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Thread: The name of a book/story, please

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  1. #1
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    The name of a book/story, please

    It's been driving me nuts for days and some of the threads in this forum have been reminding me of it all the more. I don't know if it was a novel, a novella (in a collection) or a short story from an anthology.

    It is set on a future Earth that has been enslaved by space-faring aliens.

    The humans are controlled by an overseer called, IIRC, "Par Shavorlem" who is needlessly cruel and drives his human slaves to the brink of death.

    He's also perverted - owing to differences in physiology, their mouth/feeding parts are hidden under one of their appendages and they have evolved a societal taboo around them. Par Shavorlem keeps a human female as a pet and gets off on seeing her speak with her (brazenly exposed) mouth. The humans try to do what they can to get rid of Par Shavorlem and the ending of the story is quite interesting.

    I cannot, for the life of me, recall the name of the story or its author.

    If anyone can help identify it so I can track it down, it would be most appreciated.

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    For some reason, the names Silverberg and Anthony come to mind. I just browsed through a few titles and came up empty. Can you share more about the "interesting ending"? That would necessitate spoilers, but I think this thread can handle that.

    In fact, this thread has given me an idea. There have been other threads like this where someone is trying to find a title of a book or story, movie or TV show. Also, there is the occasional post in the various Quote contests in which someone is looking for a story they can't quite place. There have been a couple times where I would have liked to post such a query -- I just never got around to marrying the idea with an action.

    Perhaps this thread could serve as a starting point for such inquiries? I would think it would be an appropriate Sticky.

    Just a thought.

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    OK, spoiler alert: Turn away now, etc.


    At the end of the story they are still slaves - there is no way humankind can drive away the presence of an interstellar empire that literally holds the high ground and is years more advanced - but Par Shavorlem is replaced by an overseer who is kinder to his charges - ensures proper feeding, rests etc - and the humans, while not free, are in significantly better conditions of servitude than before.

    The irony is that one of the humans discovers that their insubordination and other actions that resulted in the discrediting of Par Shavorlem had convinced the alien rulers that Par Shavorlem was too lax in his tenure, which is why he was replaced.

    Edit:
    I like the idea of it being a general "hey, can anyone remember the title/author" thread - whether it's made a sticky or not is up to the mods, I guess.
    Last edited by Wolf1066; 2008-Nov-12 at 07:15 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ABR. View Post

    Perhaps this thread could serve as a starting point for such inquiries? I would think it would be an appropriate Sticky.

    Just a thought.
    Good idea - done!

    And here's one I've been trying to track down: it takes place on a humanoid world other than Earth where everyone is telepathic and where your status in society is determined by the number of people you can telepathically control. The elites are up around 80, while the worst-off people have some ability but can't control anyone. There are a few people who have no ability whatsoever, and they're exempt from this hierarchy. The main character is sent from Earth to investigate a murder or some other crime. I don't remember too much of the plot, though I do recall that the cover featured a particularly well-formed young woman in a tight-fitting catsuit (apparently the de rigueur mode of dress) with a number above her left breast indicating her status. Thanks for any help anyone can give.
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    Cheers, ToSeek

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    Thanks, ToSeek. I hope this thread will fare well.

    I have pulled a lot of books from the shelves looking for both your and Wolf1066's story requests. So far I'm stumped. Both titles are on the tip of my tongue, so to speak, since both synopses seem familiar.

    ToSeek, do you remember whether your book was part of a larger series? Do you remember roughly when you read/saw it? I'm wondering if it's an older book, but you saw a newer printing.

    For the rest of you BAUTers who have looked at this thread -- I don't think that ToSeek, Wolf1066 and I can account for all the views -- any ideas?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ABR. View Post
    ToSeek, do you remember whether your book was part of a larger series? Do you remember roughly when you read/saw it? I'm wondering if it's an older book, but you saw a newer printing.
    This was a book my local library had back in the seventies. I don't think it was part of a series, though I do recall it being from an otherwise minor publisher who put out a lot of science fiction (most of it less than first-rate stuff, i.e., no "name" authors).
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ToSeek View Post
    Good idea - done!

    And here's one I've been trying to track down: it takes place on a humanoid world other than Earth where everyone is telepathic and where your status in society is determined by the number of people you can telepathically control. The elites are up around 80, while the worst-off people have some ability but can't control anyone. There are a few people who have no ability whatsoever, and they're exempt from this hierarchy. The main character is sent from Earth to investigate a murder or some other crime. I don't remember too much of the plot, though I do recall that the cover featured a particularly well-formed young woman in a tight-fitting catsuit (apparently the de rigueur mode of dress) with a number above her left breast indicating her status. Thanks for any help anyone can give.
    Bolasanibk's link came through for me - it's The Mind Traders, by J. Hunter Holly, with the cover I remember so fondly.
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

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    Sorry, neither one produces any lights in my head.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf1066 View Post
    It's been driving me nuts for days and some of the threads in this forum have been reminding me of it all the more. I don't know if it was a novel, a novella (in a collection) or a short story from an anthology.

    It is set on a future Earth that has been enslaved by space-faring aliens.

    The humans are controlled by an overseer called, IIRC, "Par Shavorlem" who is needlessly cruel and drives his human slaves to the brink of death.

    He's also perverted - owing to differences in physiology, their mouth/feeding parts are hidden under one of their appendages and they have evolved a societal taboo around them. Par Shavorlem keeps a human female as a pet and gets off on seeing her speak with her (brazenly exposed) mouth. The humans try to do what they can to get rid of Par Shavorlem and the ending of the story is quite interesting.

    I cannot, for the life of me, recall the name of the story or its author.

    If anyone can help identify it so I can track it down, it would be most appreciated.
    I believe that is Prostho Plus, by Piers Anthony. There was also a second book called Anthology, that had several chapters as short stories. They stand out because he used the phrase "Tour De Force" many times and it was edited to "Tour of force". The hero is a dentist from Earth treating aliens.

    Solfe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    I believe that is Prostho Plus, by Piers Anthony. There was also a second book called Anthology, that had several chapters as short stories. They stand out because he used the phrase "Tour De Force" many times and it was edited to "Tour of force". The hero is a dentist from Earth treating aliens.

    Solfe
    I just flipped through both books and didn't see anything that matched Wolf1066's description or the name Par Shavorlem. But perhaps this will ring some bells for Wolf1066. I've also check Triple Detente and several of the books that Anthony co-authored.

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    Cheers for the try, Solfe, but I've never read Prostho Plus (I went and looked it up on Amazon to make sure, the synopsis is nothing like anything I've read.)

    In the story, humans were very definitely Earth-bound and extremely vulnerable to space-faring aliens.

    I vaguely recall something about a visit from one or more of the ruling class and the humans using that as an ideal opportunity to reveal to them exactly how sick and cruel PS was.

    Ironically, the rulers viewed the humans' actions as proof that PS was running a loose ship and replaced him with someone who would not stand for any nonsense.

    Which worked, as the "no nonsense" overseer was one who had realistic views and saw no profit in running his slaves to death so they were fed, rested and housed appropriately and had no desire to get rid of him.

    He also lacked PS's little perversion re human mouths...

    The story stands out as it was the first time I'd encountered an invasion story in which the humans did not somehow drive off the vastly superior invasion force. They very realistically realised there was nothing a bunch of human slaves could do to shake off the yoke of a vast empire with far superior technology and they focussed on what they could realistically achieve: improving their lot within the existing regime (and even then it was not easy).

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    A random burst of ancient memory... I seem to recall reading a short story by Gordon R. Dickson called "Enter a Pilgrim"; I later learnt it was incorporated into a novel with "Pilgrim" in the title. The name seems to ring a bell too,

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Beardsley View Post
    A random burst of ancient memory... I seem to recall reading a short story by Gordon R. Dickson called "Enter a Pilgrim"; I later learnt it was incorporated into a novel with "Pilgrim" in the title. The name seems to ring a bell too,
    Heh, I was just thinking of Dickson too. I don't know if this is it, but it did make me think of "Way of the Pilgrim" (and there might have been more in that series). It's been too long since I read it to know if it ties into this, but it did involve a vastly superior invasion force running Earth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Beardsley View Post
    A random burst of ancient memory... I seem to recall reading a short story by Gordon R. Dickson called "Enter a Pilgrim"; I later learnt it was incorporated into a novel with "Pilgrim" in the title. The name seems to ring a bell too,
    "The Way of the Pilgrim".

    Just looked it up on Amazon and it does not ring any bells - or even look like an expansion of the story I seek.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf1066 View Post
    "The Way of the Pilgrim".

    Just looked it up on Amazon and it does not ring any bells - or even look like an expansion of the story I seek.
    I've read the book - it's not the story you're looking for.
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Beardsley View Post
    A random burst of ancient memory... I seem to recall reading a short story by Gordon R. Dickson called "Enter a Pilgrim"; I later learnt it was incorporated into a novel with "Pilgrim" in the title. The name seems to ring a bell too,
    The novel is "Way of the Pilgrim" by Gordon R. Dickson.

  18. 2008-Nov-19, 08:42 PM

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    I don't think I've read the actual book, Tes, but I think I've read one in the series. Delusion's Master, I think... I've checked Wikipedia, and others in the series are listed, including the collection Night's Sorceries, which may be what you're thinking of.

    Lee is a fine fantasy (and SF) author - nice to see her mentioned.

  20. 2008-Nov-19, 09:44 PM

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    Sorry, can't help with any of the current searches.. but if people enjoy guessing, there's one story that I've read quite a while ago, and I can't find it anymore. I think it was a Jack Vance story. It had to do with people posing as wizards, and one person being made a wizard. I seem to remember he had somehow had a metal wire mesh put in his body to enable him to 'magically' fly.. I have vague recollection that there was some world domination war going on at the same time. What story was that? I think I read it at the same time I read the Tschai adventures, but I don't know if it was in the same book.
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    Quote Originally Posted by slang View Post
    I think it was a Jack Vance story. It had to do with people posing as wizards, and one person being made a wizard. I seem to remember he had somehow had a metal wire mesh put in his body to enable him to 'magically' fly..
    I believe that this is Vance's The Languages of Pao. The protagonist had a metal grid implanted in the soles of his feet which permitted levitation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jja View Post
    I believe that this is Vance's The Languages of Pao. The protagonist had a metal grid implanted in the soles of his feet which permitted levitation.
    That name absolutely rings a bell. Thanks!
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    Almost certainly not what you are talking about (unless you're very confused!), but one or two details recall Tim Powers' The Anubis Gates.

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    For the life of me, I cannot remember the name of a book about a spacefarer stranded on a planet and his technology is mistaken for magic. The cover has a man in glasses stepping out of an egg shaped escape pod.

    I seem to recall the story is similar to the "Connecticut Yankee" where the spaceman is trying to one up a "real wizard." When he is finally rescued he makes several amends to the wizard to put him back to his former status and also comments that "green should not be a dark color" apparently referencing the light from the sun on this planet is much dimmer than Earths.

    Anyone recognize this one?

    Solfe

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    I'm pretty sure you're thinking of The Flying Sorcerers by Larry Niven and David Gerrold. That book had lots of inside jokes. The gods of the world were science fiction writers ("Fine Line," (Heinlein) the god of engineering, for example, and I think Wells and Verne were the twin suns.) Even the main character's name was a joke. And this is a mild



    ---- SPOILER ----


    so fair warning. Late in the story the main character's name is revealed as a mistranslation by a computer. He was called "Purple" but that came from "As a muave" (Asimov).


    Edit: Just noticed the wikipedia article lists the notable names in the story:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Flying_Sorcerers#Names

    And, yes, the suns were "Virn" and "Ouells." I had forgotten about Wilville and Orbur, and Dorthi.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf1066 View Post
    It's been driving me nuts for days and some of the threads in this forum have been reminding me of it all the more. I don't know if it was a novel, a novella (in a collection) or a short story from an anthology.

    It is set on a future Earth that has been enslaved by space-faring aliens.

    The humans are controlled by an overseer called, IIRC, "Par Shavorlem" who is needlessly cruel and drives his human slaves to the brink of death.

    He's also perverted - owing to differences in physiology, their mouth/feeding parts are hidden under one of their appendages and they have evolved a societal taboo around them. Par Shavorlem keeps a human female as a pet and gets off on seeing her speak with her (brazenly exposed) mouth. The humans try to do what they can to get rid of Par Shavorlem and the ending of the story is quite interesting.

    I cannot, for the life of me, recall the name of the story or its author.

    If anyone can help identify it so I can track it down, it would be most appreciated.
    Ah yes, I remember it well. He was particularly turned on by the sight of her singing. The alien empire sent an inspector to investigate reports of the governor's misconduct (which included unlawfully importing alien labor). He was so totally hoodwinked by the governor's attempt to play the benevolent ruler that he reported back to HQ that the governor was overly lenient!

    Title? author? not a chance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by timb View Post
    Ah yes, I remember it well. He was particularly turned on by the sight of her singing. The alien empire sent an inspector to investigate reports of the governor's misconduct (which included unlawfully importing alien labor). He was so totally hoodwinked by the governor's attempt to play the benevolent ruler that he reported back to HQ that the governor was overly lenient!

    Title? author? not a chance.
    Yep, that's the fishy. I guess we'll both be most interested to find out the title and author.

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    I believe the novel with the alien overlord "Par Shavorlem" is "Bow Down to Null" by Brian Aldiss. I read the story more years ago than I like to think.

    It's an ACE double. Here is the cover.

    Here is a larger image without the lettering.

    Links to sellers can be found at www.amazon.com.
    Last edited by Humots; 2009-Jan-01 at 11:30 PM. Reason: Edited to correct link.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Humots View Post
    I believe the novel with the alien overlord "Par Shavorlem" is "Bow Down to Null" by Brian Aldiss. I read the story more years ago than I like to think.

    It's an ACE double. Here is the cover.

    Here is a larger image without the lettering.

    Links to sellers can be found at www.amazon.com.
    I just found the synopsis below at this bookseller's website. An alternate title is The Interpreter. Good work Humots! Now I can concentrate on looking for ToSeek's book -- you wouldn't believe how much time I've spent looking for the Par Shavorlem one.

    105152 ALDISS, Brian W INTERPRETER 3.00
    The time: thousands of years hence. The whole of the known Universe is dominated by the Nuls, a huge, three-armed race, almost as old as time itself. A charge of Nul corruption on an insignifigant planet called Earth ses off a dramatic chain of events. With the impending visit of a powerful Nul investigator, and the humans preparing for rebellion, Par-Chavorlem, the tyrannical commissioner of Earth, lays a devious plan. And Gary Towler, chief interpreter to the aliens, finds himself in a desperate situation. But one in which he sees a chance to liberate Earth. New English Library 126 pages spine slightly faded. Reading copy only.
    ETA: Here's a better synopsis.
    Last edited by ABR.; 2009-Jan-02 at 12:08 AM. Reason: added second link with better story synopsis

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