Friday, October 25, 2013

Range in writing

If you've read "The Cambist and Lord Iron" by now, you may have noticed how fable-like it is, or an "economic fairy tale" as the website put it. I loved it, and was really surprised by how recent it is, because it reads like a centuries-old fable that parents read to their kids at bedtime. It has the elements of a humble but clever protagonist, a villain, a three-act plot (or three "challenges" if you prefer), and a happy ending.
Afterwards, I read "Hurt Me," which was the polar opposite of a charming childhood fable (except for another triumphant protagonist). It was chilling, violent, tense, and was still very well-written. I really enjoyed both stories, but "Cambist" only a tiny bit more. However, I was more impressed overall with Abraham's range, and his skill at two far ends of the genre spectrum (even more so since he's more well known as a science fiction/fantasy writer).

If any of you have read another of Daniel Abraham's stories besides "Cambist," what did you think of it, and how does it compare to "Cambist"? Do you prefer to write in one or two particular genres, or do you like to experiment with a wider variety?


  1. I read "The Cambist and Lord Iron" and "When we Were Heroes". Like you stated Emma, the first is more of a fable, or "economic fairy tale", and the second is more of a romantic short story. I enjoyed both. Daniel Abraham is the kind of author I enjoy reading. He reminds me of Ken Follett in his style of writing.

    I am not much of a writer, but I can appreciate an author than can write in multiple genres. I have not read any other stories of his besides the two mentioned but I think when I have free time I will go back and look at those links Professor Donovan provided us with.

    I enjoyed reading "The Cambist and Lord Iron". I read it on Saturday night after a long day at work while drinking some hot chocolate. The story relaxed me. I couldn't stop reading because I wanted to know what was going to happen to the old man and to Lord Iron. I like how the end leaves it somewhat open for speculation. I actually read it twice just to make sure I didn't miss any details. I read the "second challenge" twice the first time around because I was not expecting the old man to be the King! That was an interesting decision Abraham made to include him in the negotiating table.

  2. I'll be honest and say that I've only read "Cambist" by Daniel. But I was so impressed with how accessible and enjoyable his work was, I will be reading everything by him I can get my hands on. His stories are both thought-provoking as well as sheer fun. I loved the fact that he was so honest during discussion. Maybe not too much, hearing an author say that he writes TO MAKE MONEY, WHY ELSE?! is a little disconcerting, but still, the fact that he told the class that he writes to entertain his readers is a big breath of fresh air. Frankly, that's why he's becoming more and more successful, whereas others are not (not gonna say any names cough cough). As a guy who probably won't become a writer, it's an immense relief to hear that the reader wrote for US and not for themselves, it's a quality I respect and look for in honest work.

  3. I have only read the “Cambist”, but I really enjoyed it. I feel the same way Jaime does and want to read more books by him. I was expecting to read one of his sci-fi books and found to my surprise that he is good at writing a short fairy tale having to do with economics. I didn’t get a chance to read the other readings by him, but I really want to find the time to read them. I thought to myself if he is good at writing short stories then he must be good at the genre he is well known for. I really enjoyed the “Cambist” because as Emma said it is a classic fairy tale with three challenges, a moral, and economics. I really enjoy economics and the story kind of spoke to me on the analytical side. It is that whole concept of exchange. I had this teacher that asked this question on a test and it took me awhile to wrap my head around it. A man has a one dollar bill and needs change for a payphone. He makes a trade with this man that has only three quarters. Is this a fair trade?


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