A Circus of Hells Epub » A Circus PDF/EPUB or

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • 160 pages
  • A Circus of Hells
  • Poul Anderson
  • English
  • 01 September 2016
  • 9780451090454

10 thoughts on “A Circus of Hells

  1. Lyn Lyn says:

    Written in the 60s I see Poul Anderson’s character Dominic Flandry as a Jonny uest who made it big and went to outer space and took on a James Bond Austen Powers hypeHe was bold cool and had a certain way with the ladiesAnderson’s complex characterization again takes the top prize reeling in a spaghetti western mess of a plot into something worth reading Poul’s ability to tell a balanced story with good bad and ugly on both sides of the Berlin Wall is in rare form here as the “evil” galactic lizard men have theological warmth while our hero comes off as something of an assMost pleasing is Flandry’s “Bond girl” a former prostitute named Djana who shows surprising depth of character and a dynamic portrayalSetting the Dominic Flandry series about 500 years after the Poletechnic Van Rijn Falkayn action Anderson has cast this later Terran Empire into a decaying and increasingly decadent culture with the not incorruptible Flandry staving off the eventual decline of his societyEver the uintessential “idea guy” of the classic science fiction pantheon ultimately Anderson threw too much into this one and it kind of came apart at the seemsOne fun mention is the combination animal and machine creations may have been an influence on John Varley’s Gaean trilogy with its description of a predatory factoryAll good fun great for an Anderson nerd like myself entertaining for an aficionado of 60s pulp but maybe not the best for a first time reader

  2. Jason Jason says:

    From one of the best novels in Anderson's Technic Civilization saga we arrive at one of the worst This seuel to the wonderful Ensign Flandry is a dud from start to finish an interminable slog and a surprisingly shoddy affair from a writer that usually at least has a competent handle of the basics Let's start with the characterization Flandry must have let his success on Starkad get to his head because he's now an insufferable prig Gone is the earnest and conflicted philosopher of the first book Anderson has rewritten him here as an aloof and arrogant scumbag a man who casually demands of his employer that he be supplied with a prostitute for his upcoming mission to attend to his needs Having received this prostitute he spends the rest of the novel treating her abysmally having sex with her yes but also snapping at her ordering her about insulting her humiliating her and mocking her If his characterization is juvenile and unpleasant hers is utterly woeful she weeps and begs and pleads continually asking Flandry to hold her No matter how much Flandry scolds her and infantilizes her she keeps falling into his arms and crying Oh Nicky Oh Nicky Save us He even calls her a slut at one point In another scene after he rescues her from something he says I shall expect you to show your gratitude in the ways you know best Gah This whole relationship is just so icky so unnecessary so poorly thought out it makes the whole novel sink into shrillness before the plot even gets startedHah Did I just say plot? Sorry I meant incoherent banality What we have here is a Frankenstein monster of a book stitched together out of bits and pieces of ideas for stories none of them good It feels frankly like Anderson was just making it up as he went along First there’s a “find the treasure and get the reward” plot This soon morphs into a standard “guy and his whiny girlfriend walking through the desert” plot and it isn't Anderson's fault to be fair that these scenes reminded me of the movie Spaceballs In any case Flandry and his prostitute eventually arrive at an automated city where some robotic bugs are playing a massive game of chess Okay one thinks the mystery deepensis this novel about an artificial intelligence? Or an enemy machine? No and no because on the next page our heroes are whisked off this planet and captured by the Merseians and those bugs and that planet and indeed the entire mission that began the book and sent them there in the first place are uite literally never mentioned again Never Not once The first half of the book is abandoned like an unwanted baby left on a doorstep Suddenly we’re in a different story this one about a joint humanMerseian expedition to explore some alien natives At this juncture the book with a straight face jarringly takes on an anthropological and scientific tone as if despite the offensive and lightweight stupidity of the earlier pages Anderson secretly wished all along this were a hard sf novel It begins to expound for pages and pages on end on planetary fauna and flora on geological activity on weather patterns on native cultural practices These descriptions long and tedious as you can imagine couldn’t be of less interest to the reader Flandry is a prisoner during all this threatened with mindwipe or possibly death – why should the lives of these natives mean anything to him or to us? Why is Flandry actually exploring them? Is it because for a few pages there Anderson tries his hand at a “white guy saves the natives” plot? Anyway no matter because soon enough these natives are left behind just as uickly as the chess playing bugs were and we’re off like a flash to the next whim of Anderson’s aimless narrative And that whim is a doozy Flandry’s prostitute it turns out is some kind of Jedi So says the wizened old Merseian who becomes her new father figure She goes from an oppressive boyfriendclient to a kindly father figure – how nice She has some kind of power within her like Rey from The Force Awakens and for a couple of chapters she spends time being trained in the ways of the psychic prostitute Again jarringly these pages are filled with experimental narrative devices ellipses short paragraphs dream imagery streams of consciousness It's all very serious and artistic I wondered if someone had glued a few pages from another novel into the middle of this one as a joke Anyway very soon we beam to the next plot the prostitute’s power utterly forgotten and there’s an escape and some heroics and I think there’s an attempt to make some kind of political story out of all this but I don’t know Whatever Near the end the prostitute begs Flandry to stay with her because she loves him He refuses because he has too many other women to fuck and she wanders out of the book and hopefully out of Anderson’s canon entirely What are we supposed to think of all this? Is Flandry a loveable rogue? Is he a tragic lonely figure? Is he a stereotypical and clichéd plot mechanism? Take your pick Offensive attitudes aside these jagged and clunky shifts in tone and plot are devastating to the novel’s functioning None of it works We’re in a space ship listening to some asshole berate his prostitute as she cries in his arms and then we’re suddenly in a hard sf novel that describes for three pages the hydrogen dissipation in a supernova Then we’re on an anthropological expedition to learn from the natives and then we’re in something like a Zelazny novel with symbolic dream imagery and temporal dislocation as our Jedi prostitute gets her training Then it's an action plot Anderson clearly has no idea what story he wants to tell and the only thing that holds any of it together are a pair of characters that are completely unsympathetic implausible and unworkable I will continue to the read the Technic Civilization saga because it has given me many hours of pleasure But for those only interested in the peaks of Anderson’s storytelling career I strongly encourage you to skip this one It was very difficult to get through

  3. Brendan Brendan says:

    The plot falls apart about halfway through and Flandry's character takes a weird turn for the worse A lot of the idealism seems to be missing in this book It wasn't nearly as tightly paced as the first and overall just plain not as fun

  4. Pete Pete says:

    A typical pot boiler from Anderson I've been reading the Ensign Flandry books in order of publication rather than internal chronology Each book improved a bit but that is not true for this one The previous book Ensign Flandy was a solid space opera and pretty well constructed This book is a fix up novel with the story White King's War grafted onto an nearly unrelated short novel The first story is actually uite entertaining and I don't understand why Anderson did not elaborate on the idea of a planet dominated by robotic warfare The remainder of this book is a typical encounter between Flandry and the Mersians on a hastily sketched planet including a typical Flandry girl OK but I can't imagine that I will ever reread it

  5. Cameron Cameron says:

    Giving up on this one part boring nature documentary part boring narrative about nothing happening

  6. Sam Sam says:

    A interstellar soldierspyadventurer at a remote outpost of the Terran human empire seeks personal fortune and military advantage over the alien Merseian empire The main character Dominic Flandry embarks on a excursion to scout out a planet for mining resources for a local gangster Along with him in the role of sidekick goes the prostitute Djana This could have turned out to be a terrible book in particular its plot is abysmal and makes almost no sense But unusual aspects improve the book First it is interesting to find out that the Merseians although very similar to humans in many ways are actually culturally superior to the human empire It seems that the human empire is declining and the Merseian rising and for all the right reasons Second Djana turns out to be an interesting character She is ostensibly cast in the dual roles of helpless female and experienced sex object but turns out to have surprising strengths including eventually latent mental powers She unlike most of the other characters seems to be nice person On the other hand the protagonist Dominic turns out to be a amoral greedy and self centeredAlso interesting was the discussion of various alien races the Merseians and others The descriptions of aliens and their cultures tended to drag out too long but certainly they were interesting in their own rightAfter reading the book I learned from Library Thing comments that this is the second of ten books on Dominic Flandry Not sure if I want to read or not Certainly not all at once

  7. Graham Graham says:

    First half was interesting and then a second half almost another book kicked in The chap Flandry who had started off as a whizz kid turned into an utter toad at the end whereas Djana who started as a bit of fluff evolved into a sophisticated diplomat unwilling to act as a tool Only three stars because although the second planet Talwin has an eccentric orbit resulting in the evolution of two different top species the story is James Bond with occasional clever bits A shame because most of the book dealt with a building of a relationship which transpired to be as substantial as balsa wood

  8. Raj Raj says:

    This is a story about two empires in microcosm seen through the eyes of Lieutenant Dominic Flandry as the empire of Man wanes and that of Merseia waxes Flandry is on a routine survey mission with a bit of unofficial work on the side for a local crime boss when he is captured by a Merseian vesselThe book had an odd feel to it None of the characters were hugely sympathetic and the dry tone of the writing didn't help make me warm to any of them I was slightly disappointed by this since I've really enjoyed Anderson's other work

  9. Karen-Leigh Karen-Leigh says:

    Djana uncovers a giftability her wishes come true Lieutenant Flandry rescues her and takes Mersian noble hostage and escapes captivity She wants to remain together he suggest she become a spy she feels as an ex prostitute that he is another user and makes a wish at their parting that he will have every woman he comes across except the one he really wants He does not understand at the time

  10. Rick Rick says:

    This is the second in the Flandry series I wish I liked it The concepts are intriguing the set up decent the characters fairly flat and unlikable Flandry our hero is vain self absorbed chauvinistic This wouldn't be so bad is he had any charisma at all Oh well And having the hero wording out his calculations in his head about as exciting as well calculations

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About the Author: Poul Anderson

Winston P Sanders P A KingsleyPoul William Anderson was an American science fiction author who began his career during one of the Golden Ages of the genre and continued to write and remain popular into the st century Anderson also authored several works of fantasy historical novels and a prodigious number of short stories He received numerous awards for his writing including seven Hugo Awards and three Nebula Awards Anderson received a degree in physics from A Circus PDF/EPUB or the University of Minnesota in He married Karen Kruse in They had one daughter Astrid who is married to science fiction author Greg Bear Anderson was the sixth President of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America taking office in He was a member of the Swordsmen and Sorcerers' Guild of America a loose knit group of Heroic Fantasy authors founded in the s some of whose works were anthologized in Lin Carter's Flashing Swords anthologies He was a founding member of the Society for Creative Anachronism Robert A Heinlein dedicated his novel The Cat Who Walks Through Walls to Anderson and eight of the other members of the Citizens' Advisory Council on National Space Policy Poul Anderson died of cancer on July after a month in the hospital Several of his novels were published posthumously Series.