George R. R. Martin

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Thu Jun 27 11:43:53 EDT 2002


On Thu, 27 Jun 2002 11:07:59 -0400, Ian W. Riddell wrote:

>OK, I know that some on this list don't like Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" 
>sequence, but I am currently enamoured of them and have just finished the 
>third volume and am looking for other work along the same line to fill the 
>time between now and the release of the fourth volume.
>
>Any recommendations?
>
>I will of course, continue my quest to read all of DWJ and reread all of 
>LeGuin, but I'm also in the market for some really big-scale, political 
>fantasy.
>
>What's Tad Williams like. Eddings?

Tad Williams is big-scale epic fantasy.  "Memory, Sorrow and Thorn" is more
or less traditional stuff; "Otherland" is a fantasy dressed up in
near-future clothing and is even more epic in scale.  I loved it.  It is, in
fact, a single novel in four volumes and about 3500 pages (I think).  The
big difference is that it isn't "medieval" fantasy, it's "cyber" fantasy.
Sort of.  When I started it, and one of the first images was a WWI soldier
encountering the Hanged Man, I knew I was going to love it.  It was one of
the best things I read last year.  I didn't like "Memory, Sorrow and Thorn"
as much, but I don't really know why; it was very good.  Not as heavy on the
politics, I think.  In fact I'm ashamed to say I can't even remember how it
ended, which probably means I should read it again sometime soon.

If you like George Martin, you might also like Mary Gentle's _Ash_.  I
haven't finished it, because the profanity (which is an integral part of the
main character's personality) really put me off.  But I thought the premise
was interesting and the story engrossing: warfare and politics combined.  Is
it Dorian who likes these books so much?  My mind is going.  Anyway,
somebody else here can probably elaborate.  If you don't like frame stories
it might annoy you, but *I* like them and I thought this one was as clever
and engrossing as the novel--in fact, given my antipathy to Ash's language,
I kinda wished there was a version that focused more on the frame a la
_Possession_.

David Eddings.  Where to begin.  Jacob just finished re-reading The
Belgariad and indulging in some misty nostalgia.  I do not recommend any of
the others except perhaps the Elenium (_The Diamond Throne_ etc.) and I ONLY
do so on the basis that you have specifically requested information.  I
personally detest Eddings' writing style and his characters make me
seriously annoyed.  But the Belgariad itself has many fine qualities and
when I was younger, I really loved it.  I think, somewhere beneath all the
annoying prose, there must be some kernel of universal truth--you know, the
kind of thing you just resonate to, regardless of form.  Or maybe I was just
young.  :)  Anyway, the real point is that this is not nearly on the same
scale as Martin.  Even the bad things that happen are painted in rosy
colors.  Where with Martin you constantly have the feeling that anyone could
die at any moment, Eddings takes a more heroic approach.  If the dark
"realism" of Martin is what you like, Eddings is probably not going to fit
the bill.  His books are, however, concerned with politics on the world-wide
scale, so that might work.

I like the politicking of Katherine Kerr, but her later books are not as
interesting to me.  The first four, _Daggerspell_, _Darkspell_, _The
Bristling Wood_, and _The Dragon Revenant_, are all exceptionally
interesting and full of Celtic-flavor politics and warfare.  I would have
been happy if the series had ended there, but it didn't.  But don't let my
bad opinion put you off reading the others if you like the first ones,
because my opinion is colored by my strong dislike of seeing characters grow
old and die too quickly.  ("Too quickly" from my perspective, like in one
book the character is 25 and in the next he's 50.  Not in the sense of aging
more rapidly than is normal.  I love watching Miles Vorkosigan get older.)

I would recommend Robert Jordan, but it would earn me the scathing disdain
of my fellow DWJ-listers, so I won't. :)  Plus the series isn't even
finished yet and he TOTALLY stalled out around book 6.  I haven't even
bothered reading book 9.  I really did love this series--it satisfied my
need for epic heroic fantasy, for which I do not have much need--but he had
too many plotlines, too many characters, and the series lost focus.  Pity.
It's my feeling he got burnt out by the demands of rabid fans.  Besides,
this is more like soap-opera fiction than epic fantasy: it's driven by
multiple plotlines and you tend to tune in to find out what happened to Mat
when he was kidnapped by invaders and taken back to their foreign country,
where he's doomed to marry the Daughter of Nine Moons...that's an actual
plot snippet there.  In my head I hear Hughnon Ridcully, High Priest of
Blind Io, recounting the daily squabbles of the gods....

I can't think of any others right now.

Melissa Proffitt
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