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Portraits of His Children (English Edition)
 
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Portraits of His Children (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

George R. R. Martin

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Descriptions du produit

From Publishers Weekly

Martin has a loyal following for his ironic voice and his colorful imagination. This new collection, gathering stories from 14 years, puts that inventiveness at the service of a romantic and sentimental vision. In one of the earliest pieces, "With Morning Comes Mistfall," the allure of the mysterious, myth-laden Wraithworld vanishes with scientific scrutiny. The noble "Ice Dragon" gives its life to save the little girl who loves it. In the title story a novelist wallows in self pity for having devoted more time to his fictional creations than to his family. A time travel/revenge-of-the-nerd yarn, "Unsound Variations," somewhat escapes the pattern, but this remains overall a weak collection.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Présentation de l'éditeur

Richard Cantling didn't regret the sacrifices he had made for his work, but he had expected his daughter to forgive and forget. When the painting arrives, it seems a gesture of reconciliation—until he's brought face to face with another of his offspring, one he never planned to meet... Winner of 1986 Nebula Award for Best Novelette.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 195 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 46 pages
  • Utilisation simultanée de l'appareil : Illimité
  • Editeur : ElectricStory.com, Inc. (2 décembre 2013)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00H29VJH0
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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Amazon.com: 4.2 étoiles sur 5  15 commentaires
25 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 KINDLE version: this is not a compilation (but it's still a great story) 13 février 2011
Par B Smith - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle
It's unfortunate that Amazon has not chosen to separate the reviews for Kindle editions from the physical editions, mainly because Kindle editions are sometimes poorly transcribed, with formatting errors and typos (while the physical editions were put through a more thorough and competent editing process).

But in the case of Portraits of His Children, the quality of the text itself is not the issue. The problem here is that the buyer is given the impression that this Kindle edition will contain the same 11 short stories found in the paperback edition of the same name. This impression is due to Amazon's practice of lumping all the reviews together, Kindle and otherwise.

However, despite Amazon's claim that you're getting the same 11-story compilation in Kindle form, you're not. This is just the one short story, "Portraits of His Children." If you want the entire compilation, you'll need to buy the paperback edition.

(If you want "Portraits of His Children" in a Kindle compilation, it's included in Dreamsongs: Volume II, which contains a total of 12 George R.R. Martin stories.)

As for the story itself: another reviewer here called it "not his best" and "average work," and I can't dispute that because it's the first of Martin's stories I've read. If "Portraits of His Children" is not Martin's best, then I can't wait to read his best. The story started out rather pedestrian in my opinion, but despite that, Martin's style of communication hooked me right away:

"'You liked me well enough when I was in your damn book, when you could control everything I did and said, right? Don't like it so well now that I'm real, though. That's your problem. You never did like real life half as well as you liked books.'"

"He wanted to tell a story about small people being ground down inexorably by time and age, about the inevitability of loneliness and defeat. He produced a novel as gray and brittle as newsprint. He was very proud of it."

Given Martin's unique style, the plot of this story wouldn't have mattered to me one bit. He could have written about a solitary old man who collects bottle caps, and I would have read it to the end.

But as the story unfolded, a very imaginative plot emerged. I don't want to give too much away, but the story has a Twilight Zone feel to it, and it involves a lonely author who loves the characters in his novels more than his own family - and who only realizes it when those characters visit him, and explain it to him.

I found the "portrait" theme itself interesting, once I'd finished reading the story. We learn at the beginning that the protagonist's real-life daughter has damaged her own self-portrait, and that revelation comes on the heels of the delivery of another portrait (this one of a character from one of the protagonist's own novels). Bits and pieces of the story are revealed, many in flashback form, until the story itself is like a completed portrait - and the reader is eventually allowed to see "the big picture."

SEMI-SPOILER ALERT: Regarding the subject of incest, which has been brought up in a couple of these Amazon reviews: there is no incest, implied or otherwise, in this story. There is a scene where the protagonist has sex with a female character from one of his novels, and she does call him Daddy, but that's because all the characters from his novels are his "children." This particular character is a tease, and she's calling the protagonist Daddy precisely because he objects to it.

The only other place where anyone could possibly think this story contains incest is in a flashback scene, where the protagonist sleeps (and only sleeps) with his grown daughter. She's a woman who has been severely injured, physically and psychologically, and the reader would have to be pretty jaded to think "I want to show you where it hurts" is referring to anything that would result in an incestuous encounter.

To recap: the Kindle edition is not the paperback compilation, and contains just the one story; the story deserves 5 stars for style and imagination; and the "implications of incest" mentioned by another reviewer are nonexistent.
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellent Stories 22 octobre 2000
Par "ditship" - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Mr. Martin is easily becoming one of my favorite authors. I will admit that I had not read any of his works until the `Song of Fire and Ice' series was created. I figure you have to begin somewhere though. While reading this book, I found that he not only can sweep you off to other worlds with ease, but also make you teary eyed when reviewing just what his characters are going through and the strength and/or weakness that they reveal. It's a shame that this book isn't more popular. It truly is great. From a group of men playing with all their heart in the last super bowl (only to be replaced with a computer with no emotion to emulate them), to a group of old `friends' finally confronted with their failures and being told why exactly they came to be, you'll be surprised by just how much you'll be pulled into their lives. There are eleven stories all together, and I'd recommend each and every one of them. All run the gamut of emotions. All represent a different facet of our lives.
On a further note, I don't have a clue what the `Incest' guy was talking about. The story that is the namesake of the book has a scene where a father and daughter are laying together in bed consoling each other, I assume that he might have interpreted what happened incorrectly (or then again, perhaps I did).
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Wonderful!! 20 mars 2003
Par P. Robinson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
The story "Unsound Variations" was just amazing! a single move in a chess tounament that one of the weaker players made ruins the lives of the rest of the team in ways both disturbing and unimaginable...
The "Ice Dragon" won an award and after reading it and wiping your tears away you will know why... its simply amazing how one man has so many stories that, in just a few pages can cut through a persons layers of bitterness and expose emotions that one may have believed to have been long since dead.
("With Morning comes Mistfall" and "Lonely Songs of Loren Dorr" fit into this category...Not to mention the Title story about a Daughters mystical Paintings...)
For you anarchists out there you will find the story "closing Time" has a pleasent way of dealing with the whole mess out there....
A total of 11 wonderous and magical stories affiriming that GRR Martin was the Master even before the Song of Ice and Fire was Created.
Buy this book! It will be [$$$], but its worth it if you want to laugh and cry again.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 If you have incest on the brain -- don't read this! 9 novembre 1999
Par Rita M Cerniglia - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
This is a group of richly crafted short stories that draw the reader into a brief interlude with a variety of emotions: Hatred, jealousy, indifference, deceit, love, agony, despair... Each story is different. One deals with the very last Super Bowl. Another a fatal chess move and how it effects a team of chess players the entire lives. Still one is about wishes granted for a price, that never seem to turn out as the buyer intended. One of my personal favorites is about a game of the mind with sometimes deadly -- but always irrevocable consequences. Each pearl of a story is both unique in form and color. No constant incest theme. No Fall of the House of Usher here (My deepest regards to Poe). Just a perfectly marvelous read!
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Varied and fascinating, but often dark and grim, story anthology 17 avril 2013
Par Kenya Starflight - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
NOTE: This review is for the paperback anthology collection, not the Kindle version of the stand-alone "Portraits of His Children" story.

A few years back, a co-worker of mine came to work raving about a movie she had seen the previous night ("The Dark Knight" for the curious). Her reaction was, and I quote, "It was fantastic! It was amazing! I'll never watch it again."

At the time I could only laugh... but after having read George R. R. Martin's "Portraits of His Children," I find myself echoing her review, only applying it to this book instead of that movie. Martin is an amazing writer, and the worlds and characters he has woven in this short-story collection fascinate and captivate. His imagination is unique and varied, and he proves adept at constructing tales of hard science-fiction, fantasy, and even contemporary fantasy and science fiction with equal skill. But all that said... I doubt I'll be reading this collection again, as though Martin's a master of his craft, his stories are often tragic, depressing, or just plain morbid.

"Portraits of His Children" collects eleven of Martin's short stories, both fantasy and science fiction. Said stories are as follows:

"With Morning Comes Mistfall" -- A scientist comes to a mist-shrouded world intending to prove that the mysterious "wraiths" the planet is famous for don't exist. But a crusty innkeeper tries to dissuade him, claiming that this world -- and mankind -- need mystery and myth, and that some mysteries are better left unraveled.

"The Second Kind of Loneliness" -- The sole worker at a remote warp gate must battle his loneliness -- and his encroaching mental demons -- while he waits for his replacement... and eventually his madness gets the better of him.

"The Last Super Bowl" -- Exactly what the title says, it's the story of the final Super Bowl in a world where the outcome of sporting events is decided totally by computer, and depicts the future death of an era.

"The Lonely Songs of Laren Dorr" -- A sorceress travels from world to world, seeking her beloved and fighting the keepers of the gates that allow her to travel between worlds. But on one world she is waylaid by a different foe entirely, one who ensnares her not with battle, but with song...

"The Ice Dragon" -- An eerie little girl's best friend is a dragon of living ice. Her family finds her strange, and her father in particular resents her for causing her mother's death. But when her family's farm comes under attack, it may be up to one brave little girl and her dragon to save the day.

"In the Lost Lands" -- A cold-hearted monarch sends her champion to a mysterious sorceress to learn the ways of shapeshifting. But she will learn the hard way to be careful what you wish for...

"Unsound Variations" -- A millionaire invites three of his former chess club buddies to his mansion, where he reveals that he has taken his revenge for a humiliating defeat years ago... and challenges them to a chess game if they wish to set things right.

"Closing Time" -- A bartender serves as a bewildered spectator as his patrons bicker over an amulet said to change its wearer into an animal. Said amulet does work... but with an unexpected twist...

"Under Siege" -- In a post-apocalyptic future, a secret organization seeks to avert a devastating war through the use of telepathic mutants with the ability to enter the minds of people in the past. But one mutant in particular grows disenchanted with his chore and seeks to sabotage it...

"The Glass Flower" -- A strange and eerie sci-fi tale about a body-hopping woman who holds court in an obsidian castle, using an alien artifact to trade out bodies she is bored with for new ones... and allowing those willing to pay the price the same chance. She may have met her match when a cyborg comes to her palace to play her game...

"Portraits of His Children" -- After a nasty falling-out with his adult daughter, a successful novelist begins to receive portraits of the characters from his novels... a flattering gift until said characters begin paying him nighttime visits, and are upset with his treatment of them.

Martin doesn't use a lot of flowery prose, but he doesn't need to -- he is effective at painting a captivating world with few words, and doesn't fall back on awkward metaphors or similes like many authors are prone to doing. Each of the worlds he creates in these stories sucks the reader in, and many of them would be suited to further exploration in a full-length novel. His characters are flawed but fascinating, with imperfect heroes and sympathetic antagonists. And every one of his plots is unique, rarely falling back on clichés to make work.

If I have a problem with Martin's writing, it's that all too often it's bleak and unforgiving. His stories rarely end happily, his characters often go through hell with precious little or no reward, and he seems to have a grim view of humanity. Even the comedic story in this anthology, "Closing Time," ends on a rather dark note, and though one story does end relatively happily ("Unsound Variations"), it's still rather bleak throughout. I don't mind characters being put through their paces in a story, going through conflict and even terrible catastrophe or loss, but at least a little ray of light would be appreciated. Because when the stories are simply one crapsack world after another, it eventually leaves the reader feeling indifferent instead of caring.

Martin is a master storyteller, and as I haven't read his "Song of Ice and Fire" series yet this was a nice introduction to his writing and imagination. But all that said, I'm not sure I'm ever going to read this book again or pick up another of his works. I suppose I can only take so many bad endings and grim tales in a single sitting.
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