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  • Joan Marie Verba
    ... mwinslow@firinn.org responded... ... or ... And I agree with Matthew Winslow. When I finished the Lord of the Rings, my first thought was where can I get
    Message 1 of 7 , Sep 24, 2000
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      >WendellWag@... [WendellWag@...] wrote:
      >> The discussion about what books are similar to the Gormenghast books
      >brings
      >> up an interesting point. I don't find it very useful to ask, after
      >reading a
      >> good novel, if there are any other books like it. I don't want to read
      >> another book that manages to copy some aspect of one I liked. I want to
      >read
      >> a book that's good in a different way.
      >
      mwinslow@... responded...
      >And that's a very valid opinion to have. But to give the other side of the
      >coin: when I read a book that I find interesting, I usually find myself
      >wanting to read more along the same line, whether it is because of style
      or
      >thematic content or whatnot.

      And I agree with Matthew Winslow. When I finished the Lord of the Rings, my
      first thought was "where can I get more of this? or something similar?"
      It's true that some Tolkien imitations (e.g. Lord Foul's Bane, Sword of
      Shannara) were not very good. But I've found other books (e.g. Dark of the
      Moon, which I consider a work of genius) which have given me the same
      feeling of satisfaction that Lord of the Rings did; I wish there were more
      of those.

      Joan

      ***************************************************
      Joan Marie Verba verba001@...
      Mythopoeic Press Secretary, Mythopoeic Society
      List Administrator for DocEx, Mythsoc, MNSCBWI and
      MNSCREENW lists
      http://www.sff.net/people/Joan.Marie.Verba
      ****************************************************
    • WendellWag@aol.com
      The discussion about what books are similar to the Gormenghast books brings up an interesting point. I don t find it very useful to ask, after reading a good
      Message 2 of 7 , Sep 25, 2000
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        The discussion about what books are similar to the Gormenghast books brings
        up an interesting point. I don't find it very useful to ask, after reading a
        good novel, if there are any other books like it. I don't want to read
        another book that manages to copy some aspect of one I liked. I want to read
        a book that's good in a different way.

        Furthermore, even when an author manages to copy something from a good novel,
        they usually copy some minor, irrelevant aspect of the book. The problem
        with the Tolkien clones is that they generally picked the least interesting
        ideas from Tolkien to copy, and they misunderstood the significance of what
        they copied. Imagine what sort of junk we're going to get for the next few
        years as authors try to turn out Harry Potter clones.

        Wendell Wagner
      • ERATRIANO@aol.com
        In a message dated 09/25/2000 10:24:01 AM Eastern Daylight Time, WendellWag@aol.com writes:
        Message 3 of 7 , Sep 25, 2000
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          In a message dated 09/25/2000 10:24:01 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
          WendellWag@... writes:

          << Imagine what sort of junk we're going to get for the next few
          years as authors try to turn out Harry Potter clones. >>

          And if that's not bad enough, consider them getting published while oneself
          may not. LOL.

          Lizzie
        • Matthew Winslow
          ... And that s a very valid opinion to have. But to give the other side of the coin: when I read a book that I find interesting, I usually find myself wanting
          Message 4 of 7 , Sep 25, 2000
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            WendellWag@... [WendellWag@...] wrote:
            > The discussion about what books are similar to the Gormenghast books brings
            > up an interesting point. I don't find it very useful to ask, after reading a
            > good novel, if there are any other books like it. I don't want to read
            > another book that manages to copy some aspect of one I liked. I want to read
            > a book that's good in a different way.

            And that's a very valid opinion to have. But to give the other side of the
            coin: when I read a book that I find interesting, I usually find myself
            wanting to read more along the same line, whether it is because of style or
            thematic content or whatnot. A single author can look at things from his or
            her point of view, but that is just one voice and to leave myself there at
            that point is to do the topic (whatever it may be) a disservice. Rather, I
            want to go out and look at other 'takes' on the same or similar topic and from
            that form a well-developed opinion about the topic.

            One does not need to read anything other than LOTR to know that LOTR is a very
            good work, but it is the height of arrogance, I feel, to declare that it is
            the /best/ at whatever it is best at without having first dined at the table
            of other authors.

            Or to relate it to Gormenghast: when I originally read the 'trilogy,' I
            discovered there a brooding sense of man's own perverse ridiculousness. Peake
            moved me to consider the absurdities that come from isolating one's self
            within the confines of one's 'castle.' But to leave my exploration of that
            topic at just Peake would have been to say that the discussion of this topic
            was complete (as far as I was concerned) with Peake and myself.

            I think, though, that we live in an age that cherishes novelty, so we
            immediately make the assumption that anything written 'in the tradition of' is
            also a copy. A good deal of it is -- or at least is lacking in personal vision
            and is instead consciously trying to mimic the vision of the original rather
            than put one's own vision into the work (if the work can be said to even have
            a vision). But that doesn't mean that works of similar ideas are all copies,
            and to assume that is dangerous at best.

            We may live in an era of copies and clones, but let us not throw the baby out
            with the bathwater.

            --
            Matthew Winslow mwinslow@... http://x-real.firinn.org/
            "When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and
            clothes."
            --Desiderius Erasmus
            Currently reading: Wheel of the Infinite by Martha Wells
          • alexeik@aol.com
            In a message dated 9/25/0 3:03:50 PM, Matthew Winslow wrote:
            Message 5 of 7 , Sep 25, 2000
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              In a message dated 9/25/0 3:03:50 PM, Matthew Winslow wrote:

              << Rather, I
              want to go out and look at other 'takes' on the same or similar topic and from
              that form a well-developed opinion about the topic.

              One does not need to read anything other than LOTR to know that LOTR is a very
              good work, but it is the height of arrogance, I feel, to declare that it is
              the /best/ at whatever it is best at without having first dined at the table
              of other authors.

              Or to relate it to Gormenghast: when I originally read the 'trilogy,' I
              discovered there a brooding sense of man's own perverse ridiculousness. Peake
              moved me to consider the absurdities that come from isolating one's self
              within the confines of one's 'castle.' But to leave my exploration of that
              topic at just Peake would have been to say that the discussion of this topic
              was complete (as far as I was concerned) with Peake and myself.>>

              I'm a little confused here, because you seem to be implying that all fiction
              is written like an essay on a "topic", and that different novels on the same
              "topic" can be compared to each other like essays. While there is indeed
              something called the "novel of ideas" which is a dramatised argument of
              intellectual positions, either as allegory or as explicit discussion using
              characters as mouthpieces (and this in itself is a perfectly worthy literary
              genre), I don't see either Tolkien or Peake fitting into that mould. Rather
              their work is the product of an unusually rich and many-faceted experience of
              the world, not easily reducible to a set of well-defined "topics"; and it is
              through sharing this experience in ways other than intellectual exposition
              that they make such a strong impression on the reader. This applies
              particularly to Peake: yes, there's a facile allegorical interpretation to
              the story's most general themes; but that's not where its power lies. What
              makes Peake's prose so bewitching is his painterly sensitivity to important
              details, and the compassion that is always there even in his most grotesque
              caricatures. The impact of this art is not something that could be reproduced
              by just writing another claustrophobic story about a big house with eccentric
              inhabitants.
              Alexei
            • Mary Kay Kare
              ... Indeed. I m a fool for historical novels set in ancient Egypt. I ve read lots of them and they re all very different. The good ones are all illuminating
              Message 6 of 7 , Sep 25, 2000
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                Matthew Winslow wrote:
                >
                > WendellWag@... [WendellWag@...] wrote:
                > > The discussion about what books are similar to the Gormenghast books brings
                > > up an interesting point. I don't find it very useful to ask, after reading a
                > > good novel, if there are any other books like it. I don't want to read
                > > another book that manages to copy some aspect of one I liked. I want to read
                > > a book that's good in a different way.
                >
                > And that's a very valid opinion to have. But to give the other side of the
                > coin: when I read a book that I find interesting, I usually find myself
                > wanting to read more along the same line, whether it is because of style or
                > thematic content or whatnot. A single author can look at things from his or
                > her point of view, but that is just one voice and to leave myself there at
                > that point is to do the topic (whatever it may be) a disservice. Rather, I
                > want to go out and look at other 'takes' on the same or similar topic and from
                > that form a well-developed opinion about the topic.

                Indeed. I'm a fool for historical novels set in ancient Egypt. I've
                read lots of them and they're all very different. The good ones are
                all illuminating in different ways, but they're all about ancient
                Egypt. And the people who lived there.

                MKK
              • David S. Bratman
                ... Isn t there an in-between here? How about a book that s good in roughly the same way without (either intentionally or unintentionally) copying the first
                Message 7 of 7 , Sep 29, 2000
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                  On Mon, 25 Sep 2000 WendellWag@... wrote:

                  > The discussion about what books are similar to the Gormenghast books brings
                  > up an interesting point. I don't find it very useful to ask, after reading a
                  > good novel, if there are any other books like it. I don't want to read
                  > another book that manages to copy some aspect of one I liked. I want to read
                  > a book that's good in a different way.

                  Isn't there an in-between here? How about a book that's good in roughly
                  the same way without (either intentionally or unintentionally) copying
                  the first one?

                  Surely, for instance, if one discovers through reading Tolkien that one
                  likes fantasy, one can go on and read other notable fantasy authors
                  without necessarily feeling that you're reading a clone? Peake, for
                  instance, whose appeal is certainly related to Tolkien's, to the extent
                  that Ballantine marketed Peake to a Tolkien audience, and apparently
                  succeeded.

                  This is the sort of thing I was getting at with my metaphor of authors
                  who have independently set up camp in roughly the same area of
                  literature. Thus, when Jane said she liked Peake, and Carter (who is
                  fairly close to Peake in one of several possible directions of
                  "closeness"), I thought of other authors who seemed to me to be close to
                  Peake in the same direction, and came up with Harrison and Ryman.

                  > Furthermore, even when an author manages to copy something from a good novel,
                  > they usually copy some minor, irrelevant aspect of the book. The problem
                  > with the Tolkien clones is that they generally picked the least interesting
                  > ideas from Tolkien to copy, and they misunderstood the significance of what
                  > they copied. Imagine what sort of junk we're going to get for the next few
                  > years as authors try to turn out Harry Potter clones.

                  Indeed, but some people seem to like to explore that way too - as witness
                  Matthew's reply to your comment. Which is why I also took the other road
                  and mentioned some of the better Big Dumb Castle books.

                  David Bratman
                  - not responsible for the following advertisement -
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