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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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I read some of Kipling's short stories "Plain Tales from the Hills" as a teenager. I really didn't get some of it, not understanding at the time about the culture of Brits in India. However, I adored it that he named one of his characters Pfluffles.

Thuvia
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One of my favorite all time books is The Jungle Books, which far surpasses any attempts to put it on film. The language is very flowery, as you put it, but even now, I can quote reams of dialogue between Mowgli and his friends, or Shere Khan's snide remarks. And lest we forget, the story of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi or the white seal. All excellent stories.

At the other end of the spectrum, but still dealing with nature, Jack London's characters used language as sparingly as a miser uses money, yet very effectively. I loved his books about wolves as a child.

Moonglade
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One of my favorite all time books is The Jungle Books, which far surpasses any attempts to put it on film. The language is very flowery, as you put it, but even now, I can quote reams of dialogue between Mowgli and his friends, or Shere Khan's snide remarks.

We are friends, ye and I.

Thuvia
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