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No. of Recommendations: 1
Wow, we've been talking alot about sf and fantasy lately. Maybe it would be good for us to switch gears a little. Actually, this post doesn't switch gears that much - the book has an sf link: if you liked Zelazny's Lord of Light, you will be interested in this book. Much of the language Zelazny used comes from here.

I loved this book. The language is amazing. Written around 1890 or 1900 or so, it does not show its age at all. Adventure novel of an English orphan in colonial India, his "discovery" by English officers, and his subsequent training as a spy.

My only quibble with this book is the strange and hard to follow episode where one of Kim's teachers tries to hypnotize him. There's a latent racist attitude in there, that "native" Indians are easier to hypnotize because of their "mystic" nature than Englishmen are, because of the English "rational" nature - if I read the episode correctly, Kim saves himself from being hypnotized by doing multiplication tables in his head or some such. Very peculiar interlude. But it's not central to the novel as a whole - you can let it pass very quickly. Everything else about the book is colorful and wonderful.

Why is it that whenever adventure writers represent India's speech in English, the result is always very flowery expressive phrases? Kipling, Zelazny, and Patrick O'Brian in HMS Surprise - all of them have characters address each other as 'O Father of the Poor' or 'O Daughter of Seduction' etc. I'm not rendering it well here, but it is a ton of fun.
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