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18295Re: [mythsoc] Farewell, Lloyd Alexander

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  • David Bratman
    May 30, 2007
      At 05:18 PM 5/30/2007 -0700, John D Rateliff wrote:

      >Good point, David. Yes, I was blurring the early/mid 70s with the
      >writers from the 60s you had listed. Interesting that poor old Lin
      >Carter devoted the Postscript of his A LOOK BEHIND 'THE LORD OF THE
      >RINGS' (1969) to those same three, in that same sequence, as the
      >first to show influence from JRRT, so I guess it's a judgment that's
      >stood the test of time.

      It has indeed. Carter's flaws were many, but in those days he really knew
      the fantasy field.

      Ironically, even as he was writing _Look Behind_, three new books were
      coming out by then little-known authors (Beagle, Bellairs, and Le Guin)
      which expanded both the quantity, and what I guess you'd call the maturity
      of Tolkien-evoking fantasy, and he didn't see them in time. Never mind, he
      praised them all, along with Joy Chant and Evangeline Walton, in his next
      nonfiction book, _Imaginary Worlds_, four years later. In the interim he'd
      published Chant and Walton himself, and I think his comments on _The Face
      in the Frost_ were probably more responsible for that book's original
      reputation than anything else was.

      >I rather like the idea of that having been a golden age of post-
      >Tolkienian fantasy, before the Tolk-clones hit big in the mid-70s
      >(early Donaldson, Brooks, and, rather later but worst of all,
      >Keirnan). Most of what I've re-read of this material in recent years
      >holds up extremely well; I'll have to make a point of working my way
      >back round to some of the others.

      This was a period during which those of us who liked fantasy read
      absolutely everything new that came out. And I remember our bewilderment
      at the sudden advent of giant trilogies and other series that really
      weren't very good. First it was Neil Hancock (remember him?), then the
      stunningly awful Terry Brooks, then Donaldson, who had his merits but was
      just ...

      It was a little bit like: you live in a small town of cranky old houses and
      an occasional newer building in the same style. Every time a new neighbor
      moves to town, you go over and greet them and they're always interested in
      learning about the town's customs and habits.

      Suddenly a developer comes and builds a vast tract of identikit box-like
      houses on the edge of town, and a lot of new people move in who not only
      aren't interested in the way things have always been done, they consider
      their area to be the real town, and the old town to be an appendical old
      slum district.
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