Kathryn Andersen kat_lists at
Mon Jun 24 06:29:27 EDT 2002

On Sun, Jun 23, 2002 at 11:38:29PM +0100, Dorian E. Gray wrote:
> Kathryn asked...
> >
> > You mean to say that Lackey actually *did* used to be able to write?
> Personally, I'd put it more as she *can*, but currently she *isn't*. :-)
> > None her books that I read in an attempt to figure out why so many
> > people loved her books... none of them enabled me to figure it out.  My
> > (possibly unjustified) generalization about Lackey was that she managed
> > to take *out* the sense of wonder from her books, and make magic
> > mundane.
> Which ones did you read?  I discovered her work when I was in college, and
> became a major fan, buying everything I could find by her.  But even in that
> first wild enthusiasm, I saw that some books were noticeably less good than
> others.

I've read, if I recall correctly, a few of the urban elves stories, and
also a story co-authored with Andre Norton, called Elvenblood, which
treated the reader like an idiot, in the sense that I'd figured out that
the heroine had Special Powers about three incidents before the heroine
herself did. Maybe that just means that I was too intelligent for the

Oddly enough, another book which she co-wrote, this time with Anne
McCaffrey, I'm actually very fond of, and that's "The Ship Who
Searched", which seems as if they managed to relieve each others'
burnout, at least for that novel.
> Now, I do like books that treat magic mundanely (just as I like books where
> mundane things are treated as wondrous); I'm fond of that contradiction.

I think I'd rather read a book where mundane things are treated as
wondrous -- one reason why I'm so awfully fond of "The Napoleon of
Notting Hill".

> But I'm not sure that (a) that's what Lackey necessarily does or (b) that's
> quite what you're talking about anyway!

I think there's a bit of difference between having magic as an everyday
part of life (mundane in that sense) as distinct from making magic,
well, *boring*.  Mechanical.  Not creative.  I don't know if I can put
my finger on it... but, say, even though, for example, magic is part of
everyday life in Ingary, it's hardly mechanical or boring to go hopping
about the marshes in seven-league boots chasing falling stars, is it?
While, as a contrast, healing someone's wounds by squirting some
internal Power through your hands with a pretty light show *ought* to be
wonderous, but ends up not being so, not the way it was written in
"Bedlam Boyz", at least.
> > So, if by some faint chance my local library has some older Mercedes
> > Lackey, what would you reccommend as the pinnacle of her work?
> > So I can give her one more try?
> I'm fond of the "Last Herald-Mage" trilogy ("Magic's Pawn", "Magic's
> Promise" and "Magic's Price").  They do very much appeal to the teen-angst
> area - I loved them first because they reflected my own angst; I reread them
> now for comfort-fodder.  I also like the later Valdemar trilogies, "Mage
> Winds" and "Storm Winds" (though both have irritating flaws; I skip all of
> Darkwind's chapters in the first "Mage Winds" book because he annoys me, and
> the ending of "Storm Winds" is a bit anticlimactic).

Thanks, I'll see if I can track down the Last Herald-Mage then.
> If you're not already a fan, I'd also avoid the "Bardic Voices" stuff and
> the modern-day elf stories; they have their moments, but they probably
> wouldn't attract you.  I find myself reading a lot of her stuff almost more
> for the setting than anything else, now.  She does do setting well (and as a
> writer, it's something I'm bad at, so I'm trying to figure out how to do
> it!)

Ah well, I fell down then, because the modern-day elf stories are
probably what I've read the most of her stuff, and kept on getting
dissappointed.  Then again, I've yet to find something to top Emma
Bull's "War For The Oaks", really.
Kathryn Andersen
"I know a land beyond the heart of time. The sun never comes there.
No moon ever shines. And man, a grain of sand, nameless and lost,
blows with the dust. I apologise, H.Q., but that's what this place
makes me think of. The sun never comes here. Just sand and mist.
Virn, the green planet. Never rains here either."
		-- Don Keller		(Blake's 7: Sand [D9])
 _--_|\	    | Kathryn Andersen	<kat at> <>
/      \    | 
\_.--.*/    | GenFicCrit mailing list <>
      v	    | 
------------| Melbourne -> Victoria -> Australia -> Southern Hemisphere
Maranatha!  |	-> Earth -> Sol -> Milky Way Galaxy -> Universe
To unsubscribe, email dwj-request at with the body "unsubscribe".
Visit the archives at

More information about the Dwj mailing list