The Majipoor Cycle begins as young Valentine, a man with no memory, is hired as an apprentice juggler by a group of eccentric performers. While the traveling troupe takes to the road, Valentine's sleep is disturbed by nightmare visions of warring brothers and difficulties on faraway Castle Mount. In a quest to discover who Valentine really is, his wise and peculiar companions resolve to help him claim the rewards of his birth. But another trial awaits Valentine that will test his belief, resolve, and strength of character.
©1980 Robert Silverberg; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
I have just re read this book after a gap of over 30 years. just as enthralling the second time around.a fantastic and wonderful future fantasy.
fun fantasy perambulation
I first read Lord Valentine's Castle 30 years ago and really loved it. I found that listening again to the story 3 decades later that my memory of it was as fresh as the day I first read it.
I think it is the mood of the story that sets this book apart. This is no epic fantasy with pitched battles against terrible odds for the very survival of a people. Though the stakes are just as high, here a vagabond troupe of jugglers have the fate of a world of billions in their hands as they perambulate across the planet of Majipoor, muddling through challenges as best they can.
Though there is a great set of quirky characters, both human and alien, in many ways the most interesting character traits are reflections of the highly diverse culture which has managed to maintain general harmony over thousands of years and the seemingly weak forces which make it all work. If you can suspend disbelief that it's possible you're left with the general feeling that this world would be a really nice place to visit or live. And the world of Majipoor is in itself epic in scale, a huge, low density, metal poor planet with vast continents filled with fascinating folk, flora and fauna around every bend in the road.
There is plenty of conflict to keep the story moving along at a typical gentle Majipoorean pace and slowly build to a climax at the end which resolved all the main threads of the novel satisfactorily. In many ways the sub plot of the story of Edeard in Makkathran in Peter F. Hamilton's The Dreaming Void was very reminiscent of Majipoor's low tech science fictional universe with a strong fantasy feel to it.
Probably not for aficionados of Grimdark but if you'd like a fun exploration of a future fantasy world which has a very positive feel and where success is linked more to your ability to inspire others to do the right thing than to the size of the army you can raise then this is the book for you.
It is interesting that while Majipoor has a strong and diverse multi-cultural society there is still a legacy of an aboriginal population which have been very poorly treated, and the very accepting and tolerant but not quite equal treatment of non humans (can you really call people who have lived somewhere for millennia alien?). And there is a sense that Majipoor is a slumbering backwater in an unfashionable part of the galaxy which helps dispel a sense that it is all too perfect to be true.
Well worth a read!
Fantastic narration as I've come to expect from Stefan who really brings the characters to life and who conveys the warmth of the narrative really well.
I read this book shortly after it's first publication so it's a great pleasure hearing it in audio form. I only need to comment on it's superb, expert narration. Flawless.
"a perfect listen"
this is one of my all-time favourite fantasy books so i was delighted to see it on audible. as expected, i thoroughly enjoyed it, a magical listen and very well narrated. please can we have the other Majipoor books soon!
A penetrating and original re-visitation of the classsic hero's quest. A dreamlike and magical journey through Majipor, world like no other. The narrators deep chocolate tone is perfect and only serves to broaden the listeners pleasure.
This is not Fantasy, nor Sci-Fi, rather a genre all of its own, perhaps Jungian is the world. The only comparison I dare to consider is the work of the British writer Christopher Priest.
Great story, compulsive narrative - highly recommended.
I read this book long ago and I remembered liking it a lot so I decided to get the Audible version to help me get through my daily commute. Rudniki did a great job reading this book and I found it quite enjoyable.
I have read Lord Valentine's Castle in its print form at least seven or eight times, and it is one of my all-time favourite novels, even though I am a hard core sf fan rather than a fantasy fan. Now that my eyesight is deteriorating, I rely heavily on audio books, and the three audio Majipoor books currently available have added a a new dimension to this wonderful series. Superbly done, beautifully read by Stefan Rudnicki, who brings life to the alien voices. Strongly recommended for new Silverberg fans as well as long-time fans.
"A dreamy stroll down memory lane."
Valentine of the title, is a deposed ruler, and one of the four balancing powers who govern the massive planet of Majipoor. But when we meet Valentine, his memories have been stolen, and freed of them, he wanders the world in a kind of happy daze -- a man without a care in the world. A kind and innocent man, he is invited to join a traveling juggling troupe. Un-tethered from his true self, he sees it only as a great adventure.
As memories of his true self return, Valentine faces a deep ambivalence about returning to a life of responsibility, and questions whether or not he would rather be a wandering juggler instead. The book is infused with Valentine's gentle kindness and willingness to go along for the ride, and is a meditation on how our lives might change if we should find ourselves suddenly freed from all responsibility.
The world of Majipoor is among the most beautiful and creative landscapes of any world I've ever read in the Fantasy or Sci Fi genres. Many alien species are introduced, and they are casually described in a matter-of-fact way that provides a quick sketch of their otherness, and then lets them be absorbed into the story, just like any other citizen of the world. Rather than emphasizing their differences, Silverberg allows them to be more real and sympathetic even as they quickly become only one of several who band together for a common purpose.
I read this book for the first time back in the early 80s, and it still moves me with it's lovely dreamlike tone. Since it is a tale in which dreams are a pivotal plot point, it's easy to see why it's still considered a masterpiece. But note that this is a Fantasy quest story, (probably the first I ever read) -- so, if you're looking for Sci Fi, keep looking -- this isn't it.
But if great Fantasy is your thing, too, you may enjoy traveling along with the juggling troupe, over the many varied continents of Majipoor, with it's fantastic cities, plants and animals, and an endless variety of alien citizens.
Everything about this story is satisfying.
Stefan Rudnicki is fantastic! His voice has so much color in this performance, and with so many characters to manage, he does an amazing job bringing Majipoor and all it's denizens to life.
Highly Recommended to Fantasy lovers. This is a classic masterpiece and shouldn't be missed.
"Rudnicki's Masterful Reading of Silverberg Classic"
Stefan Rudnicki here gives an intelligent and evocative reading of one of my favorite novels. Rudnicki does voices for the various characters and brings Silverberg's richly imagined world to life. This novel is an adventure story and a voyage of discovery at the same time. The explorations are not only of Majipoor and its many life forms, intelligent and less so, but gentle philosophical explorations of what it might mean to be a good leader, as well as a good human being. In other words, Robert Silverberg has created a world that you can get lost in, but what happens in this book can still be seen as relevant to our world. The language is somehow elegant, spicy, and vivid all at the same time, and Rudnicki's woody voice gives it texture, density and feeling. This is my favorite audio novel so far.
Absolutely! I have loved this story ever since I got my first hardback copy from the Science Fiction Book Club when I was a kid. Mr. Rudnicki really brings everything to life!
Valentine, of course.
The Hjort in Valentine's troop. Mr. Rudnicki did a great job giving him a gurgling voice you'd expect from a frog-like race.
All I can say is listen to this book! You'll love it!
Lord Valentine???s Castle (1980) is considered a classic SFF novel and, therefore, it???s one I???ve been planning to read (and expecting to love) for years. Indeed, there is much to love about Robert Silverberg???s world of Majipoor ??? it???s a huge hinterlands planet full of jungles, volcanoes, archipelagoes, deserts, long rivers, and sprawling cities populated by alien races and Old Earth humans. Majipoor contains no fossil fuels and few metals and, while there are still some genetically engineered animals and plants, most of Earth???s technology has been lost (though some is still being used by the rulers). Thus, Majipoor reminds me of what I love about Gene Wolfe???s Book of the New Sun ??? an old-world style with hints of unknown technological wonders that we hope to explore in future books.
The premise and the world-building are the strengths of Lord Valentine???s Castle. The plot, though it has so much potential, sometimes seems to crawl under the weight of that huge planet. Valentine plans to go to the castle to confront the imposter, so he goes. It???s a long slow journey which has some obstacles, but they???re all rather easily overcome. Much of the hard work is done in dreams or images as the Lady of Dreams (and, later, Valentine himself) convinces the people around him that Valentine is the true ruler of Majipoor. There???s not much tension and what there is, is quickly relieved.
I listened to Blackstone Audio???s production of Lord Valentine???s Castle which was read by one of my favorite narrators: Stefan Rudnicki. As usual, this was a very nice production and a great way to read Lord Valentine???s Castle.
If you want to explore a vast imaginative world, and don???t mind the leisurely pace, try Robert Silverberg???s Majipoor Cycle.
"An interesting idea"
Imaginative and interesting premise. BIGtime. Heavy handed and slightly ponderous on the execution end. Ditto on the narration. The author was DEFinitely exploring a theme of: "the responsibilities of a ruler to the people".
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