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Re: Stardust & other nominees from '99

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  • David Lenander
    I certainly don t agree that the other four nominees were clearly better than _Stardust_. I was on the committee, too, and while I wasn t entirely happy with
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 5, 2004
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      I certainly don't agree that the other four nominees were clearly
      better than _Stardust_. I was on the committee, too, and while I
      wasn't entirely happy with _Stardust_, and I vaguely don't think it was
      my first choice, I thought that both _High House_ and _Beyond the Wave_
      were badly flawed, the former, in particular, was rather pedestrianly
      written, and the McKillip was very strong (but then, she almost always
      is, I suppose some judges feel that we simply can't give the award to
      her every year), and the de Lint was one of his finest books ever (and
      I was rather hoping that he'd finally win that year, but I vaguely
      remember that I didn't list that first on my ballot, either--probably
      because at the time I thought that at least the McKillip and/or the
      Gaiman was a superior book). On the other hand, despite some
      reservations about _Stardust_, I thought (based upon the
      non-illustrated version) that it was clearly (in my view) better than
      the Klein and Stoddard, and that it was written with great skill and
      fluency, and its dialogue with such earlier writers as Lord Dunsany,
      William Morris, Hope Mirrles and probably others I'm forgetting at the
      moment gave it a meta-mythopoeic resonance that raised it above the
      purely story level (which, as I noted, was lovely in itself). I will
      admit feeling that a couple of scenes were jarring for me--I can't
      recall exactly if it was just the gratuitous sex scene to which Mary
      objected, I seem to recall some gore and character behavior that
      bothered me--but I could certainly see why the book won. I'd note that
      while they seemed flawed to me, I enjoyed both of the books by Stoddard
      and Klein. The Stoddard was also offering homage to many of the great
      Fantasy writers of yore, but much more clumsily than the Gaiman, and
      what I actually found most intriguing were possibly original elements,
      which I thought might be some form of homage to Chesterton, and which I
      now suspect were probably actually derived from Blackwood--perhaps if
      I'd read Blackwood then I'd have understood the book better. The Klein
      annoyed me, but in a way that intrigued me--it may have been the most
      in the tradition of CSL and to a lesser degree, Charles Williams, and
      while I don't remember it as clearly as the others, and I think in the
      end it went rather badly wrong (I mean as an artistic work, not
      necessarily that the message was one with which I disagreed, though I
      think it was), it might be the one that I ought most to go back and
      reread. I do think that all five of these books would still be worth
      reading for anyone who hasn't tried them. Choices by panels of judges
      are of necessity compromises, and sometimes the "winner" is only
      everyone's second choice. Incidentally, when I finally saw the
      Vess-illustrated copy, I could appreciate why Gaiman thought that that
      version was so superior, and that the illustrations had been so
      integral to the development and achievement of the story, but I didn't
      find that it changed my opinion of the book at all--even though I quite
      liked the Vess illustrations. I still don't understand this.

      On Aug 5, 2004, at 8:15 AM, mythsoc@yahoogroups.com wrote:

      > From: Jack jack@...
      > Date: Tue, 3 Aug 2004 13:01:35 -0400
      > To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Stardust by Neil Gaiman
      >> I read Stardust while I was in San Diego. I understand that this title
      >> won a Mythopoeic Fantasy award. What I don't understand is how it won
      >> a
      >> Mythopoeic Fantasy Award. I found the novel flat, uninspiring, and not
      >> particularly well written.
      >> Were the other nominees that year really that bad?
      > Actually each was better than Stardust with The High House the most
      > mythopoec.
      > 1999
      > (Adult)
      > * *Stardust by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess
      > * Someplace to be Flying by Charles de Lint
      > * The History of our World Beyond the Wave by R.E. Klein
      > * Song for the Basilisk by Patricia A. McKillip
      > * The High House by James Stoddard
      David Lenander
      d-lena@... or david_lenander@...
      2095 Hamline Ave. N.
      Roseville, MN 55113
      651-292-8887 or 651-697-1807
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