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Otherland by Tad Williams

(5 ratings)

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Submitted by Anne 
(Feb 28, 2005)

From the time I first picked up the first book 'til the end of the fourth, my "real" life was practically suspended. These books were so thoroughly engrossing that reality didn't seem real. This story would be great if put to film -and Lord of the Rings' success shows that an audience will accept the abruptly ending style. But, what a shame if it were not done as well. I almost want to keep that world the way I lived it in my head. The memories are so vivid it's almost like I was really there.

Submitted by Scott 
(Oct 19, 2003)

Here is your master! Tad Williams is hands down the best sci-fi writer on this planet or any other. I tend not to like sci-fi literature, but this is first class brilliance all the way. Having read books 1-3, I am forcibly holding off on the 4th and final book because I know when it is all over, something will be missing from my life. This is as good as it gets. Some areas (particularly the first half of book 3)are a little on the dull side, but he never truly loses sight of the main goal (something Jordan could learn from). I am an aspiring writer myself, but reading this just flat out intimidates me, knowing that I could NEVER even dream of putting something together that is so complex, so thorough, and so HUGE, not just in length, but in terms of just how many different cultures and nations this man includes in his story. The main characters come from all over the world, not just the USA, and the portrayal of those nations in the not-so-distant future is just mind-blowing. Once I finish this series, I am going to eat up his previous fantasy books, and then his newest novel. Williams is the king.

Submitted by Anonymous 
(Jun 26, 2002)

I can't emphasise enough how incredible this writer is. He is certainly head an shoulders above most of the genre. He's Head, shoulders knees and toes above the rest!

I love the way that he parodies so many different worlds, and takes the simplest of ideas all into concept. Its the things like language, for instance: all the teenagers talk using weird words you've never heard before, but it's so clear what they mean! just like youths do these days.

The ideas are awe-inspring. i don't know how he does it. And to keep writing those HUGE massive books, right up until the fantastic conclusion...absolutely awesome stuff. A MUST READ series

Submitted by nite47@hotmail.com 
(Feb 17, 2002)

I have read two of the otherland novels(City of Golden Shadow, and River of Blue Fire) and I an throughly impressed, normaly I am a fantasy reader but I make an exception for William's otherland collection. What I enjoy the most is the possility of this kind of technology in the future, and the individual personas of the characters.

Submitted by Abby 
(Oct 25, 2001)

The OTHERLAND saga, by Tad Williams, is an involving linear series which is actually one single book divided into four due to physical publication needs. The genre is science fiction which takes place on our own world, not far in our own future. The series itself is amazingly realistic and detailed in scope. You won't find any of your stereotypical heroes or bad guys- but you grow to like the characters anyway because they are, quite simply, REAL people. Williams has the gift of giving characters life in the friendly way that many authors in this genre lack. In addition, "Otherland" doesn't feature a single element of unbelievability. Oh, there are plenty of monsters, supernatural beings, and god-like evil universal controllers... but they all exist within a virtual universe which was created by humans... some of them from our own generations. The "Otherland" saga actually contains two universes. One is a frightening yet extremely insightful- and possibly prophetic- vision of the future of humanity. The other is a virtual world of computer code (not "The Matrix," but it's a similar concept) which is even more terrifying, absurd, and dangerous than that future reality. This is the sort of saga that you get immersed in. Williams makes references to J.R.R. Tolkien, and like that trend-setting author, Williams revels in detail, complexity, and lingering realism. I cannot recommend this book to anyone who put aside the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy based on its descriptive length, or Stephen King's longer works for the same reasons. For anyone who craves all that escapist detail- as I do- then this series is a must-read. You won't be disappointed! This review is specifically focused on Volume 4, the last of the series. If you've read the first one, two, or three and then put them aside with the idea that Williams can't possibly conclude his epic story in a satisfactory manner, then let me reiterate: You won't be disappointed. He manages to do it in such a way that you are left wide-eyed and trembling in awe (okay, maybe that's an exaggeration, but not by much). Not only do all of those million of little subplots and mysteries get solved; they are solved in some astonishing, unpredictable- yet completely logical- ways. Prepare to be soundly impressed! This one is high on my list of books I would like to see made into high-budget Hollywood flicks. To those who have not read "Otherland" yet: This series is a refreshingly well-written blend of fantasy and realistic scifi. Cheers to an author who puts female characters on equal footing with the males. The main characters include every racial group, sexual orientation, and major religion. Williams did this bravely, at the risk of losing biased readers, or being critized, perhaps, as "too politically correct." Five stars!

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