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The Gap Into Conflict: The Real Story (1992)

The Gap Into Conflict: The Real Story (1992)

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3.71 of 5 Votes: 5
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0553295098 (ISBN13: 9780553295092)

About book The Gap Into Conflict: The Real Story (1992)

I will tell you what I don't like about this book right up front, to warn those who might wish to be warned: there's a LOT of raping and psychological abusing of the main female character. In fact, it's an essential element of the story most of the way through the book. I don't criticize the actual book for it, because it was necessary in order to tell this particular story about this particular man who was acting fully within his character to do such a thing. But it's still really unpleasant to read. If you can't stomach that sort of thing, steer clear.Now, on to the good stuff.The first thing I **loved** about this book was its structure. First, we are told about a very brief scene and its subsequent aftermath from the point of view (and therefore, pure opinion) of most of the casual onlookers who witnessed it. Then we dial back and are told about the exact same sequence of events from the point of view of the onlookers who were more observant, and noticed things the casual bystanders did not. They have a slightly different hypothesis about what happened because they observed differently. Then we dial back AGAIN and see the same sequence of events from what the investigating security and official staff were able to piece together afterwards, using records and personal interviews, as well as their professional intuition and experience. Again, they paint a slightly different picture than the other observers, because they have slightly different information.Then we get the real story, from the points of view of the two - and later three - players involved. But even here, there are three different versions of the story being told, because each person has a very different perspective on what is happening. So now we know the actual events that occurred, and yet we're still left facing the idea that there is no actual conclusive true story, because each of them experienced a different version of the same events.I. Freakin'. Love that. Yes indeedy.The other reason I really liked this book was that Donaldson wrote a totally unlikeable main character, and succeeding in making the reader care about him. In general, people like to root for people they identify with somehow, at least in part. That's why we root for the underdog - because we all feel like life hasn't really given us our fair shake. So its rare to find a book where the protagonist is completely detestable, because what reader would desire to root for him? It's even more rare to find such a protagonist that is written so well that we actually do want him to succeed. These rare successful attempts are one of my favorite things to read.This little novella is the first of a series, which I may or may not continue to read, but it also stands on its own as a fantastic open and shut character study. Bravo.

Why I read this book:First, I have to admit to having read the 5th book in the Gap Sequence without knowing anything about the previous books years ago. What stuck in my mind was the tragic bonds between two of the leading characters. When a friend offered me access to her vaste Scifi/fantasy library I decided to start at the beginning with The Real Story.My one sentence summary:The Real Story explores the basic principals of interdependance between a damaged UMCP officer and the outwardly ruthless inwardly terrified space pirate who forces her to bend to his twisted will.Kuddos:The first thing that struck me as I started to read this relatively short and fast-paced novel was how Donaldson dangles a superficial account of the who novel's events in the first chapter only to end the chapter telling that version isn't the real story. The rest of the novel explores the whys and hows largely through Angus' point of view. He is brutal and ruthless yet profoundly damaged in a way that made his character sympathetic even if he was no where near likable. I found myself at once cringing and compelled to keep reading as Angus took out all his inner fears and insecurities on Morn's body, mind, and spirit. Too late does he realize that hurting her is only a way to hurt himself.Quibbles:The structure left me wanting for a more organized narrative. The narrative is raw. In places that adds to the story and in others it was confusing for me to follow. At barely over 200 pages it's a fast read even for a slow reader and interesting enough to keep me turning the pages. I hope to hear from Morn a little more in the next books. Her narrative was slight. I'm often annoyed by characters that seem too perfect in some way. Morn is a little too good at coping with her abuse, but Donaldson builds enough around that element to make me want to over look it.Final verdict:The dark bond formed between Angus and Morn is enough to keep me interested in reading the next book in the series and pretty much anything Donaldson writes.

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3am. Surely the right time.Call me completely insane, but I've agreed to read this (I wrote a few months ago)....after a conversation that went like this:Me: I hate Thomas CovenantNoela: But you have to read the Gap seriesMe: Huh?Noela: It is about a girl who has the most appalling things happen to her. You read a bit, put it down thinking 'that's it! No more' but then you can't help yourself. You have to know what dreadful thing is going to happen to her next. You have to!Me: Grumble, grumble, grumble, but...okay. Maybe. But.The fact is, I have to confess, that I could scarcely stop thinking about anything else. I scoured Melbourne bookshops looking for copies, but TC is it. Donaldson just might as well not have bothered with writing another interminably long series. I asked everybody if they had a copy I could borrow. Have you ever tried doing this on the tram? Coffee shops? In the street? It doesn't work.Finally, I happened to be in Hatchards, and there it was. Sorry, so sorry. I'm made a plug for a bookshop that isn't Amazon. This isn't usually done on goodreads. But. GO TO YOUR LOCAL BOOKSHOP!!!Hesitates before saying this next thing. I don't know if Donaldson is a good enough writer to be doing this incredibly ambitious thing, creating the superbly flawed Angus Thermopyle. But if that is so, it doesn't matter. It is quite impossible to put this book down. Having finished book one, I'm desperate to read book two, but for logistical reasons I can't. Not until I've read HP AND the second two volumes of Northern Lights. I'm being held hostage, you see. In the attic bedroom of a house in Didsbury (hellllpppppppppppppppp). I'm not allowed out until I finish these books.Actually, it isn't dissimilar to what happens in this book to Morn, except that nobody is doing despicable thing to degrade and break me. Well, anti-Northern Lights readers might disagree there.If you're a boy you'll love this because it is about space ships and stations and pirates and desperate adventures and a girl who is trapped by a zone implant into doing whatever your (um) heart desires. If you are a girl, I'm buggered if I know why you'll love this, but you will.

A short, disturbing read that might have been the science fiction equivalent of Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness if it was a little deeper. As it is, it's little more than a whodunit turned inside-out, telling the story of an abduction and a framing in a twisted kind of detached retrospect. Donaldson's writing style makes us feel like we're watching a security video as the events unfold, with the overall impression of a small, significant event in the past that triggers a larger sequence; this book is the first of five.But the real story of The Real Story is marred by some early and persistent scenes of misogyny and rape. Whether these incidents are supposed to make the reader sympathetic towards Morn, the female protagonist, or simply used to demonize her tormentor, doesn't really matter. The majority of the characters' backstories are laid out in more or less black and white, so there's no question as to whom each person's loyalties lie; mainly with themselves.Between the three characters, (there really are only that many) two are psychotic assholes, and when Morn is "rescued" from one by the other, you're not quite sure if it's a victory or not.
—D. B.

This is my first Donaldson book to read. I finished it in just a few days, and it wasn't because it was short, but because there was something about Donaldson's narrative style that made me going. The story is pretty simple, told by a narrator who doesn't leave much room for the reader to judge, who gives little description to the setting, the era, and what humankind has achieved and reached thus far, and who concentrates only on what the "real story" is. And yet, the story was captivating. There certainly are brutal parts, but they are in keeping with characterization and Donaldson gives a general description rather than a detailed, blow-by-blow account. What really pulled me into the story was its pathos. Donaldson gives a physical and psychological study of greed, lust, and guilt in Morn, Angus and Nick. Science, even though well presented here, is second only to the interplay of human emotions. I'm eager to read the next book of the series.

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