Who invented the modern fantasy genre?

Jon Noble jon_p_noble at yahoo.com
Fri Aug 20 18:38:57 EDT 2004


I don't know, I get sick for a day and don't check my
email and suddely there are 58 messages! after ticking
away on a few messages a day for a while, its all a
bit of a shock to the system. 
I think I'm with Melissa on this one. If we take
modern fantasy as Post-JRRT then a lot of the credit
for inventing it goes to Terry Brooks for showing that
Tolkien could be successfully copied (but I agree with
Lin Carter's description of Sword of Shanarra as a
"war crime of a novel") and Donaldson who showed that
something else could be done with the genre. Looked at
from the perspective of what came later Donaldson
isn't all that great (although I will be eagerly
awaiting the new ones) but at the time they were quite
amazing and deserve a place in the history of fantasy
because of that. 
With regards to Donaldson's other books I didn't like
the Mirror of her Dreams books as much as the
Covenants, I have only read one of the Gap series
(waiting till I had all the books - which I only did a
few weeks ago - before going back to them, and now I
have such a backlog that it maybe another year before
I go onto them). I have also read one of his detective
stories (written as Reed Stevens) not bad as things go
(detective is not realy my genre) but as the title
"the man who killed his brother" suggests - another
flawed hero.
As for the comment that Feist, Eddings and  Goodkind
being giants - they may look tall in the genre, but to
paraphrase Newton, only because they stand on the
shoulders of the real giants.

Jon

--- Melissa Proffitt <Melissa at Proffitt.com> wrote:

> On Fri, 20 Aug 2004 15:07:41 +0100, Charles Butler
> wrote:
> 
> >Not Tolkien, apparently, but Stephen Donaldson - at
> least according to this
> >article from the Bookseller:
> http://www.thebookseller.com/?pid=2&did=13285.
> >(Seems SD is about to published the first volume of
> the last quartet of the
> >Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, after a 25-year
> gap.) I haven't read him -
> >but I know some/most of you have. Did he add
> anything significant to the
> >Middle-earth mix? Enough to credit him with the
> invention of a genre?
> 
> I'd hardly call him the inventor of modern fantasy,
> unless "modern" is being
> used in a very specific sense.  He was one of the
> first to reevaluate the
> typical fantasy setting and The Quest--discarded a
> lot of the cliches about
> the hero's motivation and Absolute Good vs. Absolute
> Evil.  But I'd be more
> inclined to say he broke ground that others later
> cultivated.  Even if he
> was the first to challenge the Tough Guide Fantasy
> World, others have been
> challenging those assumptions in completely
> different ways.
> 
> Melissa Proffitt
> 
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