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Muse of Art Hardcover – May 21 1999


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (May 21 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312868960
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312868963
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 794 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,156,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The fourth volume of the Geodyssey series explores the evolution and history of our species from the distant past (500,000 years ago) to the near future by examining the use of such diverse (and dubious) arts as curiosity, healing, story, expression, drama, seduction, arrogance, ploy and justice. Anthony creates a family of archetypes (Pul the Warrior, Heath the Healer, Od the Scientist, Dillon the Hunter, Bata the Wise Woman, Melee the Seductress, etc.) and sets them in different historical situations to show how each of these arts was used. The author is at his best explaining how science flourished: Ods curiosity about volcanoes helps save not only his life but those of other homo erectus smart enough to listen to a physically weak but intellectually superior man. Other scenarios, such as Melees interminable seduction of Dillon in the Olmec culture (around 900 B.C.), seem more like an excuse for peeking up a beautiful womans skirt. Anthony fails to impart a proper period flavor to the chapters, so both the writing and the history remain flat. Even after half a million years of civilizing arts, moreover, at the end of the novel, as at its beginning, men tell women what to do, women influence men through sex, and warlike stupidity still fractures mankind into small tribes bent on their own survival. In his introduction, Anthony refers to this as a message novel; the (likely unintended) message seems to be that the more things change, the more they remain the same.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

A primitive mans curiosity, an old womans healing knowledge, and a clever girls ability to use stories to change the minds of her people begin the discovery of the arts of survival that carry the human race from prehistory to the near-future. This latest addition to Anthonys epic story cycle, which includes Hope of Earth (LJ 4/15/97), examines the progress of humanity through the vehicle of short stories and vignettes that feature recurring characters and common themes. Ambitious in scope, highly personal in execution, this stand-alone tale of epic events and common people belongs in most fantasy collections.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

By A Customer on June 10 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I picked up this book as a reader who had thoroughly enjoyed a couple of the humorous Xanth books, excited to see what such a witty author had to say on real 'issues'. Well, I really should have read the author's note in the back instead of the one in front, because there the author plainly admits the many faults of the work.
It's unfortunate, but the 'issues' margin is very, very small in Muse of Art. Chapters are headed provocatively with words like 'Drama','Justice', 'Arrogance', and other things, but the real problem is... the author rarely has a point. There's a lot of ambiguity, and that's ok, but not in a book that is specifically Supposed to have points. It gets annoying, reading through narratives, growing more and more in anticipation for where the author is going with this and then with most chapters... nowhere. Or sometimes he will say something, like the Romans were arrogant, but the accompanying narrative that is about people attacking the Romans makes you feel sympathy for them. And that's pretty much how things go... nothing proved, if we can even figure out what he's trying to prove...
The main device of the book is that each chapter travels forward to a different offbeat slice of history, using the same cast of archetypal characters that are experiencing a progressing situation. (So the things that happen in prehistory, happen in some manner in other time periods to the same group) So we do get the evolving story of these people, their emotional tribulations and loves... which is kind of neat... but... it once again doesn't have much to do with 'issues' and this is supposed to be an 'issues' book! Perhaps then if the material had been reframed and offered in a different manner it wouldn't seem so disappointing... The whole work has that feel, of improperly supervising.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Geodyssey continues... 1999's 'Muse of Art' adds a fourth volume to the epic saga Piers Anthony has constructed of the history of the human race. As the title suggests, this novel concentrates on the arts, including the obvious (story and drama) and the subtle (politics, irony). A handful of characters' lives are followed, matched up with humanity's lifetime so that interesting events in one are tied to interesting events in the other. In 1964 BC, for example, Egyptian actors relating Osiris's tale find their own lives to be in parallel with the play.Anthony is having fun with his creation now, freeing himself of the rigid twenty-chapter framework of the prior instalments to tell fascinating stories of our turbulent past. Also, having made his point that there's more to history than the transfer of "civilization" from Greece to Rome, from England to America, better-known areas now receive his unconventional approach: the Roman empire is seen through the eyes of both Celts and Huns, Vietnam is visited eleven centuries earlier than usual (while Napoleon encounters the guerillas, in Italy), and World War Two is represented by the siege of Stalingrad.Even World War Three, previously skirted around, gets a Geodyssey mention, with biological and nuclear warfare killing off 98% of the population in 2024 AD. Once again the reader is cautioned to learn history's lessons and admit to our responsibility for the world. This entertaining story carries a powerful message, one which we would do well to take to heart.
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By A Customer on Oct. 21 1999
Format: Hardcover
You know how when you were a kid, Anthony was a quick, fun read, even though his dialogue left a bit to be desired? Then you got older and realized that most of his books contained the same plot - that only the Names had been changed, and his colloquy really wasn't very good at all?
I thought that with Geodyssey, maybe things were going to change. The series concept was brilliant. The first 2 books were thought provoking and refreshing and even the conversations had improved. However, by the third book you were left somewhat - unfulfilled... And now this newest novel, well, it leaves a raunchy taste in your mouth.
I think maybe he was trying for the popular "gritty" style of writing - lots of sex, outrageous scenarios and shock value. In my opinion, he failed miserably. The sex is frequent and lukewarm, the outrageous scenarios are more embarrassing than intriguing, and the shock value is tasteless. I almost felt as if I was reading one of those Italian porno graphic novel/comics.
To sum up, there is very little of substance in this work. While in this series he is trying to make certain statements, in this story, I had no clue as to what points he was trying to raise. If you ask me, reading subway graffiti will give you more insight into the "human condition" than this book will.
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By A Customer on May 6 1999
Format: Hardcover
From prehistoric times to some time in the future, the arts have been the distinguishing feature that sets humanity apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. Whether it is prehistory, ancient Egypt, World War II on the German-Russian front, or even the twenty-first century, science and technology have also kept step with the arts. However, "tribal" conflicts (wars between countries) still plague humanity by 2024 when global annihilation begins in the small country of Tuva which is surrounded by Russia and Mongolia.
MUSE OF ART, the fourth volume in Piers Anthony's Geodyssy series, is an interesting look at the history (including a future "history") of humankind through various short and short-short stories at different eras. Through it all, Mr. Anthony clearly demonstrates he fully relishes this project that summarizes the generalization that history repeats itself. Most of the periods never fully develop. This leaves readers to feel that they are missing out on something. Still, Mr. Anthony provides his audience with an intriguing look at the lessons of history that each generation ignores even as they rewrite the "facts" to fit their own needs. Historiography lives in Mr. Anthony's opus.

Harriet Klausner
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