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Ring of Swords Hardcover – 1 Aug 1993

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Tor Books (Aug. 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312855184
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312855185
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 14 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 967,110 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Wow, is about all i have to say for this book, and maybe thank god i came across this in the bookstore! Ring of Swords is a wonderfully written book with characters that beg to be written into a sequel. The book revolves around the story of a culture clash between Humanity and a species called the Hwarhath, who's culture is extremely gender segregated. The Hwarhath find humanity utterly contemptable and possibly deserving of extermination. Within the pages of this book you will uncover a mindblowing study of the our culture seen through the eyes of aliens (and humans as well), and hopefully come away with a understanding of how cultures can have a hard time encountering cultures completely different from themselves. In Ring of Swords (if you read carefully) you will see us in them, a hard thing to do, but tackled wonderfully by Eleanor Arnason. Get this book! I can't wait for the sequel.
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Format: Paperback
This book is stunningly good. Building on her thoughtful earlier work, _Woman of the Iron People_ Arnason produces a novel which has a truly vivid voice, full of complex, perplexing characters, and a context where categories extend beyond some forumulaic good/bad. If you like Russell's work, _The Sparrow_, I'd expect you to like this. Arnason deals with real issues, but also has a sense of humor. I've now re-read this book upward of 10 times (the first two back to back, starting again as soon as I finished). Book images-- Arnason's alien re-thinking of Moby Dick, Huckleberry Finn, and MacBeth-- keep popping up in my mind. And I would really like to hear more of Anna and Nicholas's voices, telling about the various ways people understand intelligence, language, and the somewhat to extremely alien. This book is not simplistic. But if you are willing to think--and enjoy wonderfully cutting prose--it's a joy to read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars 10 reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful, provocative anthropological science finction 8 July 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is stunningly good. Building on her thoughtful earlier work, _Woman of the Iron People_ Arnason produces a novel which has a truly vivid voice, full of complex, perplexing characters, and a context where categories extend beyond some forumulaic good/bad. If you like Russell's work, _The Sparrow_, I'd expect you to like this. Arnason deals with real issues, but also has a sense of humor. I've now re-read this book upward of 10 times (the first two back to back, starting again as soon as I finished). Book images-- Arnason's alien re-thinking of Moby Dick, Huckleberry Finn, and MacBeth-- keep popping up in my mind. And I would really like to hear more of Anna and Nicholas's voices, telling about the various ways people understand intelligence, language, and the somewhat to extremely alien. This book is not simplistic. But if you are willing to think--and enjoy wonderfully cutting prose--it's a joy to read.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sci-fi meets culture study 7 Aug. 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Wow, is about all i have to say for this book, and maybe thank god i came across this in the bookstore! Ring of Swords is a wonderfully written book with characters that beg to be written into a sequel. The book revolves around the story of a culture clash between Humanity and a species called the Hwarhath, who's culture is extremely gender segregated. The Hwarhath find humanity utterly contemptable and possibly deserving of extermination. Within the pages of this book you will uncover a mindblowing study of the our culture seen through the eyes of aliens (and humans as well), and hopefully come away with a understanding of how cultures can have a hard time encountering cultures completely different from themselves. In Ring of Swords (if you read carefully) you will see us in them, a hard thing to do, but tackled wonderfully by Eleanor Arnason. Get this book! I can't wait for the sequel
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Hwarath are real, right? 22 Mar. 2004
By cammykitty - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book became a page turner for me, yes because of the plot, but mostly because of her aliens and her characters. I fell in love with many of the characters in the book. I understood what made them tick. They were real. But the biggest treat was her aliens. First the Psuedosiphorones, a thought provoking sort of jelly fish. But the book isn't about jelly fish. It's about us. Arnason uses her aliens, the Hwarath, as a way of holding up a distorting mirror to our own culture.
But, it is also about the Hwarath, a culture where the women stay home and have babies (oh? Really? Are you sure that's all they do?) and the men are off looking for an enemy. They badly want to find an enemy and when they find humans, yipee!!! Except, humans don't understand the rules of war. I have never read a book where an alien culture is so carefully drawn that you start thinking you are reading something that involved anthropological research, not dry research, but research. Wait a minute, these guys don't exist.
By the time you finish reading Ring of Swords, you will know what the Hwarath consider ethical and honorable, who really calls the shots, what is sexy, what is going on that Hwarath hide from other Hwarath, what they think is exceptable human chow, what their music sounds like (ouch), a touch of their mythology, what they wear when they aren't trying to impress humans and what their theater is like. Especially their theater! I know more about the Hwarath now than I know about Canadians, and I live in Minnesota and have Canadian cousins. And Canadians really do exist.
And by the way, the plot of Ring of Swords is pretty cool too.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves to Be A Sci-Fi Classic 26 Dec. 2013
By Anne Mills - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Fascinating novel centering on a human biologist who is part of the team carrying out negotiations between Earthlings and an alien culture: the Hwarhath. Their culture is very different from outs: males and females live almost entirely separate lives, and romantic love (for the males at least) is entirely homosexual. And they find our pattern of allowing the sexes to mingle barbaric and disgusting. The plot thickens with the introduction of the translator Nicholas Sanders, and the emergence of some of the Hwarhath as character in their own right. The examination of gender roles is marvellously developed: Aranson follows her own arguments to their logical ends. Like another reviewed, I think that this book transcends categories like "feminist" or "gay". It is an extraordinarily imaginative examination of how another group of sentient beings might function, and of how they might interact with our own kind. And in the process, Arnason has created a gripping plot, characters who come alive, and a novel in which one can lose oneself.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superior 5 Jan. 2014
By R. Albin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a superior science fiction novel. The basic plot device is a set of negotiations between humans and the only other known intelligent species in the galaxy, who are distinctly different from humans but nonetheless rather humanoid. The best feature of this book is Arnason's development of the non-human species, which features very strong gender differentiation as a governing feature. A strong subtheme in this book is the importance of what might be called deviance as a source of social creativity. Well written with generally good character development.
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