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Also, in addition to my brief tale of conversational gaffes and… - Dreamtigers and other fantastical beasts [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
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[May. 28th, 2006|11:24 pm]
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Also, in addition to my brief tale of conversational gaffes and soul-sucking awkwardness in my last post, I meant to direct a question to my f-list:

On the heels of KdS's analysis of spec-fic, I've been thinking about my on-going struggle to update my personal canon of sci-fi and fantasy. My dilemma has been to avoid the "pulp" stuff (if, while browsing the bookstore, I have to read one more title with some variation of the words "mage," "dragon," "magic/magick/majick/majoke," etc, often with a colorful picture of what is obviously an elf on the cover, I swear I will start endorsing censorship.) Searching on-line doesn't help much -- most of what I see is either 1) stuff that doesn't remotely interest me (Lackey, Pierce, Gaiman, Salvatore, anime/comics, et cetera) because they seem to be too "pop fic," if that makes sense, or 2) stuff seems a bit too overtly oriented in the socio-political. I find the latter extremely distracting because most writers I've seen of late have no sense of subtlety, so the message comes to dominate the medium. I don't necessarily disagree with the message, but I don't need to have it glaring angrily at me while I'm trying to relax and enjoy a book.

I'm fond of old-school stuff -- the Tolkiens and the Liebers and the Heinleins and the Bears and the Nivens and Besters and the Le Guins and the Golden/Silver Age fiction -- but I've pretty much run through those in terms of interest...I'm ready to join the 21st century and find out who the new grandmasters of good old-fashioned sci-fi and fantasy are. It shames me to say so, but the last stuff to really fascinate me were Stephen Donaldson's fantasy and sci-fi (even if he did have a wee problem with over-writing and over-emoting) and William Gibson's stuff (even if his works other than Neuromancer are rather formulaic.) But those date from the late 70's, early to mid 80's. At least their original stuff does, though Donaldson did some excellent sci-fi stuff in the 90's and Gibson has been writing solidly, but not spectacularly, since the apex he reached with Neuromancer.

I'd ask around for recs, but I have no idea if anyone else has the same tastes as me. And reading titles in the bookstore just depresses me no end because all I can think about is how, time was, I could immediately tell you whether a given book or series (I like series) was a fun read. The Books of Swords, the Robot series, Heinlein's "total psychotic pontificating sex-fiend nutjob" period from Stranger until his death, even the Moorcock stuff. Nowadays, though....

p.s. I've now read 15 pages of "The Da Vinci Code" in 5 days. I hate it more than even Snacky does.
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[User Picture]From: ymfaery
2006-05-29 11:41 am (UTC)
I haven't been reading much sci-fi/fantasy stuff lately, but I used to like David Eddings and Raymond Feist (although I haven't really kept up with Feist's latest stuff).
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[User Picture]From: randomways
2006-05-29 05:35 pm (UTC)
I've read Eddings, and a dear friend of mine adores him. I can get into him on occasion because 1) he's prolific, so I know if I do manage to get into the story, my reward will be a lot of reading to come; and 2) if you ignore the slightly smug dichotomy between the know-it-all characterizations and the spoiled brat characterizations, the books make for a pretty decently kinetic plot. But I've never really felt the need to re-read him. Which is a shame, because re-reading series gives me great pleasure.

I've looked over Feist and I just can't get into it. I'm not sure exactly how to describe it...it's like Robert Jordan, where I feel like he's writing for a pre-made audience. Obviously, they all are, but some of them seem to gear their books around that fact more than others do. Heh -- as I said, I'm not sure how to describe it.
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[User Picture]From: ymfaery
2006-05-30 02:38 am (UTC)
Heh. Haven't thought of Eddings' characterizations that way, but it makes sense.

Which of Feist's books did you look at? The later ones are a little hard to get into if you haven't read the earlier books, and even then, he might throw a monkey wrench or two. Although it might be considered a good thing that he's willing to kill off much-loved characters if the plot calls for it.
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[User Picture]From: randomways
2006-05-30 04:19 am (UTC)
I honestly don't remember which -- it wa one of my snap judgments where I read a couple dozen pages and put it down. But a friend of mine has them all (she claims), so I could be certain to start with the earlier ones and give them another chance.
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