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The Carpet Makers (1995)

por Andreas Eschbach

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8614424,649 (4.1)50
Since the time of pre-history, carpet makers tie intricate knots to form carpets for the court of the Emperor. These carpets are made from the hairs of wives and daughters; they are so detailed and fragile that each carpet maker finishes only one single carpet in his entire lifetime.This art descends from father to son, since the beginning of time itself.But one day the empire of the God Emperor vanishes, and strangers begin to arrive from the stars to follow the trace of the hair carpets. What these strangers discover is beyond all belief, more than anything they could have ever imagined...Brought to the attention of Tor Books by Orson Scott Card, this edition of The Carpet Makers contains a special introduction by Orson Scott Card.… (mais)
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Translated from German and science fantasy. I'm calling it science fantasy not because there's magic anywhere but because it has a gorgeous culture in a desert climate that we spend most of our time with, even though there are space ships and ray guns. So there. I suck. This is kind of about the nature of religious belief, and the end was a punch in the gut. Carpetmakers tie intricate carpets made of the hair of their wives and daughters, and send it off for the glory of the Emperor. They spend their whole lives making these carpets, and each one takes a whole life to make. They sell it for a large sum, which goes to their only son and he uses it to live off for his whole life while he ties his carpet, and so on. Told in many perspectives, but never returning to a perspective a second time. Very cool. ( )
  lyrrael | Aug 3, 2023 |
En un mundo semidesértico perdido en una galaxia olvidada, toda la vida gira en torno al hilado de alfombras de cabellos. Gracias al dinero que su padre antes que él obtuvo por la venta de un tapiz, cada tejedor abre su taller y elabora, a lo largo de toda su vida, una alfombra espléndida con los cabellos de sus esposas e hijas. Tras venderla para entregar a su vez el dinero a su único hijo, la alfombra se une a inmensas caravanas que convergen en el espaciopuerto, desde donde parten fastuosos bajeles estelares rumbo, dicen, al palacio del divino Emperador. Pero, ¿cuál es el propósito que lleva al sacrificio de tantas vidas para elaborar alfombras de cabellos? ¿Y si fueran ciertos los rumores de que el Emperador ha sido derrocado?
  Natt90 | Feb 13, 2023 |
It's interesting to read a book like this in German because I thought they didn't really have a lot of good old fashioned SF there. I was clearly wrong, because this is good, old-fashioned SF.

This is a collection of connected short stories unveiling the history of an intergalactic empire with a rotten piece of madness at its core. We are introduced to the empire via the "hair carpet weavers" of the title-a generational caste of men who spend their entire lives weaving a single, immensely intricate, carpet out of the hair of the women in their families. It sounds silly, but in context it is monstrous, and as the stories add context and background, it becomes almost horrific.

At the same time, there is a lot of heroic rebelling and dimensional bubbles and space-men among the primitives stuff reminiscent of "golden age" SF in the US. And just like that SF, there is a kernel of contemplation at the heart of this book: contemplation of empire, and colonization, and what it looks like when absolute rulers are truly corrupted.

I liked the book, even if some events leading up to the "reveal" are questionable. It's equal parts grim and fun, which is a rare combo. ( )
  JimDR | Dec 7, 2022 |
(...)

While not fully perfect, the book is a gem that combines Le Guinish calm, mythical storytelling as in Earthsea, with a space opera plot that nods at Herbert and has the outrageous imagination of Iain M. Banks. I’d say this would appeal to both science fiction and fantasy readers, and the beginning of the book also reminded me a bit of Piranesi, another gem that was still fresh in my mind.

It also features a formal narrative approach I have rarely encountered, and definitely not as honed to perfection as it is here.

The Hair-Carpet Weavers starts with the story of Ostvan, a weaver whose sole occupation it is to weave a carpet using the hairs of his three wives, who each have a different hair-color. The weaving of the carpet is an intricate job, and it takes a lifetime to complete one carpet. The next chapter features a different viewpoint, focusing on a trader in hair-carpets. Each subsequent chapter has a different point-of-view, and while each chapter could be considered as a short story, they all are tied together closely – both in theme as in time. Eschbach manages to slowly unfold the mystery of the hair-carpet weavers, and the story zooms out as it evolves, but never losing touch with the people that populate it.

The different viewpoints – they are always different, not a single one is repeated – might hinder character development, but this is not really an issue, as each chapter has its own emotional conclusion, and the bigger story does develop – as does the society it is set in. I cannot stress the mastery Eschbach shows to pull something like this off, all in a fairly short novel for today’s standards. That narrative & emotional control is much more important than the fun, but ultimately superficial gimmick – a story about weavers that is woven out of different narrative threads itself.

(...)

Full review on Weighing A Pig ( )
  bormgans | Jan 27, 2021 |
(Small spoilers inside)

This book is one of the weirdest stories I've ever read. And I should be typing this in German, as I read the German version, also to improve my German. Either way: people making carpets out of human hair and spending their entire lifetimes doing so, all for the emperor, who is God for them. Even more so, because they've never seen him. In addition, for them, it's like paying a debt their father made and so it goes down each generation.

But when the story reaches its end and conclusion, that ending might seem weak and flat compared to the many happenings and descriptions preceding it. But, to me, it's not really the (original!) story itself that was important for A. Eschbach, but the moral behind it all. It shows that small issues can have massive impacts, even for those who have nothing to do with it.

And how the affected ones then hang on to certain beliefs and principles, without knowing how it came to be or if it all should be like this, whether it causes you pain/stress/fear. Until someone sees the light and so can (as good or as bad) convince the others. Maybe.

I'm not telling much about the stories themselves, because it's up to you to read them and find out for yourself how good this book really is.

In fact, as I liked it so much, I've ordered Eschach's other book, which takes place in the same universe, but is also stand-alone: Quest. ( )
  TechThing | Jan 22, 2021 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 44 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Je me plains souvent du manque d'originalité de livres qui sont par ailleurs passionnants. Cette fois, je dois reconnaître que ce livre est très original et empreint d'une étrangeté poétique étonnante.
adicionada por grimm | editarbloGrimm, Grimm (Aug 26, 2009)
 

» Adicionar outros autores (2 possíveis)

Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Eschbach, Andreasautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Berry, RickArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Card, Orson ScottIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Duval, ClaireTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Faraldo, José MaríaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Jensen, DorylTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Madras, VincentArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Knot after knot, day in, day out, for an entire lifetime, always the same hand movements, always looping the same knots in the fine hair, so fine and tiny that with time, the fingers trembled and the eyes became weak from strain -- and still the progress was hardly noticeable.
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Since the time of pre-history, carpet makers tie intricate knots to form carpets for the court of the Emperor. These carpets are made from the hairs of wives and daughters; they are so detailed and fragile that each carpet maker finishes only one single carpet in his entire lifetime.This art descends from father to son, since the beginning of time itself.But one day the empire of the God Emperor vanishes, and strangers begin to arrive from the stars to follow the trace of the hair carpets. What these strangers discover is beyond all belief, more than anything they could have ever imagined...Brought to the attention of Tor Books by Orson Scott Card, this edition of The Carpet Makers contains a special introduction by Orson Scott Card.

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