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on October 18, 2003
I have conversed with Ron on the net for some time, and I finally got around to buying and reading his book. I like Ron and wanted to give the book a 4, but I think that would more about Ron than the book. Honestly it deserves a 3, so that is what I will give it.
Ron writes from experience, and IMOP the lead character is a little too much Ron. The idea is good, but the villain is cardboard (with the exception of Slim, and to an extent Progress, all of the characters are basically 2D) and most of the plot predictable (not always a bad thing).
Despite what I perceive as flaws the book flowed well, and it was a quick and enjoyable read. And he included some very cool ideas that I wished he had delved more into, such as the voodoo-like religion (I don't have the book with me and I cannot remember their name), the gris-gris man and his "unique" zombies, and the MIB-like Vipers.
All in all I feel the book was worth the money.
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on May 31, 2003
I too read the Authors notes and appreciate that this is more Leming than Anthony...It IS an enjoyable read though. I suffered through unfamiliarity with the music quoted throughout the book - lyrics always mean more married to the metre of a melody.
I enjoyed it though....
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on August 15, 2002
I love Piers Anthony, I love fantasy and science fiction, I love the blues, and I love to play guitar, so I thought this book looked interesting. Turns out that it's the ... ... that ever .... Obviously Ron Leming is unable to get over past failed relationships, hippy-ism, and theophobia. He sees no hypocrisy in constantly bashing mainstream religions but then pushing his own set of ethics and morals. And a world where there is no Fender? Or what about Gibson, man? That's no world for me.
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on November 11, 2001
This weighty tome by newcomer Ron Leming, to which Mr. Anthony has lent his name and perhaps a small amount of editing (but nowhere near enough) is more of a disaster novel than, as advertised, a fantasy. As a Piers Anthony novel, it's a disaster. As fantasy, it's not really far enough removed from reality to be the least bit interesting. It may hold some appeal for blues fans, but even there, it doesn't hold up well. In this novel about the blues, there is no such thing as an acoustic guitar, and the blues is limited to a very narrow segment, that of contemporary head-banging electric blues. Extensive knowledge of the blues arena is not revealed here - just about everything related to the blues in this entire book could have easily been cribbed from the liner notes of one or two John Lee Hooker albums. There are major inconsistencies. In a parallel world where Fender amps and rock 'n' roll don't exist, why do all the blues songs have the same titles in both worlds even though they're written by different people? The plot was done better by Edgar Rice Burroughs in 1911. I mean, for gosh sakes, a man is zapped instantaneously to an alternate world where he meets a girl and becomes a hero. Sounds a little like The Princess of Mars, doesn't it?
If you want to read about a fat 40 year old white musician who goes to Barsoom to meet John Lee Hooker, this is your book.
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on October 3, 2001
Too simplistic and not at all what I would expect from Anthony. Apparently this book was written by Leming and Anthony lent his name to it in order to help a new author get some exposure. And it shows. I love the premise - the Blues as a mystical force in a world where race is not an issue. But the storytelling was too simplistic and it dwelled on the protagonists character flaws and self consciousness way too much. However if there was a sequel I would probably buy it in hopes that would go deeper into the mythical world created in Gutbucket Quest.
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on September 29, 2001
The book *looked* interesting. Unfortunately the plot, what there was of it, dragged and the characters were uninteresting. Slim's whining got old after about a paragraph. I would suggest that reader take their time and money to other books that have something worthwhile to offer.
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on June 26, 2001
Even though I didn't read the book yet, but from the review that I saw it is kind of like the series spellsong cycle of Modesitt L. E. Jr? I am a long time Anthony fan but this book didn't make me happy. Please think of something new not doing research from other writer.
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on September 7, 2000
I wanna live in Tejas, a land powered by the magic of the blues, where good men live free. When that freedom is challenged by the unrighteous T-Bone, Slim Chance--a blues name if I ever heard one--rises to heroic proportions to defeat the evil forces. The "tribal" nature of the story was particularly enjoyable--Mother Phillips, who presides over Tralfaz, an animal sanctuary, where even the humans roam unashamedly naked; Elijigbo's Torriero, a successful hippie-like commune.
The story comes to a climax at an inevitable blues fest. The "tribes" gather to back Slim in his triumphant defeat of T-Bone.
I'd never read a fantasy book and probably never would've, had The Gutbucket Quest not flown into my hands and begged me to give it a chance. Once I sat down with it, I couldn't stop reading. It's how the real world ought to be. If you're into the blues, it's a must-read.
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on August 4, 2000
If you are looking for Piers Anthony's lighter PG rated material or think sex is a four letter word; this won't be the book for you. However, get this book to understand what the Blues music means to the people who play and enjoy a fantasy adventure. The abundance of very loving sex in it is true to the Blues culture.
Recognized some of the Texas characters which made the Tejas of the book plausible and more enjoyable for me. This book doesn't fit properly into any one genre. It is a cross between a socio-historical novel, science fiction, and a fantasy adventure.
The book reads like a good Blues song. It is simple on the surface with emotional depths and a directness that reveals the truth of human nature. Very enjoyable.
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on August 1, 2000
I read the Author's Notes. Piers Anthony put his name on the cover of this book to help a friend get published. The book itself is so far removed from his style (not to mention quality) that I knew after only a few pages that he couldn't have contributed much. This is possibly the worst book I've ever read, and while I sympathize with Mr. Anthony's motives in helping to publish it, I am appalled that he could put his name on anything of such poor quality.
Unfortunately, even though I knew after the first few chapters that I didn't like the book, I was forced to read the whole thing because I was reviewing it. It's fraught with word confusions and errors in grammar. The characters were, if not one dimentional, then at least stereotypical. The main character's name: Slim Chance. The plot was predictable--or it would have been, if Mr. Leming would have bothered to tell us what was going on, rather than wasting pages on self-pitying ruminations. There was a great deal extraneous sex and vulgarity that didn't fit the style of the piece. As a whole, it had the feel of a self-indulgent adolescent fantasy. For someone as sensitive as I am to poor writing, it was 300 pages of nails on a chalkboard. Even now, just thinking about it sets my nerves on edge.
Yet, while I dislike Mr. Leming's writing, it is Mr. Anthony who I am really disappointed with. It is not Mr. Leming's fault that he's a poor author, but this book should never have been published, and Mr. Anthony has let down an awful lot of people. If he was going to put his name on the cover, he should at least have had the decency to turn it into a tolerable book first.
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