[Keith Roberts] ï Pavane [libya PDF] Read Online ↠´ I first read this about twenty years ago I enjoyed it even at this second reading It is an alternative history that really does build a convincing world A great story full of adventures and conflict.
Review of PavaneBeautifully Written Fantasy Stories which Left Me a Bit Cold It seems like today s steampunk movement including writers like China Mieville owes a lot to Keith Roberts I was surprised to find out that many steampunkers actually know about Pavane , since Roberts, a British writer who died in 2000, was hardly a household word Roberts book, Pavane , published in 1968, is a group of loosely connected sf fantasy stories novellas that take place in Britain mostly around 1968 although one occurs about twenty years later The setting is an alternate historical timeline The Pope and the Catholic Church hold sway over all of Europe including Britain This includes all the atrocities of the Inquisition The feudal system is still in place There are bans on electricity, petroleum products, and other technical innovation and there are no railroads There are trains, however, they are pulled by steam engines and run on the roads There is a mechanical semaphore system in place to send messages It s run by highly trained members of a specialized guild Motor cars do exist presumably steam run but few can afford them Many Britons are squirming under the harsh rule of the Catholic Church Many languages other than English are spoken in Britain, including Norman, Gaelic, Celtic, etc The Old Ones presumably fairies or elves make frequent although secretive appearances to humans The Church, of course hates the Old Ones, along with any so called heretics, witches, blasphemers rebels, etc The rural areas of the country are quite deserted, populated with wild animals such as catamounts Horses are still the major means of transportation for most There are boats, but they are old fashioned sailboats or rowboats.
The Pavane was a stately old dance Accordingly, the book is divided into six measures stories and a coda a finally story which takes place in the late 1980 s The stories are uneven, some being much better than others.
The first measure , The Lady Margaret is one of my favorites Jesse Strange, a lonely haulier a guy who hauls goods on one of the steam trains mentioned above , courts a woman and runs into an old college buddy These events occur shortly after the death of Jesse s father, Eli This one has a surprise ending that s quite unexpected The title is the name of Jesse s steam engine and also the name of the woman he lovesThe second measure is called The Signaller I liked this one a lot also A young working class boy has always wanted to be a semaphore operator He gets his wish, and goes to the guild s two year college to train After an easy year in a wealthy household, he is assigned to a remote posting.
In The White Boat , the third measure, an unhappy teenage girl from a fisherman s family is obsessed with a mysterious white sailing ship that appears and disappears at intervals In the fourth measure, Brother John , a monk by that name who is an artist, witnesses the tortures of the Inquisition As a result, he becomes disgusted with the ruling Catholic Church view spoiler and leads a rebellion against it hide spoiler In The Year , Queen Elizabeth Was Assassinated That Single Tragedy Set Off A Whole Series Of Events, Resulting In The Spanish Armada S Defeat Of England And Subsequent Demise Of Protestantism Now It S The Th Century, And The Church Of Rome Reigns Supreme People Live A Pastoral Existence Of Guilds And Farming, With Technology Held Back To The Level Of The Steam Locomotive And Primitive Radio Still, Science Cannot Be Held Back Forevera Revolution Is Building Pavane Six glimpses of an alternate England dominated by the ChurchPavane 1968 , by Keith Roberts, is a book I ve long wanted to read, a collection of loosely linked stories set in an alternate England where Queen Elizabeth was assassinated and Philip II won the throne of England Because of this, the Protestant Reformation never happened and Europe fell under the control of the Roman Catholic Church The stories begin in 1968 when the book was published , but this England does not resemble our world much because the Church is opposed to most forms of technology, so English society still resembles medieval times, with castles, small villages, monasteries, steam powered engines that do not run on tracks, and semaphores telegraphs are the only form of long distance communications Everywhere the power of the Pope extends, and the Inquisition is still active in crushing dissent and heresy It is a dark and superstitious world, and Roberts takes an unusual decision by dropping in unexpected glimpses of fairies, the Old Ones , that flit through the stories but are always keeping out of reach.
The book is structured after the Pavane, a classical Spanish dance with six measures and a coda The stories are self contained, but some characters appear in latter stories as older or because their children are featured I listened to the audiobook narrated by Steven Crossley, and he adroitly captures the classical English imagery of Roberts carefully crafted world There s no question we are in England, but one that has been held back in feudal conditions, with little intellectual or political freedom.
While I enjoyed the first two stories, The Lady Margaret and The Signaller , I found the following stories harder to identify as the characters and events did not grab my attention Roberts writing is exquisite, and the rhythms of his language are enchanting, but for some reason I found it difficult to get caught up in the narrative This is probably due to the fact that this is not a proper novel, but a series of stories, so they fail to build up narrative momentum as they progress Instead, we are given brief glimpses of this fascinating alternate world that left me wanting In addition, the coda tries to frame the stories with a broader historical perspective, revealing how the world has since then changed dramatically due to the events of the last stories, but doing this in a dozen pages rather than with a proper story is somewhat abrupt.
Pavane was selected in David Pringle s Science Fiction The 100 Best Novels and Anthony Burgess Ninety Nine Novels The Best in English since 1939, and it is frequently mentioned with other well regarded alternate history novels such L Sprague de Camp s Lest Darkness Fall 1941 , Ward Moore s Bring the Jubilee 1953 , and Philip K Dick s The Man in the High Castle 1962 However, the book and the author remains fairly obscure in the genre, and I wonder if this can be attributed to these reasons 1 It is set in England, and the descriptive details are probably resonant for English readers than American readers 2 It is not a full novel, but rather a series of loosely connected stories 3 It focuses on setting and imagery than characters, and is somewhat dark and ambiguous in tone Nonetheless, I think such skillful writing and meticulous world building are deserving of a bigger readership.
An absolutely stunning book that I read straight through without putting down Oh well, so the laundry gets done tomorrow This one I VERY highly recommend, and I know I ll read it again If you like alternative alternate history, this is a must read The writing is superb.
brief peek A Pavane is a dance something stately and pointless, with all its steps set out With a beginning and an end 247 It was a courtly dance, moving very slow, where the dancers threaded in and out The notion of a Pavane serves as a symbol for the passing of time history the structure of the book also reflects a slow, graceful movement toward the end.
Set in Britain, the story opens in 1968 The premise of Britain s history is that someone assassinated Queen Elizabeth, the Catholics in England turned against their countrymen in a civil war Word spread Philip II sent another armada force to take England and put himself on the throne England became a Catholic country, under the strong rule of the Pope The situation is the same in 1968 technological development is pretty much non existent except for steam power, and it is heresy to develop any further technologies The feudal system is alive and well, as is the workings of the Inquisition The working classes are not allowed to travel much this is a privilege for the wealthier.
The first story is The Lady Margaret, in which the reader meets the Strange family They are hauliers of goods, building a great deal of wealth Next up The Signaller, focuses on one member of the Signallers Guild, Rafe Bigland Rafe s story is featured to showcase the importance of the guild and to show its growth as an entity that often works outside of the papal purview In the third story, is something very different Brother John , about a monk who is called upon to draw what he sees while attending a session of the inner workings of the Inquisition, and rebels, going on to preach a different heretical, of course kind of thinking and earning the enmity of the Church Next, the Strange Family again, now another generation, in which the family marries into the Lord of Purbeck s family through the daughter This sets the stage for what will come later Fifth, what might be my favorite story of the entire book, The White Boat, is an incredibly haunting look at what freedom means to a young girl in a situation where she has none, and because of her situation in life, will never know It also reveals that the land is not so technologically void after all, but that s all I will say about that one Sixth, back to the Strange family, who are by now well ensconced in their own desmene as Purbecks The Lady Eleanor sets in motion a great change a revolution that leads ultimately to the last chapter of this book, The Coda Do NOT miss this partit is a bit of a twist ending.
This book is so well written that I could not stop reading it, and after you ve read it through once, things sort of begin to come together for you This book would make an INCREDIBLE movie if someone did it right and didn t screw it up It is an absolutely wonderful book and should not be missed.
read January 2006 Queen Elizabeth is assassinated, the Spanish armada invades England, and Catholics rule Europe, keeping sciences at a relative standstill Set in a 20th century England of this time line ruled by superstition, wild animals, bandits, smugglers, and inquisitions Technology is frozen at steam trains, telegraphs semaphore being the main communication device , a mix of medieval and 18th century weaponry, some cars, and simple radios Rather than dwell on the what if of this scenario Roberts divides this book into six stories that explores the desires, loneliness, petty lives, pointless deaths, incoherent rage, and revolutions of his characters You could dwell for weeks in the nooks and crannies of this book it s a whole breathing world in there Comparable to Dick s Man in High Castle but successful in only that PKD s pulpy prose never fully articulates his ideas and themes.
Some random highlights from this rather fine parallel world novel Semaphore stations can operate in full duplex mode, carrying messages simultaneously in both directions When issuing an ultimatum, it s unwise to stand directly in front of a loaded cannon Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.
This is Keith Roberts s second and best known book, an elegantly written and captivating fix up novel set in an alternate England mostly in Dorset The chapters are organized as six measures of a dance The premise is that the assassination of Queen Elizabeth incited a civil war between Catholics and Protestants in England, and Philip II sent another armada force to take England and put himself on the throne England fell under the rule of the Catholic Church, and the feudal system and the Inquisition survived into the twentieth century Technological development stagnated after reaching the level of the steam locomotive and the primitive radio, but when the story opens in 1968, a revolution is building This probably sounds like a dystopian tale, but it s ambiguous than that I can t really elaborate without revealing too much, though To some the years that passed were years of fulfillment, of the final flowering of God s Design to others they were a new Dark Age, haunted by things dead and others best forgotten bears and catamounts, dire wolves and Fairies The rage of nations was like the anger of the sea, not to be contained with straws It s like a dance somehow, a minuet or a Pavane Something stately and pointless, with all its steps set out With a beginning, and an end she tucked her legs under her, as she sat beside the fire Sir John, she said, sometimes I think life s all a mass of significance, all sorts of strands and threads woven like a tapestry or a brocade So if you pulled one out and broke it, the pattern would alter right back through the cloth Then I think it s all totally pointless, it would make just as much sense backwards as forwards view spoiler He saw clearly, rising about him on the hills, the buildings of that new time, the factories and hospitals, power stations and laboratories He saw the machines flying above the land, skimming like bubbles on the surface of the sea He saw wonders lightning chained, the wild waves of the very air made to talk and sing The Church knew there was no halting Progress but slowing it, slowing it even by half a century, giving man time to reach a little higher toward true Reason that was the gift she gave this world And it was priceless hide spoiler
Parvane is alt history as it should be done Convincing, engrossing, and as exactingly built as the finest steam engine.
I was recommended this book after reading Martin Amis The Alteration, a very solid alt history novel set in a modern Britain still under Catholic rule, in a world where Martin Luther became Pope instead of setting off the Protestant revolution Pavane is built around a similar setting via the murder of Elizabeth The First Catholicism defeated the Protestant revolution and in the Twentieth Century the Vatican is still the undisputed spiritual head of Europe and the New World Both novels are great reads, but to my reader s eye Pavane is the better and fully rounded work Keith Roberts novel goes in quite a different direction than The Alteration While the the Alteration s strength is its sly humor, Pavane s is its incredibly convincing setting, demonstrated across several different narratives that show us life under the heavy hand of the Catholic Church.
Roberts goes in for exhaustive detail at times, but done in a way that engrosses rather than bores, painting a detailed and fascinating picture of a world stymied by religion and its attendant power structures, a Britain where a popish Petroleum Veto has gimped the adoption of combustion engines, where steam power is still used widely and electricity distrusted The great mass of people exist at the bottom of a highly stratified society based on class, trade and guild membership the societal structure of the Middle Ages lives on mostly unchanged.
We see life through the eyes of a steam train driver, from the perspective of a boy who joins the semaphore guild electronic communications being banned or unknown , as brother in a religious craftsman order called to work for the inquisition, from the perspective of a wealthy commoner being pursued by a nobleman and from the vantage point of a noblewoman As the narratives progress we see subtle shifts that occur in society that are slowly building towards a shift in the centuries old power structure The stories that Roberts tells are masterful, and totally sucked me in I was travelling through a new country by train, and I barely looked up from this book the whole trip, my entire attention focused on where he would take me next with his masterclass level worldbuilding and his engaging plot.
The only let down in this very, very good novel is the coda at the end of the book, which wraps everything up a little too neatly and somewhat excuses the centuries long bloody tyranny of the church To me this felt forced, as though Roberts decided he had beaten too hard on Roman Catholicism and needed to back off a little, a backdown that lessens the impact of his excellent novel somewhat Thanks to 4triplezed and Janice for their recommendation of this book.
Pavane is an alternate history story One of those What If novels that speculate what the world would be like if past events took a decidedly different turn The novel is set in England during the late 20th Century and a brief prologue sets up the premise in 1588, Queen Elizabeth is assassinated the Spanish Armada defeats the British, and the course of history for Europe and the New World changes The Protestant religion is crushed and the Catholic Church of the Spanish Inquisition becomes the dominant religion for most of the world.
Roberts does a good job in creating his fun house mirror vision of the 20th Century It s a technologically backwards, pastoral world where the Industrial Revolution never happened and the Church rules all aspects of society By far, the biggest impact of the Church is it s suppression of scientific advance Robert s England of the 20th Century is technologically comparable to the 1800 s It s a world of steam engines and feudalism, where heresy is punishable by death and the Inquisition still breaks bodies in order to save souls The church held the land by the throat, choking their breath in the grip of her brocade fist It s a pessimistic view of religion and someone who is Catholic might take exception to his depiction of their faith becoming Talibanesque in it s oppression.
The book is a fix up meaning it is a collection of loosely connected short stories that were originally published separately While some of the stories are stronger than others, the overall quality of the collection is high and Roberts is a sensitive, lyrical writer who excels at descriptive passages There isn t a central character to the stories, but many of them feature members of the same family A Pavane is a slow processional dance from the 16th Century and it serves as a central metaphor to the novel There is a strong sense that each of the characters in the novel is playing a part in history as the story unfolds It s like a dance somehow, a minuet or a Pavane Something stately and pointless, with all the steps set out With a beginning, and an end The book isn t without flaws A fantasy element crops up from time to time that I could have done without and while the tone of the stories is largely melancholy, an uplifting Coda is tacked on to the end novel that feels out of place Still, the book is a good example of the genre and Roberts is a fine writer.