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» One Touch Football - Archive » Books » fantasy books that can hold their own (Page 3)

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Author Topic: fantasy books that can hold their own
Mat Pereira
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"I have the same aversion to fantasy as I do about science fiction: that is, the writer isn't constrained by the practicalities, logic and structures of the real world. I realise that many writers, the good ones, work hard to establish consistent and coherent worlds but my suspicious mind always tells me naggingly that if the rules turn out to be inconvenient then they can be amended".

Ah, very good point, but isn't that what all fiction is about though?

I can see why you don't like fantasy though, Andy as I don't much like it myself. I don't like much genre fiction if it's written specifically for that genre, it just comes across as writing-for-cash I think. But when it's more that the writer is trying to describe something personal to them I think it works, or when they're using the genre to describe something unique then I think it works. Same with any kind of genre stuff. I mean I don't much like crime fiction either as a rule, but I do like writers like say Chester Himes, Ruth Rendell and Dashiell Hammett, because the confines of the genre are the point of access and departure for writers like that - where they start from, rather than where they end up.

Similarly with fantasy, I hate the genre stuff, but I love what writers like Le Guin or Fritz Leiber do within the confines of it. H.P. Lovecraft is a bit of a different one I think, he was completely dedicated to creating the bleakest and most misanthropic landscape he possibly could.

Oh yeah on a contempory tip, Phillip Pullman's really, really good too.

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Andy C
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I'm not sure that that's what fiction's all about. It's a subjective, taste thing, but I think for me the real thrill comes when a writer takes elements that are to hand - recognisable (though not necessarily real) personalities, events, locations and such: all the constraints of the real world - and uses them as the building-blocks of something that transcends that reality. I think you're saying something along similar lines when you say the confines of the genre are the point of access and departure - in my case, I'm talking about the real world being that launch platform.

It takes a good writer to root a piece of work in a genre that the reader might not have sypmathy with, and still be able to carry the reader with them. And I think the writer must have some abiding affection for the genre for this to work - otherwise it becomes mere parody. In addition to the authors that you list, I'm thinking perhaps of Douglas Adams: his work wouldn't be nearly as enjoyable for the ousider to science fiction if he'd been an outsider himself.

[ 11-03-2003, 13:02: Message edited by: Andy C ]

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Mat Pereira
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"It's a subjective, taste thing, but I think for me the real thrill comes when a writer takes elements that are to hand - recognisable (though not necessarily real) personalities, events, locations and such: all the constraints of the real world - and uses them as the building-blocks of something that transcends that reality".

Oh, yeah, I like that kind of thing too, but I think really all literature starts from the standpoint of creating something that's going to transcend reality. Even social realist writers like say Margaret Drabble start from the basis I think that what they're attempting to capture is a heightened form of real life and crucially I think it's the heightening process they're after, which is exactly the case with most of the genre fiction talked about in this thread I think - it's about applying elements of the real world in a fantasised environment.

I always think of Emile Zola and his theory of naturalism whenever this subject comes up, to be honest. Purely because although his contention was that he was going to write novels in a way that was rigidly and precisely real - even going to the lengths of writing some of his streetlife scenes at the location and at the time they happen in the novel to ensure he got the atmosphere exactly right, he was big mates with Manet and saw himself as being Manet's literary equivalent - his real standing point was an interest in bizarre, fantastic and extreme situations, events and personalities.

[ 11-03-2003, 17:08: Message edited by: Matt P ]

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Posty Webber
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No need to apologise WE, for it is I who should be apologising.

for the record: "a pint of lager beer ale please"

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boris
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I too think that Gormenghast is, well, a modern classic if you will. I agree that the third volume doesn't convey the same claustrophobic atmosphere of the first two, but in a sense I think that's why it's so powerful; becuase it's unexpected and also so different (although the cars thing threw me at first too, but I didn't visualise them as contemporary cars, but some fantasy construction type thing). And yeah, the TV adaptation was, if you will pardon the expression, pants.

Jack Vance is, I think, one of the most under-rated novelists around although, contrarily, I thought the Lyonesse series were amongst his weakest writings (possibly because I just don't dig elves and faeries and all that whimsical shite). However I would heartily recommend his Dying Earth series (Eyes of the Overworld, Cugel's Saga etc) as amongst the best fantasy literature around. Eyes of the Overworld is probably one of my top half dozen favourite novels of any genre.

As for Imajica I would agree that it is amongst the best stuff that Clive Barker has done, up there with Weaveworld and Everville. The only problem I have with Barker is that he can sometimes be unnecessarily turgid, but he still pisses all over Stephen King.

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Puggie Winnings
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I once heard Tolkien's writing described as 'masturbatory' in some aspect. A case of a fantasy author holding his own?

Edit - and with this hilarious joke, I declare OTF re-open.

[ 17-03-2003, 23:19: Message edited by: We is Cantsin ]

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Reed
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What about Dune? I've tried to read it about 5 times. I've heard its very good, and its definitely fantasy, although its often classified as Sci-fi.
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Posty Webber
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Like all Sci-Fi, I struggled through Dune, but was intent on finishing it anyway. At the end I felt that it was not bad as far as journeys go, but definately overrated.
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Croute au fromage et oeuf au plat
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This sci-fi/fantasy bashing is tad tiresome. You can't cope with stories based outside the "real world", too bad. That does not mean the entire genre is worthless.

I'm feeling grumpy today...

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Gangster Octopus
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today???????
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Wyatt Earp
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Oh, I can cope with it, I just don't care for it.
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axel
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Things to avoid when writing Sci-Fi/Fantasy

http://www.sfwa.org/members/pollotta/lexicon.html

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The Batebe of Toro Foundation
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Most of that is pretty good advice generally.
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Ginger Yellow
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People seem to rate Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun as good borderline fantasy/SF. I found it a bit of a struggle to be honest. I prefer his short stories, which play up the Dickian metaphysical side of things.
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VTTBoscombe
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I was an "old" fantasy/sci fi reader, kicked off by LOTR when I was a teenager; but I haven't started a new one in years. (Except for the Potter books; but they are like popular culture)
I do re read old ones , in the same way of listening to old songs.
faves were:
* Of course all the other stuff around LOTR
*Dune - not just the first one but as far as the eye could see cash in books
*The Thomas Covenant Chronicles
*The Worm Ouroborous - Eddison - like wading through treacle sometimes; but worth it.
*The Moorcock Eternal Champion Series plus the dancers at the Edge of Time stuff
*Poul Anderson wrote "The Broken Sword" and "Three Hearts and Three Lions," which inspired Moorcock to do the eternal champ stuff, and are great books.
*As I mentioned Dune - Sci Fi stuff like Asimov - The Foundation Series, the Robot series which interweaves with that.

Oh yes and the Disc world things

Stinkers I remember were the Lensmen series, I hated Heinlein, the Ill Met in Lankmahr series or however it was spelt, and those Elfstone things, and those Dragon books by Anne whatever her name was.

Plus although I loved "Hitchhikers Guide" on the radio, I really disliked every Douglas Adams book I read.

Now I just read stuff about dead cyclists.

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