I hope there is someone out there who agrees with me that these books are totally superb on so many levels! I loved War of the Flowers, his other books are quite good too but Otherland is so outstanding I felt I had to start a discussion to see if its just me!
No it's not just you. I downloaded pirate copies of the audiobooks without ever having heard of Tad Williams. So when I started book one I hadn't the foggiest what to expect. All I knew was the title. You can imagine what it was like to be under the impression that the book was partly set in the trenches in WWI, and then for it to go off on such a bizarre and totally unexpected tangent. I was amazed by the creative genius of Tad Williams. This series is so complex that I don't know how Tad Williams managed it without his brain melting. It's like 5 novels rolled into 1. And what's so amazing is that each thread is interesting and exciting in its own way. You never want to rush through any of them in order to get back to the main thread; they all seem to have equal weight; Irene, Orlando, Sellars and Christabel, John Dread, Paul Jonas; all their stories were great. Loved all the virtual reality stuff, especially Orlando and Frederick's lifestyles. The glimpses of the City of Golden Shadow were so intriguing, and the way they investigated it within virtual reality was done beautifully. I've 'read' this whole series twice now, and i'll read it again at some point. I do feel however that it could have been edited a bit. I could have lived without Xabou's ((can't remember how to spell his name) long-winded monologues, and the half-finished worlds that occupied a significant portion of the last couple of books. And the bird woman's story dragged a bit, though it was the spine of the whole thing, I did weary of her vagueness when interacting with Jonas. But there's so much good stuff in these books that they easily overshadow the few weak parts. Whenever I think of great books, Otherland is always up there. In terms of imaginative genius, it's probably number 1.