Ancestral Night 4: Not explaining things


Elizabeth Bear deliberately chooses to withhold explanations of many key facts and terms concerning her invented world. Some get to be explained later in the book: others are left to your own imagination and discretion. She also evidently likes making up cool names for gadgets, actions, and attitudes. Did you like her style or find it annoying?


  • 1

    I'd have liked a bit less explanation of things, or at least more artful explanations. I've already said that I glazed over at some of the wodges of exposition.

    Saying that, I don't think there was much I was really confused about in the book. Not everything was explained in full, but I got enough of the gist of things that I understood the implications the characters understood.

  • 2

    This is not something I'm usually bothered by. In fact, sometimes I wish authors would leave some things unexplained, especially when the explanations are not that convincing. But here I had no issues.

  • 1

    I liked it, especially in such a discursive structure. And agreeing with @Apocryphal and going further I think it makes books better. If you need or want to put it use appendices like LOTR for everything not germane to plot-action. Or likein Guns Above, give us a labelled picture we can flip back to.

  • 2

    I enjoyed it. most of the times you can understand it immediately from context. If not, you can pick up bits and put them together as you find them. It's a fun thing and I wish more authors would do it as well as Bear does.

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