The Masters of Solitude by Marvin Kaye and Parke Godwin is a classic science fiction with a bit of fantasy that isn’t very well known; it explores a post-apocalyptic world of magic users and a city of technology that has turned its back on them
There are books everyone knows about, and there are books no one has heard about. The Masters of Solitude is definitely in the latter category, but it really doesn’t deserve that category! It’s a hybrid of sci-fi and fantasy and set in the. The story follows some of the people from these tribe structures, who have religious beliefs that seem to be rooted in the pre-Christian religions, and I have to say it was interesting the way the authors portrayed them running into the Judeo-Christian rooted religion for the first time. I read it a while ago and the thing that stands out the most is that it was an amazing read, so the details might be scarce, but you really should read it if the setting doesn’t bother you.
Title: The Masters of Solitude
Authors: Marvin Kaye and Parke Godwin
Length: 397 pages (hardcover)
Genre-ish: Classic Sci-Fi with a bit of magic
Rating: ★★★★☆ – if you’re tempted to try some classic sci-fi, read this!
Setting: Set in a post-apocalyptic far future where the cities have force field type stuff around them and are generally completely removed from the tribal people living outside of them, who have several interesting psychic abilities.
Premise: As I said above, the story follows several of the tribal people as they are forced to explore further around them and run into plague lands and an isolated group with beliefs obviously based on the Judeo-Christian belief system of today.
- Very skilled writing and plot work
- Makes you think, because they don’t tell you more than what is relevant to the characters
- Interesting philosophical thoughts on rural vs city and pagan vs Judeo-Christian and good practice at understanding a completely alien perspective
- Interesting and complex world and magic system (in the form of some psychic abilities)
- Not an easy read, you really do need to be able to concentrate and get entranced to catch on to what the characters already know
- A bit alien at times (purposeful of the authors I’m sure) making it hard to identify with the characters
- Not that happy of an ending (mostly because there isn’t really an ending, there is a second book apparently)
Summary: I went through a fair number of online reviews to remind myself of the plot and one of the most common things I read was that people couldn’t really remember all that happened in the book but they remember that they really liked it, and that is exactly my feeling as well (though I did read it at least three years ago now). If you like books that make you think and make your brain feel bigger when you read them, then this is an excellent book to read. It’s not that long, but the authors do an amazing job of putting the reader in a very alien perspective.
Similar Stories Reviewed:
Job: A Comedy of Justice – Another post-apocalyptic with religious tones
Dune by Frank Herbert – Very classic and well known science fiction
Oh yes. This was not an easy book, and one I can’t say that I “liked” – but it did make me think.
The second book is called Wintermind and examines the price paid for the closeness and unity of community achieved through “the lep.” It also gives us glimpses of what befalls those coveners whose lep is weak or mostly absent.
Awesome, thank you for posting about it!