[DWJ] short complete quest fantasies

deborah.dwj at suberic.net deborah.dwj at suberic.net
Sun Jun 21 17:36:47 EDT 2009

So many suggestions of books I've never read, and with
explanations of why they qualify.  Thank you, everyone!  *rushes
off to develop ILL list*

On Sat, 20 Jun 2009, Mark Allums wrote:

> Are you familiar with Labyrinth?

OMG yes.  A friend of mine says "I hit puberty to that movie"
which I think is a pretty accurate representation of how lots of
tween girls at the time felt about David Bowie, Androdgynous King
of the Glam-Goblins.

On Sun, 21 Jun 2009, Chris Dollin wrote:
> On Saturday 20 June 2009, Alina wrote:
>> What about the Riddlemaster trilogy by Patricia McKillip?
> I think it would make a good /contrast/ with the Epic Fantasy
> Quest stereotype, but Deborah has Dark Lord for that.

<small voice>Also I confess I, er, don't like it.</small voice>
Please don't take away my YA fantasy points!

On Sun, 21 Jun 2009, Farah Mendlesohn wrote:

> Please not Terry Brooks! The Sword of Shannara is almost as bad as Eragon.

In many of the same ways, even!

> I'd recommend Prydain even tho it is five books because the first three are
> very slim.

I'm thinking about maybe assigning all of them except for book 3,
which is skippable from an arc perspective.

> But otherwise you are going to have to go back to pre-1975 when quest books
> started swelling, and there just aren't that many. They were very popular in
> the 19th century but rather faded from view until Tolkien and Lewis revived
> them (sword-and-sorcery isn't quite the same thing).

I find this so odd, because they are so very prevalent in that
sector of 1980s adult fantasy which was heavily read by older
children and teens.

> Maybe Robin McKinley's The Blue Sword?

Hmm, that's a thought.  A bit of a cross between Farm Girl and
Portal, wanders all over Damar with her trusty band, dumps a
bloody great load of rock on the Dark Lord's head, gets the boy.
Although there's also a bit of the predecessor for the girl!hero
sword and sorcery/romance which led to Tortall and Graceling.
Bit of each, really.

On Sun, 21 Jun 2009, Gili Bar-Hillel wrote:

> 3. the better the book, the more it strays off formula, or deliberately
> subverts a formula. So if you're looking for a book to perfectly demonstrate
> a formula, you might actually prefer looking at mediocre books... I say go
> for "Eragon".

I've thought that!  The Belgariad is a noteable exception to the
"highly formulaic quest fantasies are usually dreadful" rule. And
it is still... what it is.

On Sun, 21 Jun 2009, Mark Allums wrote:

> You realize, they should read Joseph Campbell's _The Hero's Journey_? And/or 
> _The Hero of 1000 Faces_?

Most of them are getting that in other parts of the program,
although irritaingly the program, though it has requirements,
doesn't have a required order for taking classes. So they read
Campbell in Theory, for studying archetypal criticism, but may not
have had that class yet.

Also, Mark and Farah, i have to say that this willingness to see
past the easy misunderstandings of the internet into how we have
been misconstrued or said something badly is why I love everyone
here, scholar or fan or what-have-you.

-deborah, grateful

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