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18419Re: [mythsoc] Expecting Another Tolkien

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  • David Bratman
    Jun 25, 2007
      At 11:07 AM 6/25/2007 -0700, John D Rateliff wrote:

      >Afraid that can't explain my reaction, since I read TOMBS first, with
      >no preconceptions whatsoever about who should be in it. It was the
      >first fantasy I read after discovering Tolkien, handed to me by
      >someone who said "If you liked Tolkien, you'll like this".

      Oh dear. That kind of salesmanship was the bane of my existence throughout
      my teens, so I sympathize. The problem is that other books may be good,
      but while you're anxiously waiting for _The Silmarillion_ to be published,
      nothing by anybody else will scratch that Tolkien itch.

      A few books I read in those days were good enough on their own terms, and
      sufficiently individual and distinctive as LOTR was, to overcome this
      burden: the Earthsea books and _Watership Down_ among them. Others, like
      the Conan stories, had nothing in common with Tolkien except for having
      heroism in a vaguely barbaric setting, and I couldn't figure out why people
      were recommending them to me at all.

      >--for the 1980s I would pick THE BRIDGE OF BIRDS for that honor.

      A delightful, colorful book. But not what I would call a great fantasy by
      any standard. The book from that decade, indeed even the very same year,
      that I keep returning to is _Fire and Hemlock_, which I still consider
      Diana Wynne Jones's best.
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