Other books, was Re: Kencyrath vs. Potter
- I have a daughter that has really enjoyed the Valdemar books, mostly has only reread mutiple times the By the Sword trilogy that was kind of an offshoot from the main series with the horsebinders. Which I guess kind of underlines the idea of them as YA books (although I have never found that to be a YA book to be a detriment) but they are have very serious adult themes of honor and courage and fleeing from abusive homes and finding/making their own life and family. So sort of orphans by choice. (I've read them too obviously, but for my Rhiannon they were standout pivotal readings).
Unfortunately, I can only think of the classic profound argument/fued between Tolkein and Lewis when it comes to an aversion to straightforward allegory in the books I read, at least when it merges with proselytizing and whacking one over the head with "Christian fiction". They seem to sanitize the pagan themes and complexity of worldviews that are so central to fantasy and science fiction. I have a daughter in law that is always reading "Christian romances" that seem really strange. Like the old 50s and 60s Bible films. I know I have a sister who has read all the books by Stephen Lawhead, that have a celtic legend twist I understand, but I still haven't read them. I'm probably missing out on a rare gem but with so many books and so little time I really don't regret it.
Back to Harry Potter, I came across an interesting tidbit. While I was working on my work paperwork I listened to a radio show interview with PC Hodgell http://www.blogtalkradio.com/liveparanormal/2011/07/28/liveparanormalcom-linda-godfreys-hotel-forteana I think someone had talked about it on here and I saved it as a favorite until I could listen.
They discuss (not in a tremendous amount of detail) influences and worrying about mistakenly copying some idea or detail from another source and then realizing it after the book has gone to print, for instance they talked about the leaves heading south/weirding as being sparked from Howls Moving Castle, but the author said no worries, she got the idea from an eight year old--Linda Godfrey a friend of Pat's and also the interviewer said it also reminded her of the constantly moving stairs in Hogwarts. Pat said she had called Ursula k. LeGuin to apologize for using the name for one of her native Gods The Eaten One that appeared in one of the Earthsea books but didn't realize it until it had gone to press, but LeGuin said "no worries".
Pat said (and I quote) "I'm a big fan of J.K. Rowling" she stated Rowling has read widely and is very imaginative in how she puts her pastiche together, the main difference between Rowling and her she said and Linda discussed with her was that Rowling has a pretty straightforward used of mythological ideas and creatures, whereas Pat's writing is always putting her own unique spin on her creatures, everything is based in something but then is totally different (getting horses so she can write about horses but then writing about rathorns and whinni-hirs) or the Earth-wife knitting foxkin bodies onto their bones, which are "cute" bats Pat said, are examples they talk about.
I'm thinking maybe I had started listening to this back in July and heard that first comment about being a big fan, I don't know. I think for me in my writing process I pick up ideas and images like a magpie and by the time I start writing am hardpressed to know sources, whether it was a dream, a book or whatever.
I thought the Commandant giving Jame the white pebbles was more or less a deus ex machina and that made me a little uncomfortable, and while it was an incredibly honorable thing to do, plus fool hardy and brave, and even absolutely necessary in retrospect as one reflects on their relationship and what he sees in her, it reminded me of the similar deus ex machina in the first Harry Potter movie, if I was a kid in one of the other houses I would have become very bitter because it so looked like favoritism and none of the rules really mattered (I think I mentioned I generally find Rowling frequently amoral, which to me is rather jarring in kids fiction, yet preferably to pedantic preaching like Victorian children's literature).
Was it orginal to Rowling, most probably not, it was a trope of snatching victory out of a certain despairing defeat, the oldest trope in the book of heroic fantasy. (and cliched cliff hanger). The hero does what she has to do anyway no matter what the consequences. We always look to fantasy for honor to be rewarded, in real life it often seems to me it is not.
I had looked at taking the only distance learning class Pat taught for the U of MN in the late 90s as it was a science fiction class, but the syllabus showed only real classics like Asimov, Heinlein and Clarke, who of course I read in my teens and probably should be taught in a basic overview class, but had left them behind decades ago. Now maybe if it covered Cordwainer Smith, or Theodore Sturgeon, or Edgar Pangborn I could have gone back there.
She had plotted out GodStalk and knew where the rest of the series was generally going to go in 1973 she said, but the route along the way has taken her on a wild ride. She said there are to be three more books about Jame (perhaps though that is a Michelle West kind of three more books) and then she hopes to be able to go back to her fantasy continuation of Ivanhoe. (she joked about wanting to make sure the series was completed during the life of the author).
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Paula Lieberman" <paal@...> wrote:
> I saw the Bethany House editions of Firebird and Fusion Fire. The forward
> to one or both said that the original edition the editor had toned down the
> sectarian focused material. I actually wasn't that impressed with the
> originally published books, I though the author deserved to get whacked over
> the head with Jane's All the World's Aircraft and Jane's All the World's
> Spacecraft and have a year's set of issues of Aviation Week & Space
> Technology (this was back when it was a thick magazine) dropped on her head,
> too.... had some of the worst cases of author blathering on failing to have
> done any actual research as to KNOWN most basic physics of flight--watch
> Star Wars three times and mention external parts of planes and "explain"
> flight mechanics based on a total lack of caring about how anything actually
> works, or breaks.... An old friend wrote a scathing review regarding "here
> we have these people who've been expensively trained with expensive
> equipment and they're being thrown away--this is not a sensible use of
> There's a general category of fiction that's Christian fiction, and has a
> lot allegory in it. It's mostly unreadably for me. There is quite a bit of
> science fiction and fantasy written for/in that category, and the revised
> Firebird and Fusion Fire and sequels wallow in
> beat-the-reader-over-the-head-levels of allegory and such. There are also
> tropes of temptation by The Enemy, etc.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Tara Marshall
> Sent: Wednesday, December 28, 2011 10:26 AM
> To: kencyr
> Subject: RE: [kencyr] Re: Kencyrath vs. Potter
> Kathy Tyers' original book was "The Firebird". She extensively re-wrote it
> and did a series based off it after becoming a born-again Christian, based
> on the idea that this is an alternate universe in which the Savior has not
> come and The Firebird is going to basically be Mary, his mom, even has her
> husband give her a new name, "Mari", as I recall (as if she really needed to
> make the theological allusions any bloody more apparent). I tend to find
> this VERY annoying, since I found her series to be a quite blatant attempt
> at evangelizing.Another military series that springs to mind would be David
> Weber's Honor Harrington novels. Most of them take place while she is in
> the active military, but there are interactions with military students when
> she goes back to teach at the Academy, flashbacks in various stories to her
> student years, and a book that focuses on the Middie cruises (first active
> duty to become fledgling officers) for some of her students.
> To go in a sillier fantasy direction, Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar books
> frequently revolve around a group of specialist horse negotiators/warriors
> with psychic talents and/or magic that go to a specialized school for them.
> I'd steer them more toward a YA than an Adult market, personally. The only
> thing I really like about the series is the equality of the genders among
> the heralds and the way it covers discrimination against gays in some of the
> earlier books and has them become more accepted into society in later
- Home from Boskone (I commuted.. stayed to almost the end of the Dead Dog
Kirien was Jedrak's choice--he introduce her to Tori as his heir in Dark of
the Moon as I recall, and Tori looking closely, noticed Kirien's gender.
Also in Dark of the Moon as I recall, the issue of who would become the new
Lord Coman was an issue, with the contestants being one who was part Ardeth,
"and quite possibly an idiot" (and proved himself such later and favored by
Adric, and a half-Caineron, whose kinship to Caldane Tori's strongest enemy
in the Kencyrath was a detriment.
The ostensible and obvious reasons for a Jaran to not want to be Lord Jaran
included losing scholarship time to having to be an administrator instead of
researcher (for the scholars) or (presumably) creating and performing songs,
and having to ride herd on the unruly community at the college along with
the Jaran. Kieran however had already been, as Lordan, functioning as an
executive at the college. A weak Shanir would not have been effective
From Kirien's perspective as a scholar and researcher, having to
do -managerial- and administrative stuff as required of a Lord, was going to
keep her from her studies--the roll of the dice going against her more than
anypne else, since her appointment to Lordan, mwant she would be the one
whose scholarship was going to suffer....
Sent: Sunday, February 19, 2012 12:32 PM
Subject: Re: [SPAM] [kencyr] Knorth Matriarch
On 2012-02-18 14:54, Paula Lieberman wrote:
> That was something more of a joke--a Lord has to be a strong Shanir and
> the ability to bind. Kirien has a close male relative not much younger
> she herself, and there are other Jaran highborn, including her father....
> Kirien being the loser in the run-from-being-Lordan sweepstakes wasn't as
> "nobody else wanted it" as the comment about it indicate. She was someone
> the other Jarn -wanted- as Lordan, otherwise the House would have objected
> (and the Jaran, being a scholarly house, would have argued incessatnly
> it--their willingness to engage in academic arguments about trivia,
> showed in Seeker's Maske...
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Pwrlftrbear@...
> Sent: Friday, December 23, 2011 12:33 PM
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: Re: [SPAM] [kencyr] Knorth Matriarch
> Actually, in the case of the Jaran, Kirien was named Lorden because as she
> said in SM, the Jaran flipped a coin and she lost.
Paula has a point, in that it was a bit more than actually flipping a coin.
Kirien's actual words were
"You might say that the entire house of Jaran flipped a coin for the post
of administrator, and I lost."
Note that * you might say* -- the Kencyr are notorious punctilious about
using accurate words.
That qualifier allows Kirien significant freedom in interpreting the
selection process without lying.[*]
Still, I do expect that more than one Jaran Highborn could have become a
had they really expressed a willingness.
[*] It also allows Pat significant freedom in describing Jaran internal
should she wish so in the future :-)