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Re: 1998 Fantasy Books

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  • Matthew Winslow
    ... Oh, not despair for the award or anything , just despair on finding more than a few for the nomination list. ... I loved this book (and Willis in
    Message 1 of 9 , Dec 10, 1998
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      On Fri, 11 Dec 1998, Eleanor Farrell wrote:

      > Matt,
      >
      > I see (or make!) this comment every year.... but always find at least a
      > couple of gems on the fantasy shelves. So, don't despair! One reason for

      Oh, not despair for the award or anything <g>, just despair on finding
      more than a few for the nomination list.

      > _To Say Nothing of the Dog_ by Connie Willis

      I loved this book (and Willis in general), but it just didn't feel like a
      book "written in the spirit of the Inklings" (or whatever the phrase is).
      _Darwinia_, though, felt a lot like it to me -- even though it is
      technically science fiction.

      Has anyone read -- or even been able to find a copy of -- Joe Lansdale's
      _The Boar_? It sounds like a good book, but it's from a small publisher
      and is well over $25 -- and it's only about 130 pages or so. I'd love to
      put it on the nomination list, but I'd feel bad if it were one of those
      books no one could find.

      Matthew Winslow mwinslow@...
      http://www.firinn.org/~mwinslow/
      "There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading
      them." - Joseph Brodsky
    • Eleanor Farrell
      David Lenander wrote: 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
      Message 2 of 9 , Dec 11, 1998
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        David Lenander wrote:

        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.

        David, your comments are intriguing, how about more info here for those of
        us who don't know who "Banks" is or know anything about her books?

        Thanks,

        Ellie

        ********************************************************************************
        *
        Eleanor M. Farrell
        P.O. Box 320486
        San Francisco, CA 94132-0486
        E-mail: emfarrell@...

        Editor, Mythprint (Mythopoeic Society newsletter)
        Mythopoeic Society web site: http://www.mythsoc.org
        ********************************************************************************
        *
      • Eleanor Farrell
        Matthew Winslow wrote: Overall, though, this felt like a slim year for nomination-worthy titles. I culled this year s Locus and came up with only about 10
        Message 3 of 9 , Dec 11, 1998
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          Matthew Winslow wrote:

          Overall, though, this felt like a slim year for nomination-worthy titles.
          I culled this year's "Locus" and came up with only about 10 possibilities
          -- and three of those were by one author (Sean Stewart). Did this feel
          like a thin yeart to others?

          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.

          ------
          Matt,

          I see (or make!) this comment every year.... but always find at least a
          couple of gems on the fantasy shelves. So, don't despair! One reason for
          encouraging as many people as possible to nominate books is that we're more
          likely not to overlook something obscure and maybe wonderful.... I haven't
          yet seen the Locus "best of" list (hmm, I guess it's not out yet, but is
          always a good place to check! Might be the February issue...) but offhand I
          can think of at least a handful of books (which I have read) worth
          nominating:

          _Song for the Basilisk_ by Patricia A. McKillip
          _To Say Nothing of the Dog_ by Connie Willis
          _Stardust_ by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess

          And now, thanks to Trish and Joe and yourself and others, I have more of
          these to check out in the next few months!

          Ellie

          ********************************************************************************
          *
          Eleanor M. Farrell
          P.O. Box 320486
          San Francisco, CA 94132-0486
          E-mail: emfarrell@...

          Editor, Mythprint (Mythopoeic Society newsletter)
          Mythopoeic Society web site: http://www.mythsoc.org
          ********************************************************************************
          *
        • David Lenander
          Responding to the message from Eleanor Farrell ... Lynne Reid Banks has written a number of children s books, including a number of
          Message 4 of 9 , Dec 11, 1998
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            Responding to the message
            from Eleanor Farrell <emfarrell@...>
            >
            > David, your comments are intriguing, how about more info here for those of
            > us who don't know who "Banks" is or know anything about her books?

            Lynne Reid Banks has written a number of children's books, including a number of
            fantasies. Far and away her most popular and commercially successful is the
            series beginning with *The Indian in the Cupboard*. The sequels include:
            *Return of the Indian* *Secret of the Indian* and *Mystery of the Cupboard* and
            the new *Key to the Indian*. She's been criticized as misusing the Native
            American material that she employed as background for the character Little Bear.
            I think that the first book was written rather thoughtlessly regarding this, so
            Little Bear speaks in a sort of "Movie Injun" broken English, but clearly she's
            been trying to improve things, since. The new book is apparently focusing much
            more directly on Little Bear, so my guess is that she's trying to "make up" for
            the first book. Rather as P.L. Travers rewrote portions of one of the Mary
            Poppins books to address a supposedly racist portrayal of an African family.
            Indian in the Cupboard was made into a major film a couple of years ago, though
            I seem to recall that it incorporated elements from the second book, too. Aside
            from the criticism that the books include insensitive portrayals of Native
            American Indians, the books are in many respects very well written, and have
            been much praised and become quite popular. Lois Kuznets discussed at least the
            first in her MSA-award book *When Toys Come Alive*.

            To be honest, I've not read the first book (But I saw the MOVIE!), but I have
            read the three sequels and have been very impressed with the increasingly
            interesting things that Banks has done in these books, especially with
            *Mystery*, where she develops the rudimentary idea of the magical key and
            cupboard in logical but previously unexpected ways, and experiments with Telling
            the Grown-ups the Truth about the magic, which seems odd in the 4th book of a
            series that hadn't previously done this. On the other hand, I think that I
            found *Mystery* easier to like partly because she was avoiding the "Little Bear"
            material, which has always made me uneasy.

            Incidentally, we do not have a dearth of books to consider on the children's
            side. Laura forwarded a list of--I don't know, more than 100, I think-- in the
            Once UPon a Time that came yesterday. Well known authors with new books include
            Banks, T.A. Barron, Nina Bawden, Francesca Lia Block, Bruce Coville, Jane Louise
            Curry (anyone heard from her in a while?), Roald Dahl, Kara Dalkey, Pamela Dean
            (Juniper, etc. as a Y.A.?), Cynthia DeFelice, Peter Dickinson (!), Martin
            Gardner, Alan Garner (!!), Brian Jacques, Diana Wynne Jones, Ellen Kindt
            McKenzie, Robin McKinley, Gregory Maguire, Margaret Mahy (!), Donna Jo Napoli,
            Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Gary Paulsen, Tamora Pierce, Daniel Pinkwater (!),
            Philip Pullman, Cynthia Rylant, Jon Scieszka, William Sleator, Sherwood Smith,
            Nancy Springer, J.R.R. Tolkien (!), Vivian Vande Velde, Jane Yolen and Paul
            Zindell. These are just the ones that ring a bell with me. A book getting a
            LOT of attention will be J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone*,
            and I've seen very positive comments about Michael Cadnum's *In a Dark Wood*,
            though Ellie doesn't seem to have thought too much of it, in the latest
            MYTHPRINT. 3 I've read from Laura's list: Elizabeth Cody Kimmel's *In the
            Stone Circle* (historical time travel/ghosts in Wales), Ellen Kindt McKenzie's
            *Golden Band of Eddris* and Eva Ibbotson's *Secret of Platform 13* probably
            won't make my final ballot, though I guess I can't rule out the McKenzie at this
            point. Laura hasn't read all of these, either. But she does focus on the
            Dalkey, Jones, Virginia Layefsky, Napoli, Rowling and Springer books as
            especially worth looking at. And her review of Rylant's book in the same issue
            made me wonder why she'd left it off this short list, it sounds very
            interesting.

            Laura's also promised us a second list of more picture books. I hope to post
            her list on the Once UPon a TIme web-site, but I'm not sure how soon.




            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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