting with death of all kinds It s awful and beautiful Hunt s perspective gets all the psychological depth of Franklin s perspective plus the benefit of literary allusion and a poetic lens I don t normally swear, but literally the only word that can properly express Hunt s perspective is mind effery lol But it is through Hunt s perspective that we get the clearest and most in depth ruminations about Arslan since Hunt is unable to form a coherent picture of himself, he puts all his energy into defining Arslan to himself and to readers in observations such as the one below Confronted unignorably with a phrase he was unsure of, Arslan would turn it back, with a straight face, in question, threat, or provocation, to elicit data I thought, too, that one reason for his inscrutable looks, his reluctance to show surprise or annoyance or enthusiasm, was a simple fear of betraying misunderstanding by an inappropriate reaction I can t share anything about Arslan without spoiling the plot, since it relies very much on revelations about his purpose and actions Although the details of his conquest ultimately feel inadequate and somewhat disappointing, even those aren t really the focus of this novel Arslan himself is And his plan for the world is what makes the novel so interesting view spoiler Arslan s concerns seem largely environmental To save the world from mankind But man, man is too strong He fouls and exhausts too rapidly, and nothing checks him for long There is only one end for such a species extinction hide spoiler

  8. says:

    Voici un roman tr s trange, et gla ant Paru pour la premi re fois en 1976, il ressort en France 40 ans apr s.Arslan relate la conqu te du monde par un g n ral Ouzbek du m me nom Quand je dis relate la conqu te, ce n est pas pleinement exact Pour tre honn te, le roman commence pr cis ment le jour o Arslan d cide de f ter sa victoire et la conqu te du monde.Il va f ter cet v nement crucial dans la petite ville de Kraftsville Illinois , o il d cide aussit t d installer son QG Le roman va alors s attarder sur les suites de la conqu te et sur ce qu Arslan va faire du monde C est par l entremise de deux personnages que nous aurons la possibilit de voir agir et penser ce conqu rant improbable, d abord par le biais du proviseur du coll ge local qui devient rapidement l unique interlocuteur d Arslan Kraftsville, puis par celui d un des l ves du coll ge qu Arslan a viol le jour de la victoire et d sign comme son amant occasionnel.Comme le laisse ais ment entrevoir la derni re phrase, Arslan est un personnage fort peu recommandable Arrogant, provocateur, libidineux parfois, il emploie des m thodes clairement brutales Et cependant, le personnage fascine Par sa grande intelligence d une part, mais aussi par son c t myst rieux Comment un obscur dictateur Ouzbek a t il pu s emparer ainsi du monde Qu est ce qui a pu pousser des puissances comme L URSS on est en 1976 et les USA sans parler de la Chine renoncer au combat Et surtout, que va t il faire de ce monde si facilement conquis Car comme tout dictateur qui se respecte, Arslan a de grands projets pour sa nouvelle conqu te, mais eux aussi restent assez obscurs pendant une bonne partie du r cit Il s agit videmment d uvrer pour le plus grand bien c est un air connu en politique , mais ses m thodes et son comportement laisse assez peu d espoirs quant ses r elles intentions Je n en dirait videmment pas plus sur les manigances d Arslan et ses motivations puisque leurs d couvertes font parties du sel de ce roman.Le r cit s tale sur plusieurs ann es, les plans et projets d Arslan apparaissant petit petit et ses rapports avec les deux narrateurs voluent avec le temps C est d ailleurs essentiellement autour des rapports que ces trois personnages vont d velopper que le r cit s articule.Le jeune coll gien entretient une relation d amour haine vivace avec Arslan, qui ne se d mentira pas tout au long du r cit Le proviseur, sans arriver appr cier Arslan finit tout de m me par d velopper une forme de respect pour lui, respect qui semble mutuel.Le roman baigne dans une atmosph re sombre, un peu glauque et est plut t d sesp r sur le fond La lecture n en est pas pour autant r barbative, les trois personnages principaux tant assez bien camp s pour tenir le lecteur en haleine.Un roman dur tout point de vue , mais qui vaut le coup d il.

  9. says:

    Sweet Mary Mother of God It s been over twenty years since I read this But I was reminded of it last night after reading this review And, yes, the rapes from the first chapter are still a vivid image in my mind.It s an extraordinary book but not one I could comfortably recommend.

  10. says:

    This is tumblr level slash fiction Utter garbage.

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