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Old 02-22-2006, 04:03 PM   #481
Valier
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Has anyone read the Earth Children's series by Jean M Auel? She is an amazing writer, so descriptive and inspiring. I guess it is a little bit of a "girlie" series. If you haven't read them you should they are very informative in healing lore and practices, as well as fire starting, food collecting...pretty much stuff that would mostly work for Middle Earth stories.(Starts with Clan of the Cave Bear.) You may have heard of this one or seen the movie, but there are four more that come after. They are brilliant!
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Old 02-22-2006, 04:34 PM   #482
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Just looked a bit backwards with this thread.

If you like sci-fi, do look at the books by Iain M. Banks (the same guy who writes "traditional" novels without the "M." in the middle). There sure is some fantasy!

I myself started with the "Use of weapons", but many think that the "Player of games" is the classic. His newer one's ("Look to windward" and "The Algebraist") are probably even better...
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Old 02-22-2006, 04:59 PM   #483
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Originally Posted by Nogrod
If you like sci-fi, do look at the books by Iain M. Banks (the same guy who writes "traditional" novels without the "M." in the middle). There sure is some fantasy!
I wouldn't call The Wasp Factory traditional though! That's got to be one of the strangest and most horrible books I've ever read, but it's one of my favourites too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valier
Has anyone read the Earth Children's series by Jean M Auel? She is an amazing writer, so descriptive and inspiring. I guess it is a little bit of a "girlie" series. If you haven't read them you should they are very informative in healing lore and practices, as well as fire starting, food collecting...pretty much stuff that would mostly work for Middle Earth stories.(Starts with Clan of the Cave Bear.) You may have heard of this one or seen the movie, but there are four more that come after. They are brilliant!
I bought these in a set, second hand for about Ł6. I enjoyed the first three but then I got to the fourth one and stopped, as it became a bit dull, it was mainly about travelling and without the plot of the other novels, which had been pretty gripping. But I might pick them up again and carry on from where I left off, as I hear a sixth book is planned. They are fascinating reading, and you do find yourself getting involved with the characters, but they can be very adult too, so be warned!
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Old 02-22-2006, 05:16 PM   #484
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lalwendë
I wouldn't call The Wasp Factory traditional though! That's got to be one of the strangest and most horrible books I've ever read, but it's one of my favourites too.
That's probably the reason I wrote the word "traditional" in parentheses... "The Wasp Factory" really is weird, and a good one. Of these "traditional" ones I've also enjoyed "the Bridge", f.ex.

Banks sure is one of the best there is!
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Old 02-22-2006, 05:37 PM   #485
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I'm really glad this thread has become active again. It's one of my favorites for finding new books to read when I'm at a bit of a loss.

Just today I finished the "Otherland" series by Tad Williams and I quite enjoyed it. The middle two books sometimes felt like they dragged on a bit, but I would not say they were boring - far from it. The first one was definitely my favorite but all were good, and there were plenty of plot twists to keep it going. Definitely recommended.

I have read the first two of the Earth's Children books at my English teacher's recommendation - they were interesting and I agree that the author is quite good. I may yet pick up the next book. However, I did find that the books really were a bit too... graphic, I guess, for my taste. Especially towards the end of the second book it seemed like all there was, and that was ultimately what made me put them down. It's just not the kind of thing I like to read.
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Old 02-23-2006, 12:45 PM   #486
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Ha ha I totally forgot about all the naughty stuff in The Earth's Children series! I first read the book at like 15, I was ahead of my times I guess. I just skip past that stuff now. The details of the flora and fauna she uses are fantastic! I think they are a good read still!! Just flip through all that...ok the first couple of books have ALOT,, But I swear it gets better!
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Old 02-24-2006, 01:15 AM   #487
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Let's just say anything and everything that Neil Gaiman has ever penned. Well, everything I've been able to get my grubby little hands on, anyway.
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Old 02-24-2006, 03:02 PM   #488
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Originally Posted by Encaitare
Let's just say anything and everything that Neil Gaiman has ever penned. Well, everything I've been able to get my grubby little hands on, anyway.
I'd recommend the 4th (?) volume of Sandman, as it has an excellent story about the real origins of A Midsummer Nights Dream, as being a play first performed exclusively for the King and Queen of Faerie and their retinue. It's slightly scary but also wonderful.

I've still to make my way through the whole series as I don't want to read them all at once (and indeed, that would also be expensive as graphic novels are not cheap), but they are fantastic. I might sample some of his novels next.
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Old 02-25-2006, 12:03 AM   #489
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Sandman is love. Unfortunately, the stores never have Volume 8, which is the only one I need to complete the series.

Quote:
I might sample some of his novels next.
All of Gaiman's novels are fantastic. One book that you absolutely must not miss, though, is the short story collection Smoke and Mirrors. Each one is a gem and it makes me jealous of his brain for coming up with such nifty ideas.

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Old 02-25-2006, 03:28 AM   #490
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an online sampler of Neil Gaiman's work is available here
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Old 03-03-2006, 05:41 PM   #491
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Originally Posted by Encaitare
Sandman is love. Unfortunately, the stores never have Volume 8, which is the only one I need to complete the series.



All of Gaiman's novels are fantastic. One book that you absolutely must not miss, though, is the short story collection Smoke and Mirrors. Each one is a gem and it makes me jealous of his brain for coming up with such nifty ideas.
I saw Smoke and Mirrors in a second hand bookshop today so I bought it on your recommendation! First I've a couple of other books to finish - I wonder if I can resist sampling a story before I've finished them?

I got volume 1 of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen cheap the other day too, and that's also fantastic. There are only two volumes with this, so a bit cheaper than getting into Sandman... I can't believe I'm beginning to discover comic books at my age! The last one I must have been into was Rupert the Bear!
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Old 03-21-2006, 06:07 AM   #492
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I just rememberd Guy Gavriel Kay's (the same guy who helped Christopher Tolkien to collect and organise Silmarillion) Tigana. It's a very good book, which I can warmly recommend. Has anyone read it?

I also just finished Abhorsen by Garth Nix. I enjoyed it quite a lot and I wonder if anyone has read it...
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Old 03-21-2006, 08:30 AM   #493
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Encaitare
Let's just say anything and everything that Neil Gaiman has ever penned. Well, everything I've been able to get my grubby little hands on, anyway.
Yes, thanks to you and the prodding of my friend, I picked up volume one of The Sandman. In a few hours I was already half-way through volume two. I haven't finished the series yet, but so far I've claimed volume six (Fables and Reflections) as my favorite.
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Old 03-21-2006, 08:48 AM   #494
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Lommy...I've read both of those, and enjoyed them. There are two sequels to Abhorsen; keep reading, they're both good.

Tigana was excellent. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find the same magic in the other books I've found by Kay. I think the strength of Tigana was the loyalty to a single theme, that of patriotism, and I felt the book had a strong philosophical flavor. I really enjoy books that ask me to think.

As for Neil Gaiman...I have a number of friends who swear by his work...but I never really got into it so much.
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Old 03-21-2006, 12:22 PM   #495
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Quote:
Lommy...I've read both of those, and enjoyed them. There are two sequels to Abhorsen; keep reading, they're both good.
Abhorsen is the last one, and I've read the previous books (Sabriel and Lirael) already. I think the last book was the best and the second the worst. What about you, Jenny?

Quote:
Tigana was excellent. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find the same magic in the other books I've found by Kay. I think the strength of Tigana was the loyalty to a single theme, that of patriotism, and I felt the book had a strong philosophical flavor. I really enjoy books that ask me to think.
That's one of the reasons I enjoyed Tigana so much; it made me think. I also loved some of the characters, Dianora for example. I have a CD (Dido's Life for Rent) and some of the songs remind me so much of Tigana, especially Dianora, and I just can't understand why.

Connie Willis' Domesday book(?) is a masterpiece, though I'm not sure if it's fantasy...
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Old 03-21-2006, 03:38 PM   #496
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Yes, thanks to you and the prodding of my friend, I picked up volume one of The Sandman. In a few hours I was already half-way through volume two. I haven't finished the series yet, but so far I've claimed volume six (Fables and Reflections) as my favorite.
Yay! Another fan! What did you think of the re-telling of Midsummer Night's Dream?

I've still to start on Smoke and Mirrors though. I bought Peter Ackroyd's Albion - The Origins of the English Imagination and have been reading that; it's not fantasy, nor is it fiction, but it's excellent, and recommended for understanding more about Tolkien.
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Old 03-21-2006, 03:52 PM   #497
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I also really like Garth Nix, that is the Sabriel trilogy. I also read Across the Wall. It is a series of short stories and only one of them takes place in the Kingdom but the others ones I really good too. I really recommend it.
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Old 03-21-2006, 05:47 PM   #498
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Yay! Another fan! What did you think of the re-telling of Midsummer Night's Dream?
I wouldn't put it on my favorites list, but it was still really good. A very interesting take on the play, that's for sure.
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Old 03-21-2006, 10:30 PM   #499
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What did you think of the re-telling of Midsummer Night's Dream?
Quote:
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I wouldn't put it on my favorites list, but it was still really good. A very interesting take on the play, that's for sure.
The funny thing is that now whenever I'm reading Shakespeare and a character is talking about dreams, my ears sort of perk up and I think "What? Dreams? Morpheus? Yay!"
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Old 03-28-2006, 02:26 PM   #500
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I'm going to make Encaitare jealous now. I've just got a signed copy of Anansi Boys!

I hope my reading pile gets smaller soon so I can make a start on it!
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Old 03-31-2006, 08:13 AM   #501
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I'm going to make Encaitare jealous now. I've just got a signed copy of Anansi Boys!

I hope my reading pile gets smaller soon so I can make a start on it!
Well, I have a signed copy of Coraline. So there!

You know, there are times when I am reading Gaiman that I become absolutely convinced that he is the new/next Master of Fantasy, along the same lines as Tolkien. They're very different writers of course, in terms of world view and perspective, but in their ability to create magic on the page and to reimagine the world as a perilous realm, I think Gaiman is the Next Apparent.

What do y'all think? What are the common elements in Tolkien's and Gaiman's fantasy? Do they both understand how to reinvent mythology?
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Old 03-31-2006, 01:50 PM   #502
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Originally Posted by Neil Gaiman
My great daydream when I was ten was to travel to a parallel universe exactly like ours - except that in that other universe, nobody had ever written Lord of the Rings. I would bring along my copy, get somebody to type it out for me in manuscript, send the pages off to a publisher, and then be celebrated as author of The Lord of the Rings without doing any of the work.
I love that quote. It's not only funny, and expresses what a lot of us have probably thought at some time or another (I know I have ), but it shows how a writer as skilled as Gaiman realises how what Tolkien wrote was unique and could not be repeated, how it was Tolkien' lifetime of work which produced Lord of the Rings.

I think we are always looking for the next Tolkien and always will be, but I don't think there ever will be another Tolkien. However, Gaiman could well garner such support as Tolkien did if he keeps on producing such good work, as he does share that understanding and appreciation of mythology. His work is most definitely of its time (as was Tolkien's - no sex, no swearing etc), reflecting a darker kind of world, and is already having an influence - how many girls go around dressed like Death, and boys as Dream?

The main difference that I see is that Gaiman, possibly due to being from a different era, is not afraid to confront the darker side of human nature, and he ties in figures such as John Dee and serial killers to his tales. Where Tolkien found it more difficult, certainly as he aged, to deal with chaotic ideas (such as Tricksters), Gaiman seems to have more freedom to play with these ideas.

And I also think that while Tolkien's work leads us on to mythology, Gaiman's work actually seems richer if we know something about mythology (and history and literature) before we read it.
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Old 04-02-2006, 09:34 PM   #503
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Shannara

The Shannara series was good. Just got repetitive after awhile.
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Old 04-03-2006, 09:12 AM   #504
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update:

I just read "Anansi Boys" - I'd been wanting to read some of Gaiman mostly because of the talk around here. I'd read "Good Omens", but wasn't really impressed with the subject matter.

It's weird..."Anasi Boys" is very close to Douglas Adamses "Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul". I found it an easier read (less "british" I suppose), but wow. Is Gaiman is the next Adams? Hmm. I'll have to get my hands on something else of his to be sure.
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Old 04-03-2006, 03:21 PM   #505
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Lal and Bethberry... I am ridiculously jealous. Did you go to a signing? On his website it says that you can send a book to the publisher and he'll sign it next time he's around there, but I want to see the man himself.

I agree that Neil Gaiman could very well be the next giant in fantasy writing. He definitely has the skill for it. Something else that pleases me about him is that he's probably the only favorite writer of mine who isn't dead! *knocks on wood*
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Old 04-03-2006, 04:43 PM   #506
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Alas, no! There had been a signing and they had a few copies left for sale. This is getting to be a habit for me now - missing signings. I also missed Christopher Lee by about 30 minutes a few years ago, but then I might have fainted if I'd met him anyway! Though I lie...I did get to meet Alan Lee of course! I was about fifth in line!
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Old 05-02-2006, 06:55 PM   #507
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White Tree

I really like Eragon and Eldest by Christopher Paolini (not sure if that's spelled right) and I have one other question, kind of silly but how do you get a little picture under your name? This is my first time doing any kind of foum thing and it's kind of confusing.
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Old 05-07-2006, 12:10 PM   #508
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I've just had a book buying binge again (damn Waterstones and Tesco with their cheap paperbacks... ).

I read Urban Grimshaw and The Shed Crew in an evening or so, a true story and a little too gritty (but very good). So I decided to read something that was a total contrast afterwards, and I'm now onto The Mists of Avalon! I'd forgotten how good it was!

I must have read it in the mid 80's first time around and it was a library book so I've not set eyes on it since. Basically, its a retelling of the Arthurian myths from the point of view of the women, and it also has a very pagan feel to it. I'm currently at the point where Arthur is about to be conceived...
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Old 05-08-2006, 03:54 AM   #509
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The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter and David Edding's Tales of Berialand.
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Old 05-08-2006, 11:17 AM   #510
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lalwendë
I've just had a book buying binge again (damn Waterstones and Tesco with their cheap paperbacks... ).

I read Urban Grimshaw and The Shed Crew in an evening or so, a true story and a little too gritty (but very good). So I decided to read something that was a total contrast afterwards, and I'm now onto The Mists of Avalon! I'd forgotten how good it was!

I must have read it in the mid 80's first time around and it was a library book so I've not set eyes on it since. Basically, its a retelling of the Arthurian myths from the point of view of the women, and it also has a very pagan feel to it. I'm currently at the point where Arthur is about to be conceived...
Do I hear an echo of Tristram Shandy here? Any winding of clocks?

I wonder how davem's strictures about Tolkien's Christian subtext--or should I say LMP's Christian subtext apply--if at all--to a book which so directly incorporates the struggle between pagan and Christian visions.

This issue relates to a point Lalwendë made some posts ago about Neil Gaiman' s mythology. If I remember correctly, Lal suggested that our appreciation of his American Gods depends upon our prior knowledge of the old mythologies. Is this a failure according to davem's theory of experiencing fantasy?

I've recently finished a book which is not usually categorised as fantasy--William Gibson's Neuromancer--but science fiction. (Well, both are often subsumed under the rubric speculative fiction these days, so perhaps that division does not matter.)

Why do I have this urge to think of Neuromancer as fantasy? Especially since Gibson is 'credited' with inventing the idea of the Net. There is one aspect particularly in which his work reminds me very much of Tolkien: the language.

Gibson has so fully realised his time because he creates many new words to give shape, texture, credibility to his vision: technology is married to nature in his first sentence, which describes the sky in colours of television screens. His metaphors are astoundingly apt, sharp, direct. Tolkien created the elven languages and was scrupulously particular in his use of English philology to characterise Middle earth.

Is there something in the very language which an author uses to write his or her work that gives rise to the tradition of fantasy? Does fantasy involve a major reimagining of language, so that it is not merely descriptive of a different reality but actually implies that reality? Or is this simply a feature of the masters of the genre? (if I'm making much sense here)
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Old 05-08-2006, 12:24 PM   #511
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This issue relates to a point Lalwendë made some posts ago about Neil Gaiman' s mythology. If I remember correctly, Lal suggested that our appreciation of his American Gods depends upon our prior knowledge of the old mythologies. Is this a failure according to davem's theory of experiencing fantasy?
i think it depends how much background the author gives the reader. I haven't read American Gods, so I don't know how much info Gaiman gives. Of course a fantasy novel can intentionally depend on a prior knowledge of Fairy lore or Mythology. Then again, there are fantasy authors who seem to hope desperately that his/her readers know nothing about the traditional stories. Anyone reading Stephen Lawhead's Arthurian series will be appalled by his twisting & misuse of Celtic legend for his own ends - this is a real case of a 'conscious Christian subtext' - in fact its not even a 'subtext', but a deliberate misrepresentation of the facts in order to promote his religion.

The case with Tolkien is different as, while he may have been inspired by ancient myths he has created a self-contained Secondary World which does not require any knowledge of Primary World myths & legends to be comprehensible (in fact bringing too much Primary World knowledge into one's reading can actually break the spell he weaves). This is different to what Lawhead does, in that once the Pagan themes are changed, subsumed into new forms the originals can be ignored.

Gaiman does not write epic fantasy in the Tolkienian sense, but explores ideas & themes from myth, folklore, contemporary fiction, modern culture. His stories take place on the borderland between, if you like the personal & the Collective unconscious.

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Does fantasy involve a major reimagining of language, so that it is not merely descriptive of a different reality but actually implies that reality? Or is this simply a feature of the masters of the genre? (if I'm making much sense here)
Its the 'Green Sun' thing, I suppose....
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Old 05-29-2006, 02:52 PM   #512
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Gaiman does not write epic fantasy in the Tolkienian sense, but explores ideas & themes from myth, folklore, contemporary fiction, modern culture. His stories take place on the borderland between, if you like the personal & the Collective unconscious.
I suppose it all depends on how one interprets 'epic.' This might be true for most of Gaiman's work, but I wonder if Stardust isn't more traditionally fantasy a la Tolkien.

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Does fantasy involve a major reimagining of language, so that it is not merely descriptive of a different reality but actually implies that reality? Or is this simply a feature of the masters of the genre? (if I'm making much sense here)
Its the 'Green Sun' thing, I suppose....
So then both Fantasy and Science Fiction partake of this same incantatory Green Sun. Do the two part in the "satisfaction of primordal human desires"?
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Old 05-29-2006, 03:31 PM   #513
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I suppose it all depends on how one interprets 'epic.' This might be true for most of Gaiman's work, but I wonder if Stardust isn't more traditionally fantasy a la Tolkien.
Hmm, too long since I read Stardust. Struck me as closer to Dunsany than Tolkien. In fact, now I think about it, in his use of Faery as the Land of the Dead it is very close to Mirlees' Lud in the Mist. I see where you're coming from, but I think as a novel about Faery it shares little with Tolkien's approach.

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So then both Fantasy and Science Fiction partake of this same incantatory Green Sun. Do the two part in the "satisfaction of primordal human desires"?
No, I think they can both do that. Much Sci-fi is traditional faery story translated to the 'future' - Star Trek (the original series) is an Immrama.
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Old 05-30-2006, 05:30 AM   #514
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Other than Tolkien, my favorite authors are J.K. Rowling and R.A. Salvatore.
Harry Potter and Forgotten Realms are great, not to mention the "Wheel of Time" by TOR fantasy.
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Old 06-06-2006, 09:06 PM   #515
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Hmm, too long since I read Stardust. Struck me as closer to Dunsany than Tolkien. In fact, now I think about it, in his use of Faery as the Land of the Dead it is very close to Mirlees' Lud in the Mist. I see where you're coming from, but I think as a novel about Faery it shares little with Tolkien's approach.

No, I think they can both do that. Much Sci-fi is traditional faery story translated to the 'future' - Star Trek (the original series) is an Immrama.
Well, I must withdraw, having not yet read Dunsany. Frightful confession, I know, but what can I say?

Serendipity is a strange thing, as is synchronicity. At the time davem first posted this comment about Immrama (sing, immram) I had been reading about the first book of fanciful travel writing in the English tradition: The Voyage of St Brendan. (Well, okay, yes, it was written in Latin, but it was adopted and incorporated as part of the English imagination.) That coracle of St. Brendan's had once inspired in me a particular action in a very long ago RPG, but that imaginative thrust of journey to the unknown with arresting mix of known, unknown, and spiritual discovery (using this phrase losely) I find particularly interesting in terms of the development of fantasy.
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Old 06-07-2006, 11:23 AM   #516
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1420!

I have read all of the Harry Potter series so far and although I enjoy reading them very much, I would have to say that nothing can compare to the experience of reading the Lord of the Rings the first time. I doubt that another book will come along, in my lifetime, that affected me in so many ways.
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Old 06-10-2006, 12:45 PM   #517
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If you fancy any fairy stories I can recommend Angela Carter's Book of Fairy Tales which includes some really disturbing tales from around the world and has a strong focus on stories featuring women. Some of the shortest tales in the book are the most haunting, and these are not tales for kids!
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Old 06-12-2006, 05:33 PM   #518
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Chronicles of Prydain live action movies

I have been a fan of the Chronicles of Prydain for over 2 decades now. Back when I first read the books in fifth grade my mind was envisioning them as live-action movies. For me, these books carry with them so much truth and beauty, ideas and values that I think are so often forgotten in our society. The books have a real-life magic to them; it is hard to describe exactly how much these books mean to me, but it is enough to have inspired me recently to write a screenplay for the first book, The Book of Three. (It's 168 pages right now, and I need to do some editing.)

I have had some correspondence in the past with the author, Lloyd Alexander, and most recently I inquired into his thoughts on live action movies based on the films. (I also asked if I might send him a copy of my screenplay). He reminded me that Disney holds the rights to the books, and he more or less felt that such an endeavor was not possible. It would be nice to have his blessing, so to speak, but I am detirmined to let the people at Disney know that there are perhaps millions of people who feel deeply drawn to his Chronicles and would love to see them made into films.

I am envisioning the movies to be less high fantasy, more historical, focused more as a chronicle of a young man's journey to adulthood. I believe people will be inherently drawn to the ideas of what true nobility is, and the power to command ourselves. And I am certain that the deep and abiding love that develops between Taran and Eilonwy, which gracefully and beautifully grows through the length of all 5 books, will touch everyone.

I am corrently living in Los Angeles, working in post-production (music for film and TV), and I have made some connections with people in the industry, and more importantly Disney. I am in the process of talking to one director in particular who has worked with Disney in the past, and I am trying to get an agent to solicit the screenplay to Disney.

What I think is of utmost importance is what fans of the books think, their opinions, and feedback. So, I am also looking for some help in starting a website or link for people who want to see the Chronicles of Prydain made into movies. I want to try to get as much buzz happening as possible for the project, and the internet, as we all know, has become one of the most powerful tools to do this.
Any ideas or comments would be appreciated, and thanks for taking the time to read through all of this.
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Old 07-15-2006, 09:07 AM   #519
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A question I've been meaning to ask all you Pratchett fans for a while - I see the books at my library, and there are SO MANY of them... is there a certain order you're supposed to read them in? I haven't been able to find a clear answer to this on my own...

New recommendation - "Avalon" by Stephen R. Lawhead. I enjoyed it quite a lot (and it happens to be another book I picked up because of this thread... ).
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Old 07-15-2006, 01:40 PM   #520
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The very first book in the Discworld series is The Color of Magic. I don't think the order in which you read them matters that much... I read the Color of Magic, and after that just picked the ones that looked interesting. I would recommend The Truth, that's one of my favorites.
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