the 2022 reading project: Jade City by Fonda Lee

Let me start by noting that unlike many of the other reading project posts, there is a genuine spoiler alert here. Beware. If you haven’t yet read Jade City (and Jade War and Jade Legacy), they are awesome and I recommend them very highly. So go forth and read.

And I am behind on my 2022 reading project. I’d set reading through this particular list of the best 100 fantasy novels back at the beginning of 2021, but needless to say, the world got strange, through 2021 and so far through 2022. And taking heed of a piece of advice I’ve taken to heart when working with others, I’m giving myself a bit of a break and seeing what I can do on this through the rest of 2022.

Admittedly it is only Jade City that is on this particular list, but the entire trilogy, often called the Green Bone Saga, is on the 2022 Hugo award shortlist for best series and so I decided to read the whole trilogy (and I’m glad I did).

This isn’t a book review blog, but there was one thing that caught my attention in this Saga that also caught my attention in the Star Wars universe. The Green Bones were trained from childhood in the use of bioenergetic jade, focusing on six basic disciplines (channeling, deflection, lightness, strength, perception and steel). While there were some shortcuts that non-Green Bones could take, mastery required training and dedication from childhood.

The same type of training and dedication were required in the Star Wars universe for mastery of the Force. And this brought to my mind a question: if the focus were not on the use of jade for fighting, what other sorts of aspects of jade might be possible to develop. This is hinted at in the use of jade and channeling for medical purposes. I can’t help but be curious about what other things there might be, for instance through the penitents.

With the Force, my question is slightly different. Again, we get a hint of this through Yoda, and this might well be something explored somewhere in the extended Star Wars universe, but what might a very long lived being (with a life span measured in millenia, rather than decades or centuries) be able to discover about the Force.

There is for me a lesson here. though perhaps lesson is too strong a word. There is an observation here. Each story spawns a collection of other stories. Each idea calls forth other ideas, and it’s not possible for an author to explore the whole of this landscape. And each reader will have a few things that will catch their attention and that will pique their imagination.

~ by Jim Anderson on 24 April 2022.

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