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20853Re: Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series

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  • pegasus48124
    Sep 20, 2009
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      Wikipedia places all the Tolkien books, the E.R. Eddison, Peake and two by Beagle and the David Lindsay in a kind of publisher's pre-series, follwed by the first actual series book "The Blue Star" by Pratt. Some of the pre-series obtained unicorns on their covers in reprints, including the Beagle books.
      My most recent reading in the Ballantine books include Bok's "Sorcerer's Ship", which I liked but found suitable for young readers and not too adult at all (it also contains an unbelievably good first person description of a sword fight on board a ship); a rereading of "Well at the World's End" by Morris, first read when I was 17. I read these slowly, a few chapters at a time while reading other books. I loved it then and I love it now, especially his ability to tell stories within stories and keep everything tied together--also the final book of Vol. 2 is amazing as the couple backtrack to Upmeads and find big changes in the world they left behind. Far from a simple recap, the story continues to progress as Ralph arrives to drive the bad guys out of his homeland just in time (shades of Tolkien when his newly returned and battle-hardened Hobbits return to save the Shire in Return of the King--this is the part of the LORs movies I wanted so badly to see, and it was not even included--instead we see four Hobbits indistinguishable from their comrades at a pub, seemingly unchanged by their adventures); Beagle's absolutely brilliant "A Fine and Private Place", especially the way he brings back at the very end the story about the seagull in Iowa told him by the Raven, which ties everything together so nicley (this book makes an odd companion novel to Iain Banks' "Crow Road"); and lastly I have just finished Pratt's "Blue Star", an odd book I didn't care for very much (it is very much an adult book). Presently I am rereading "King of Elfland's Daughter" by Dunsany.

      --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, David Lenander <d-lena@...> wrote:
      > I think that I remember _Lilith_ by MacDonald as the book that I
      > liked best, and which impacted me most. But there was an anthology
      > of 4 shorter pieces, including one of Richard Garnett's _Twilight of
      > the Gods_ stories (or maybe two) which I really liked, the four
      > Evangeline Walton *Mabinogion* books, the Joy Chant _Red Moon, Black
      > Mountain_, and all of the Dunsany, especially _The King of Elfland's
      > Daughter_, and at the time I was very taken with _Deryni Rising_ by
      > Katherine Kurtz, though that didn't wear so well for me. I like
      > Cabell better now than I did then, and for that matter, much of
      > Dunsany was too ironic for my tastes at the time. Saunders Anne
      > Laubenthal's _Excalibur_ was a big hit with a lot of people in the
      > Society, but I didn't like it quite so well, though I liked it better
      > than some of the others mentioned. I can't remember if the Peter
      > Beagle books eventually acquired the logo, but they may have been
      > part of the series, and they'd be among my top choices, too. The
      > Gormenghast Books were added to the series later on, and I loved
      > those, too. Oh, and I almost forgot Poul Anderson's _Broken Sword_
      > and _Hrolf Kraki's Saga_, which are wonderful. The latter is
      > something of a masterpiece. The Bramah Kai-Lung books are fun,
      > though didn't actually read them until long afterwards. _Vathek_ is
      > another masterpiece, and Lin Carter did something that was obvious
      > but no one else had done, he put in the short stories in the middle,
      > the ones that were told in the course of the narrative, but which
      > Beckford actually wrote later on, after publication of the original
      > edition. Another Lin Carter editorial change was to leave the poetry
      > out of _Phantastes_. His version is the only one I've read, I wonder
      > sometimes what I would think of the poetry. I didn't actually read
      > _The Man Who Was Thursday_ until much later, in another edition, but
      > it would've been a book I liked a lot if I had discovered it then.
      > Oh, and David Lindsay's _A Voyage to Arcturus_. I still don't know
      > what I think of that book, but it had a big impact on me (as it
      > clearly did on C.S. Lewis, not to mention Harold Bloom). I did like
      > _Lud-in-the-Mist_, but not to the degree that many people, especially
      > other writers, seem to love it. And I have to confess that I still
      > haven't managed to read _The Shaving of Shagpat_, despite starting it
      > several times, and even though as someone who is supposedly
      > interested in the Victorians, and particularly the Pre-Raphaelites, I
      > ought to have done so long ago. I mostly read Morris in the public
      > library, but I may have first discovered his books in the Carter
      > editions, at least the first one. I never really liked Morris in my
      > teens, but I read him dutifully, and could see how influential he
      > was. Years later, after some essay in one of the MSA-nominated
      > anthologies, I went back to the _Water of the Wondrous Isles_, which
      > I had in the Carter-edited edition, and I liked it a lot. LIkewise, I
      > finally came to appreciate Morris's "Defense of Guenivere," but that
      > wasn't part of the Ballantine Series.
      > On Sep 20, 2009, at 4:27 AM, Joe Hoopman wrote:
      > >> 1a.
      > >> Re: Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series
      > >> Posted by: "Joe Hoopman" hoopmanjh@... hoopmanjh
      > >> Sat Sep 19, 2009 9:25 pm (PDT
      > >>
      > >
      > >> Best would probably be the usual suspects: Clark Ashton Smith,
      > >> James Branch
      > >>
      > >> Cabell, Lord Dunsany (although I must say I prefer his short
      > >> stories to the
      > >> novels), Lovecraft, Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees, and maybe the
      > >> occasional William Morris or George MacDonald. And I have to say I
      > >> really
      > >> enjoyed the anthologies Lin Carter edited for the series -- Young
      > >> Magicians
      > >> and New Worlds for Old in particular.
      > >>
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      > David Lenander
      > d-lena@...
      > 2095 Hamline Ave. N.
      > Roseville, MN 55113
      > 651-292-8887
      > http://www.umn.edu/~d-lena/RIVENDELL.html
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