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Re: Essential fantasy (Guy Kay)

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  • volkerthemadfiddler
    ... out ... This was one of my favorite parts about Three Hearts and Three Lions by Anderson. The main character was a WWII era engineer and even in the
    Message 1 of 16 , Jul 19, 2004
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      --- In Fantasy_Books@yahoogroups.com, "Leigh L." <leighlo@r...>
      wrote:
      > > Actually, the Fionavar Tapestry are the only works of Kay that
      > > *aren't* historical fiction (that I know of). They are much
      > > more 'fantasy' oriented than anything else he has written.
      > > There's dragons, magic, dwarves, elves (lios alfar), wizards,
      > > etc. They are simply fantastic. I highly, highly encourage
      > > anyone who loves good, old-fashioned epic fantasy to read
      > > them. You will not be disappointed.
      >
      > Strangely, while I love epic fantasy to the point of reading very
      > little else, The Fionavar Tapestry didn't do nearly as much for me
      > as the rest of Kay's work that I've read to date: Tigana and, far
      > more importantly, A Song for Arbonne. The Fionavar stuff was
      > entertaining enough, but the 'real world' connection often stood
      out
      > as clumsy -

      This was one of my favorite parts about "Three Hearts and Three
      Lions" by Anderson. The main character was a WWII era engineer and
      even in the fantasy setting he continued to think like an engineer-
      even to the point of pondering the chemcial reaction which made it
      possible for dragons to breathe fire.

      Volker the Mad Fiddler (extra points for anyone who identifies the
      source of the name)
    • Ken Ogilvy
      ... I am not sure of this but I think Kay wrote the Fionavar series to get his foot in the door. If you look at his books as he wrote them they slowly move
      Message 2 of 16 , Jul 20, 2004
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        --- Colin <ashenbow@...> wrote:
        >
        > Actually, the Fionavar Tapestry are the only works
        > of Kay that *aren't* historical fiction (that I know
        > of). They are much more 'fantasy' oriented than
        > anything else he has written. There's dragons,
        > magic, dwarves, elves (lios alfar), wizards, etc.
        > They are simply fantastic. I highly, highly
        > encourage anyone who loves good, old-fashioned epic
        > fantasy to read them. You will not be disappointed.
        >
        >
        I am not sure of this but I think Kay wrote the
        Fionavar series to get his foot in the door. If you
        look at his books as he wrote them they slowly move
        from Epic Fantasy to his pseudo historical fantasy.
        It's not even historical. He takes locations, like
        Proviance, France for A Song For Arbonne to Rome for
        Sailing to Sarantium. He takes the location and time
        and spins his own story.

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      • pq
        ... I d like to make the case /for/ Tolkien. Though it s true that fantasy had a long and distinguished history in British literature, and we can see how
        Message 3 of 16 , Jul 20, 2004
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          On Jul 19, 2004, at 6:12 AM, volkerthemadfiddler wrote:

          > From: "" <garkutch@...>
          > Subject: Re:
          >
          > --- In Fantasy_Books@yahoogroups.com, "Colin" <ashenbow@y...> wrote:
          >> --- In Fantasy_Books@yahoogroups.com, "OJ" <oj_stapleton@y...>
          > wrote:
          >>> We got into a discussion of essential fantasy on another board,
          >> and I
          >>> came up with my own top 10 list. Here is what I came up with,
          > just
          >>> wondering what some of the folks on this board think.
          >>>
          >>> #1) The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein - This is where it
          > all
          >>> started. It's not as accessable as some later fantasy work, but I
          >>> still think you have to start any list of essentials with
          > Tolkein.
          >>
          >> While I would have to agree that Tolkien belongs in the list of
          >> essential fantasy, his books are hardly "where it all started".
          > Even
          >> Tolkien himself admitted to writing the books in an attempt to
          >> return the 'fairy story' to the forefront of the general
          > population
          >> (my words, not his).
          >>
          > Aye. Tolkien drew heavily on Norse and Celtic mythology. I would
          > personally call Robert E. Howard the father of modern fantasy rather
          > than Tolkien (even though Tolkien was definitely the more
          > accomplished author.).
          >

          I'd like to make the case /for/ Tolkien.

          Though it's true that fantasy had a long and distinguished history in
          British literature, and we can see how Tolkien was influenced by such
          Victorians as William Morris, George MacDonald, Lord Dunsany, and
          others; and you can point to E.R. Eddison's The Worm Ouroboros coming
          out in the 1920s, and his Zimiamvian Trilogy coming in the 30s-40s; and
          while in America Weird Tales in the 20s and 30s was publishing Merrit,
          Lovecraft, Howard, and others, and Howard's Conan novel was reprinted
          in the 50s in the "Historical Romance/Swashbuckling" boomlet, just
          about the same time TLOR was published, these were only fashions and
          fads, appearing, and then receding in the tides.

          So I wonder where the *current* boomlet in Fantasy began? In the early
          60s, Ballantine started putting out Edgar Rice Burroughs' tales, have a
          successful run with the Tarzan and Barsoom/Mar series. Ballantine also
          reissued Hobbit and LOTR in paperback editions, and Ace, trying to take
          advantage of a murky copyright situation, issued a version of LOTR as
          well, until Tolkien, Ballantine, and their lawyers cleared up the
          rights. Ace (I think) about this time started putting out the L
          Sprague deCamp/Lin Carter editions of the Conan tales, and they were a
          hit. In the US, I think it was another small house, can't remember the
          name of it, that put out Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champions
          novels/series.

          But LOTR was THE big seller. Somehow it caught fire with the hippies
          and counterculture folk, and older readers found surprising depth in
          the tale, writing college term papers equating the Ring with the Atom
          Bomb. In fact the popularity of LOTR inspired Ballantine to come out
          with related gear -- calendars from the Brothers Hildebrandt, calendars
          from Frank Frazetta, and art books featuring Frazetta and others like
          Kay Nielsen... then they hired Lin Carter to edit a line for them,
          "Adult Fantasy" which consisted of exactly those older stories that
          probably inspired Tolkien; forgotten terrific tales of fantasy from the
          Victorians and Edwardians. This line BOMBED!

          Lin Carter and the Ballantines parted ways in the early-mid 70s, and
          hired Lester del Rey. Del Rey found a small book, inspired at its
          origin by LOTR but really more leaning toward Edgar Rice Burroughs in
          its plot construction and fast action pace, and then del Rey hired the
          Bros. Hildebrandt to paint the cover, and interior illustrations. It
          was a little opus called The Sword of Shannara, and if you looked at
          any of the ad copy, you'll see it everywhere: "Like Lord of the Rings!"
          ... "Not since Lord of the Rings..." This book was a NYTimes
          bestseller, and the race was on. Del Rey continued his fantasy line,
          and for a long time he went always back to that mother lode, the
          Tolkienesque trilogy, out of which "Epic Fantasy" as we know it today
          was born. The Thomas the Covenant series, and others.

          Many of these books have gone out of print over the years, some
          returning; LOTR and the Hobbit have remained in print continuously
          since the 60s and LOTR, by some standards, is the best-selling book in
          the World written in the 20th century. That's the best-selling author
          of the century!

          We on this list have read tons of fantasy books. A lot of our lists
          have common titles; but there is only one title, I'd bet, that we have
          all read, and that everyone who tends toward fantasy has read: LOTR.

          Now a new boomlet is starting on JK Rowling's Harry Potter coat-tails,
          and I'll bet that a bunch of kids have started into fantasy via Mr
          Potter before finding LOTR.

          But I'll still say, "Tolkien is where it all began" -- at least as far
          as everything since 1965.

          So, there's my rant.

          pond
        • Colin
          I know...I ve read The Lions of Al-Rasaad , The Sarantine Mosaic , and started Tigana . I just found them all really boring. Not enough action for my
          Message 4 of 16 , Jul 20, 2004
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            I know...I've read "The Lions of Al-Rasaad", "The Sarantine Mosaic", and started "Tigana". I just found them all really boring. Not enough action for my liking. They should make a new genre for books like this...the fantasy melodrama. Like "chick flicks" for the fantasy genre (sorry ladies, no offense meant by that statement...used just for illustrative purposes). I know alot of people disagree with me on this, but I think Kay should have stuck with Fionavar.

            On another note, just finished Greg Keyes' "Briar King". I enjoyed it immensely. Can't wait until the sequel comes out in August. :)



            I am not sure of this but I think Kay wrote the
            Fionavar series to get his foot in the door. If you
            look at his books as he wrote them they slowly move
            from Epic Fantasy to his pseudo historical fantasy.
            It's not even historical. He takes locations, like
            Proviance, France for A Song For Arbonne to Rome for
            Sailing to Sarantium. He takes the location and time
            and spins his own story.

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          • Jane Gray
            I too love Guy s Tigana and Song for Arbonne and also Loins. I read the Fionavar trilogy and enjoyed it. But agree with you that the real world connection
            Message 5 of 16 , Jul 20, 2004
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              I too love Guy's Tigana and Song for Arbonne and also Loins. I read the
              Fionavar trilogy and enjoyed it.
              But agree with you that the "real world" connection was a little clumsy. But
              my main problem with it was the characters all seemed to fit so neatly in
              the normal "fantasy" boxes,
              The characters in his later novels I found to be more rounded, less black
              and white.
              I have recently read "Last Light of the Sun" and was a little disappointed.
              Can't say excalty why, could be that I was looking forward to it so much
              that it didn't have the chance to stand up. Or it could be that I have
              recently been reading the Edda's and saga's, which of course were his
              inspiration.
              Jane
              Hippygoth

              > Strangely, while I love epic fantasy to the point of reading very
              > little else, The Fionavar Tapestry didn't do nearly as much for me
              > as the rest of Kay's work that I've read to date: Tigana and, far
              > more importantly, A Song for Arbonne. The Fionavar stuff was
              > entertaining enough, but the 'real world' connection often stood out
              > as clumsy - in fact I very nearly didn't make it past the first few
              > pages, it all seemed so contrived and shoddily put together. I'm
              > glad I persisted with it, but I still wouldn't place Fionavar
              > anywhere on the list of fantasy classics, while Arbonne would be
              > right up there near the top.
              >
              > Anyone read his latest - The Last Light of the Sun? Sounds good, but
              > I've got Lions and Sarantium to get through first. :)
              >
              > - Leigh
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
            • jennifermacaire
              Fantasy is nice because there is such a broad range of books to choose from. I loved LOTR trilogy, and The Hobbit , of course. But I would also include The
              Message 6 of 16 , Jul 21, 2004
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                Fantasy is nice because there is such a broad range of books to
                choose from. I loved LOTR trilogy, and 'The Hobbit', of course. But
                I would also include 'The Last Unicorn', 'Sariel', and the Harry
                Potter series to my list of favorites, along with Lloyd Alexander's
                books and the Chronicles of Narnia.

                Jennifer

                www.jennifermacaire.com
              • M G
                The Last Unicorn is my all-time favorite book! And by Sariel do you mean Sabriel ? If so I love that book too! And Lirael and Abhorsen (the continuing
                Message 7 of 16 , Jul 21, 2004
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                  The 'Last Unicorn' is my all-time favorite book! And by "Sariel" do you mean 'Sabriel'? If so I love that book too! And 'Lirael' and 'Abhorsen' (the continuing books). Not too much of a Harry Potter fan, but *shrugs*. Um...Patrica A. Mickillip is also a great author.

                  ttyl
                  Mike
                  jennifermacaire <jennifermacaire@...> wrote:
                  Fantasy is nice because there is such a broad range of books to
                  choose from. I loved LOTR trilogy, and 'The Hobbit', of course. But
                  I would also include 'The Last Unicorn', 'Sariel', and the Harry
                  Potter series to my list of favorites, along with Lloyd Alexander's
                  books and the Chronicles of Narnia.

                  Jennifer

                  www.jennifermacaire.com





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                  "What lies beneath is the same in man and beast, and leads always to the same end: struggle and pain and blood, victim and victor. The sword is but an echo of the talon and the fang. Call yourself man if you will, as if that were something unique and holy; but you are a beast as I am, and ever will be."



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