Re: [mythsoc] Recent Fantasy
- In a message dated 06/30/2000 8:30:06 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
<< Diane wrote about Jordan:
> I *knew* I was in for a long haul ... He needed to take out theThe Saint Martin's Press rep who comes to my store gives me occasional
> incidental materials and "cut to the chase." >>
gossippy tidbits about Jordan, who has been getting more and more coy about
how many books there are going to be. However, the rep says the upcoming
instalment, due in November, will advance the plot considerably. A lot is
going to happen, evidently, unlike what I've heard about the last one, which
I haven't read yet (I'm waiting until the whole series is done, and hoping I
live that long). Apparently, Jordan has been getting intimations of
impatience from his fans. Let's hope so.
Meanwhile, I'm really looking forward to the new George Martin!
- On Sun, 2 Jul 2000, Bill wrote:
> This was the point I was trying to make. For years after the LinBut it wasn't because fantasy, the genre, went into decline.
> Carter line ended, most of the classics he reprinted went out of print
> again. Only recently have some lesser publishers brought a few out and
> DelRey recently reprinted two Dunsanys in trade paperback.
> Being in the book selling business for 12 years now, I still feel itIndeed. As I said, the vein of classics had been tapped out: the books
> was lack of sales that persuaded the new owners not to continue it as it
had sold to those who were interested, and weren't selling many more, and
Carter was beginning to run out of top-notch work that was a) available
to reprint and b) was in the specific subgenre in which he was
interested. When I said that fantasy had not ceased to sell, I meant
fantasy in general, not those books in particular. My main point was
that they _never_ sold in large quantities to the sort of people fueling
the fantasy boom now. This had nothing to do with whether there was a
fantasy boom on or not. The Unicorn's Head books were a prestige series
for Ballantine, which never sold particularly well.
> Also the McKillip RiddleMaster books. A great time to haunt the sfThe first two Riddle Master books, having already appeared in hardcover
> section of the bookstores.
from Atheneum, came out in Del Rey paperbacks the following year, 1978.
(The third book had not yet appeared at all: it came out the next year.)
Yes, Del Rey was still publishing some good fantasy then, and it's useful
to remember that.
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- Bill -
You need not convince me of the startling similarities between Tolkien
and Donaldson, Eddings, etc. Nor is there any question whence these
But beyond that, a specific formula has grown up, out of this general
form, which Tolkien does not follow, and which makes him disappointing to
those who are expecting it.
Not being gifted with this mindset, it's difficult for me to describe it,
but among the stumbling-blocks which readers of this sort find in LOTR
are the very scanty and unsystematized use of magic, and the long
meandering opening section before the adventure really gets going, along
with various "slack" passages thereafter.
Don't take my word for it: ask your customers. Certainly Tolkien is still
popular among many, even the young, but you will also find many young
readers who've grown up on later fantasists and who find Tolkien very
difficult or uninteresting.
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- Lisa -
Since the panel description on the Chicon website reads "J.R.R. Tolkien
and C.S. Lewis are the best known of the group, but there were other
Inklings too," it seems to me that what you're really on is a Charles
Williams panel. He's the real "other" Inkling, and the only other one
who wrote fantasy, so he's the one you should focus on. And it so
happens that since our book of Williams has actually been published, I'll
bring a copy along and you can show it off on the panel.
Sayers can also be mentioned, but she was a Friend Of, not an Inkling.
The other Inklings most worth mentioning, to an audience which doesn't
want the boring scholarly blither that I'd probably contribute if I were
a panelist, are:
W.H. Lewis - CSL's brother, author of some delightful volumes on French
history of the Louis XIV period (especially _The Splendid Century_) and a
superb diarist: selections of his diaries have been published under the
title _Brothers and Friends_, and are a good picture of CSL as well as
interesting in their own right.
Nevill Coghill - a literature professor at Oxford, he specialized in
drama and directed some notable Shakespeare productions, as well as
Richard Burton's film of Marlowe's _Doctor Faustus_; but to a literary
audience he should be most noted for his fine translation of Chaucer's
_Canterbury Tales_, in the Penguin edition.
Owen Barfield - somebody other than me will have to try to boil him into
a paragraph, but essentially he was a philosopher of language whose
thought deeply influenced both Lewis and Tolkien and enriched their
work. The Barfield books to start with are _Poetic Diction_ and _Saving
the Appearances_: the latter in particular will be appreciated by anybody
who was interested by Julian Jaynes's _The Origin of Consciousness in the
Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind_. Barfield's influence on Tolkien is
well described in _A Question of Time_ by Verlyn Flieger.