Reviews of Carpet Makers, the (1995)
Review by archren (2006-02-03)
"The Carpet Makers" illustrates the best possible kind of what I consider "classic" SF. While there are interesting characters, the real point of the book is the slow revealing to the audience of how this universe works and why it came to be that way.
In the course of this, the author strays far and wide: the laborers on a dusty planet weaving carpets that take a lifetime; a bunch of revolutionaries trying to run a government now that they have won; a paralyzed king in a forgotten palace watching his world be slowly destroyed; and many others. Each vignette seems at first to stand almost alone, each bit telling *almost* a complete story. But as the book progresses, the warp and weft of the entire story starts to come into view, and one starts to see how all the vignettes tie together. Only at the very end of the book is the answer to the central question: "Why are the carpet makers making carpets?" revealed in its entirety.
Many themes are dealt with here: economics, raw power, the problems of revolution, the problems and uses of religious motivation, how economics can cause obsession, imperialism, and others.
There is a lot that is beautiful in the book. I really couldn't recommend it more highly. It exemplifies some of the best that science fiction has to offer. It may even be suitable for those among us who spurn speculative fiction and choose only literary fiction. The translation is wonderfully elegant and atmospheric. A masterpiece.