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Robert A Heinlein Award winning SF writer Michael Flynn returns to space opera and to the world of The January DancerThe Hound Bridget ban has vanished and the Kennel the mysterious superspy agency has given up looking for her But her daughter the harper Mearana has not and she has convinced the scarred man Donovan to aid in her search But Donovan's mind has been shattered by Those of Name the rulers of the Confederacy and no fewer than seven quarreling personalities now inhabit his skull How can he hope to see Mearana safely through her quest? Together they follow Bridget ban's trail to the raw worlds of the frontier edging ever closer to the de civilized and barbarian planets of the Wild Along the way they encounter evidence that they too are being followed by a deadly agent of Those of Name

10 thoughts on “Up Jim River

  1. says:

    The novel begins and ends with the Hound and a question Still as such novels go whether they're adventures or Space Operas or many vista'd hues of gorgeous untamed planets they're full of stories and stories within storiesThis one has all of the above and for those who really enjoyed Bridget Ban and Donovan from the previous novel you're in for a treatNot that you'll be seeing all that much of the missing Bridget but you will see a lot of her daughter who's searching for her Even the Hound has given up My reaction to the novel? It was decent I liked it than the first strangely enough and there was plenty of interesting language stuff in this one too After all the Holy Search for the Grail is ACTUALLY Coriander Both are lost in deep time and have joined each other as mythical legends of the greatest of all quest itemsCoriander Alas Coriander Fun stuff The action is good too and so was Donovan Gotta love split personalities I hope to enjoy the next with as much fun in it

  2. says:

    I see that in my review of The January Dancer TJD I neglected to mention the frame upon which Michael Flynn hung his story which is related by “the scarred man” to the harper Méarana of Dangchao Waypoint as they drink uiscebaugh in the Bar on Jehovah Up Jim River picks up right after the scarred man has finished his tale I’m not spoiling anything by revealing that he is the Fudir or that Méarana née Lucia Thompson is the daughter of Bridget ban née Francine Thompson the Hound who accompanied the Fudir Little Hugh and Greystroke in the previous novel After the events of TJD the Fudir – who began life in the Periphery as Donovan an agent of the Confederation – is taken by Those of Name and interrogated The questioning shatters his mind into 7 personalities for the last twenty years he they have been hiding in Jehovah’s Terran ghetto The Corner Méarana has come seeking the scarred man to enlist him in her quest to find her mother Bridget ban has disappeared into the Wild the uncharted spaces beyond the boundaries of the Periphery reportedly seeking a Commonwealth artifact that could tip the balance between the United League of the Periphery and the despotic Confederation that rules Earth Bridget ban’s fellow Hounds have given up the search Thus TJD was prolog to the real story that begins when Méarana and the scarred man set out to follow her mother’s trail Up Jim River is nearly as good as TJD but there are some particulars that prevent it from quite measuring up to its predecessor First there is the common disadvantage in a trilogy of being the middle novel – you start out in the middle of a story and you tend to end in the middle In this case the problem is minimal Flynn tells a self contained fairly traditional quest story and the only real disappointment is that we have yet to directly confront Those of Name The second problem is substantive Unlike TJD I didn’t find any of the new companions Méarana and the scarred man pick up very interesting The band that set out to find the January Dancer was vivid and their backgrounds involving and so their fates interesting outside of the Fudir’s and Méarana’s in this novel The third problem I had with achieving unalloyed pleasure with Up Jim River was the pacing For the first 67’s of the novel the pace is rather desultory but in the last 50 pages it revs up to Warp 10 and we careen up a river and into orbit where the protagonists finally discover what happened to Bridget banThe ending didn’t disappoint but I wish I could have savored it In truth I enjoyed Flynn’s leisurely jaunt through the Periphery and the Wild because he was having so much fun exploring his universe and dealing with the theme of fact becoming legend becoming myth For in this book we get a greater understanding of just how deep his future history is In TJD it was unclear at least to me how distant the fall of the Commonwealth was – a few centuries? a millennium? It was actually nearly 10000 years before the story begins and Flynn takes great delight in showcasing the variety of ways humanity’s colonies have developed There’s Rickety Thistlewaite a stop along the Silk Road There Brythoni and Zhõgwo have mixed to create a planet where the Emperor of Morning Dew sheen – Resilient Services né Johnny Barcelona – takes High Tea and personally serves scones and jam to his guests and the cities carry names like “Tsienchester” Or there’s the condition of the Terrans who were forcibly transported by the Confederation when it “cleansed” Old Earth In the subsequent millennia they’ve achieved a status similar to the ghettoized Jews of Eastern Europe before WW2 –confined to special districts and generally despised by the populations among whom they liveIf you’ve read TJD then there’s really no choice but to continue with Up Jim River If you haven’t yet read TJD I strongly recommend that you do so you can continue on to this volume and then to its denouement – In the Lion's Mouth

  3. says:

    45 stars Right off the bat I need to say that I intend to re read both this book and The January Dancer at which time it is possible that both books will make it onto my 6 star list Michael Flynn's writing is fantastic and the universe he has created is as interesting and original as any I have read about in the last few years As good as the universe is the characters are even better with the multi personalitied Donovan being my clear favorite In fact there is so much going on and so many interesting people and places that I feel I need to go back and absorb the story again in order to get a full appreciation for it I can say without hesitation that I am looking forward to the re read and highly recommend this book to any fan of intelligent space opera but I would strongly suggest reading The January Dancer first

  4. says:

    This is one series of books that turns out to reward re reads I think it's because it's packed to the rim with fascinating details about the development of cultures and languages the relationships between different worlds and knowledge from our time that has been distorted after thousands of years The God Newton is worshipped by killing a cow with gravity Then there is the search for the true coriander Details on their own don't serve to make it a great re read For that you need engaging characters Here the torn up personality of the scarred man is revealed and the harper takes on a pro active role Sadly Little Hugh and Greystroke don't turn up for most of the action and the newcomers have a little less personality But I liked the character of Teddy a Conan like barbarian with a Conan like courage and humour Also while the search for the lost Bridget Ban meanders what the fellowship finds at the end is a great revelation coupled with some great twists and turns I think I like the first book 'The January Dancer' a bit if only because of the original structure of the story This is told in a straightforward and chronological order Which feels like a step back from such a promising opening tale But still this is well written though all language fragments make it hard to hold on to everything that happens and is based on a lot of linguistic and anthropological speculation It's not too new though as there are clear parallels with the United States and Europa seperated with an ocean There's even something of a wild west in here complete with gunslingers and warriors I also found the in my opinion questionable gender essentialism lacking and the female characters were not reduced to being seductive which was a nice change This is a space opera to get lost in and I will re read the third book soon

  5. says:

    Overall a very enjoyable second volume in this series The first volume was presented as a story within a frame story and in this novel the characters of the frame pick up as the main story as a daughter searches across the universe for her lost mother The story intersects frequently with the history from the first book as well as the deeper history of the universe Flynn has created and the quest serves as much as a way to explore that universe as it does a story in its own right And that's a really fun layer of the story since we the reader know our own segment of history which has become pre history and myth to the characters in this universe over 10000 years in our own future The regression and subsequent independent evolution of a humanity spread across the stars was interesting to explore The scarred man I can't spell any of the names since I listened to both volumes as audiobooks is an interesting character with his twisty past and his broken mind but the secondary characters were to me somewhat less interesting than the cast of characters we encountered in book one which was a tapestry of varied characters in both primary and secondary roles There were some moments with characters that I found intriguing but they didn't quite add up to what they might have Still I don't see how I don't continue on to the next book

  6. says:

    Flynn's Spiral Arm series takes place in the post Solar human part of the Milky Way galaxy Humanity has been seeded to numerous worlds beyond Earth which was abandoned in the distant past because of some unknown conflict in the remembered only from myths and legends and religion We met the main characters in book 1 The January Dancer an average space opera IMO Book 2 goes a long way into fleshing out these characters and expanding our knowledge of Flynn's universe It is a combination of mystery and space adventure with the group encountering a multitude of planets and cultures and widely varying levels of development I am reminded of Jack McDevitt's work one of my must read authors Flynn's series a continuing story is perhaps epic in scope than Jack's

  7. says:

    3 12 stars I suppose I should hold judgment until I read the 1st part of the series but it took me a long time to get into the story of this one Lots of cool details and semi interesting ideas along the way but the main thrust of the plot was sort of uninteresting at least until the end The major plot twists were pretty easy to see coming but I didn't really mind Still it's a genre I have a real weakness for and it was a pretty good example

  8. says:

    Not as good as The January Dancer but it picked up considerably in the last fifty or sixty pages Otherwise it felt unfocused and sometimes hard to follow Still Michael Flynn's exuberance in creating the mish mash languages and customs of the far future are entertaining and I will at some point continue with the tetralogy

  9. says:

    I blame Tor And maybe Flynn a little I'd loved the heck out of The January Dancer the first book in the series It was a classic space opera but literate and for modern times with fairly plausible handwavium It's one of those stories where our future is their myth The backstory was intriguing and the worlds visited fascinating with enough hints where the reader could tease out words and names in today's language from their far future mutations So I eagerly bought Up Jim River the next in the series when it came out It didn't look anything like The January Dancer The inside flap talked of nothing but a perilous overland journey on one planet and while Flynn included a star map he also included a map of that terrain I thought that it was limited to that 1 planet So I stalled And I stalled And I stalled I stalled for 9 years during which time I bought the next 2 books in the series because I knew that I'd read Up Jim River eventually When I did I'd forgotten a lot of The January Dancer and had to skim it to reorient myself To my joy it's a space opera just like the earlier book The overland journey takes up about 20% of the text starting at the final quarter And it includes a couple of the best action set pieces in the book The rest of it was visits to new planets It's a wonderful book like its predecessor After a detour into real world French history I'm going to read the next book in the series In the Lion's Mouth Flynn looks to have produced another winner with the Spiral Arm sequence I hope he returns to that future

  10. says:

    Hm it's as if this was written by a different author Gone is the sparkly conversational style of The January Dancer gone is the multilayered plot Extrapolations on linguistic drift while entertaining at first occasionally grate The narrative is direct and the language almost pedestrian However this is still a good space opera the setting itself is worth the price of admission at times reading almost as a homage to Jack Vance although Flynn does not quite match Vance's flair and wit This time the plot is almost entirely a picaresque connected by a thin thread of a quest And then in the last chapter the style and intensity of the first volume of the series return making me wonder what happened in between Good fun nevertheless and the next installment in the series is in the reading pile