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30Re: 1998 Fantasy Books

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  • David Lenander
    Dec 7, 1998
      Responding to the message of
      from mythsoc@onelist.com:
      > From: Matthew Winslow <mwinslow@...>
      . . .
      > I just received the latest issue of Locus with the forthcoming books list,
      > and next year looks to be thin also. There's a new Gaiman or two, but
      > that's about all that stands out in my mind.

      Well, the new Gaiman collection (out last month) is looking very fine. I've
      only read the first few stories, but I'd put it on at least the preliminary
      nominations. I'd say it's superior to the novel from last year.

      As to "best in years" for the new McKillip, (which people keep saying about
      every new McKillip), I don't know how she can keep getting better towards some
      previous hight point year unless there's been a decline. I don't think that
      there ever was. It is true that no single book has haunted me or impressed me
      (more in retrospect and rereading than on first reading) more than FORGOTTEN
      BEASTS, which I DID vote for when it was a finalist for the MFA in the 70s, but
      I am not sure that WINTER ROSE or STEPPING FROM THE SHADOWS or really any of her
      books have represented to me a falling off in her abilities and talents. She's
      writing different books, and a few (MOON & THE FACE, perhaps) haven't impressed
      me greatly, but I am not sure this is because the books were any less worthy.
      In many respects WINTER ROSE is as fine a book as she has done. The success of
      FORGOTTEN BEASTS was partly because she attempted less. McKillip has grown
      considerably as a writer, and she attempts things that are sometimes beyond
      ??her strengths? But they are perhaps beyond any writer's strengths. Or maybe
      she's simply passed beyond the ken of this reader, maybe permanently, or perhaps
      in time I might come to understand what she's done. Any new book from her
      probably belongs almost automatically on at least the preliminary list. Has any
      other current fantasy genre writer been more consistently good?

      On the children's list, I'm interested in reading THE KEY TO THE INDIAN, it will
      be interesting to see if Banks can dig herself out of the hole she tumbled into:
      this looks to be some form of apology or attempt to redeem the problems of her
      earlier book(s) with handling Native American Indian material. Her last book,
      the Mystery of the Cupboard was her best book so far, but she largely avoided
      the Amerindian difficulties by retreating to Victorian/Edwardian England.

      Pam Dean's Rosemary & Juniper book won't make my final list, though I enjoyed
      reading it.

      David Lenander, Library Manager I
      Bio-Medical Library Access Services work: (612)626-3375
      Circulation, Core Collections & Reserve Desks home: (651)292-8887
      Diehl Hall/505 Essex SE fax: (612)626-2454
      University of Minnesota
      Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455

      e-mail: d-lena@...
      web-page: http://www.tc.umn.edu/nlhome/m391/d-lena/BirdnBab.html
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