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Coír Draoi Ceítien

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MASTERS OF FANTASY: Part XVI
« on: November 29, 2017, 11:10:08 PM »
I'm glad to have another entry for you all!

There are no direct ties amongst these authors here, but I do find them to be extremely important today, having turned out some old and contemporary classics. I suggest you check them out.



NEIL GAIMAN (1960- )

Neil Gaiman is one of the most popular authors today, his bibliography spanning both adult works and children’s fiction. He is also quite prolific in comics, having gained a substantial breakthrough with DC’s Vertigo imprint, working on the expansive fantasy/horror graphic novel The Sandman, an influentially popular series following the anthropomorphic personification of dreams and his dysfunctional family. His first novel was Good Omens, a humorous collaboration with popular fantasist Terry Pratchett; his first solo work, Neverwhere, was based on his own scripts for the BBC television series. This was followed by the illustrated Stardust, which drew inspiration from pre-Tolkienian sources such as Dunsany and Mirlees. The multiple award-winning American Gods, in which the deities of multiple cultures clash for dominance on American soil, quickly became one of his most famous works; the dark children’s fantasy Coraline followed, which was itself succeeded by Anansi Boys, in which a scion of the African spider god seeks out his cultural heritage. Gaiman returned to children’s fiction with The Graveyard Book, in which a young boy is raised by ghosts, then followed with another adult work, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, where an unnamed narrator returns to his childhood home and discovers a secret world connected to it. His other long fiction includes the InterWorld science fiction trilogy co-authored with Michael and Mallory Reeves.

Offsite resources:

Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Gaiman)
Encyclopedia of Fantasy (http://sf-encyclopedia.uk/fe.php?nm=gaiman_neil)
Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/gaiman_neil)
Official website (http://neilgaiman.com/)
Tumblr account [answers fan questions] (http://neil-gaiman.tumblr.com/)
British Council: Literature – Neil Gaiman (https://literature.britishcouncil.org/writer/neil-gaiman)
The Guardian – Neil Gaiman: “My Parents Didn’t Have Any Kind of Rules About What I Couldn’t Read” (https://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/2015/aug/29/neil-gaiman-banned-books-censorship-interview)
The Guardian – Neil Gaiman: Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading, and Daydreaming (https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/oct/15/neil-gaiman-future-libraries-reading-daydreaming)



JOHN BELLAIRS (1938-1991)

After teaching English across several Midwestern and New England colleges, John Bellairs committed himself to writing full-time, becoming best known for a series of young adult Gothic mystery novels with fantasy overtones, featuring characters such as Lewis Barnavelt (The House with a Clock in Its Walls), Anthony Monday (The Treasure of Alpheus Winterborn), and Johnny Dixon (The Curse of the Blue Figurine). Inspired by The Lord of the Rings, he wrote his most significant adult fantasy, The Face in the Frost, in which two wizards find themselves thrust against the machinations of an old rival for possession of an arcane object. The book has received considerable praise from both fantasy and mainstream critics as one of the most unique single fantasies of the 20th century.

Offsite resources:

Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Bellairs)
Encyclopedia of Fantasy (http://sf-encyclopedia.uk/fe.php?nm=bellairs_john)
Official website – Bellairsia (http://www.bellairsia.com/)
TV Tropes (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Creator/JohnBellairs)
Notre Dame Magazine – John Bellairs, Author of the Imaginary (https://magazine.nd.edu/news/john-bellairs-author-of-the-imaginary/)
Tor.com – The Autumnal Genius of John Bellairs (https://www.tor.com/2013/10/25/the-autumnal-genius-of-john-bellairs/)



SUSANNA CLARKE (1959- )

Susanna Clarke, eldest daughter of a Methodist minister, enjoyed reading the works of Dickens, Doyle, and Austen in her youth; a “waking dream” while teaching in Bilbao and a recent read of The Lord of the Rings encouraged her to try her own hand at fantasy in 1993. Over the next decade, in addition to periodical stories, he would work in her spare time on what would become the alternate history Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, in which two prodigy magicians seek to return magic to its former glory during the Napoleonic Wars, regardless of the consequences. The 1,000-page novel – a pastiche of Dickens and Austen supplemented by over 200 “historical” footnotes – would go on to win considerable praise from both the top writers of fantasy and the mainstream literary establishment, including Time’s Best Novel of the Year, the Hugo and World Fantasy Awards for Best Novel, the Locus Award for Best First Novel, and the Mythopoeic Award for Adult Literature. As of this writing, she is currently writing a sequel, which is slow to materialize due to ill health.

Offsite resources:

Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susanna_Clarke)
TV Tropes – Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susanna_Clarke)
The Guardian – Neil Gaiman: Why I Love Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/may/02/neil-gaiman-why-i-love-jonathan-strange-and-mr-norrell
The New York Times – Susanna Clarke’s Magic Book http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/01/magazine/susanna-clarke-s-magic-book.html
Tor.com – Jo Walton: A Great Castle Made of Sea https://www.tor.com/2014/01/20/what-makes-this-book-so-great-jo-walton-jonathan-strange/



TERRY PRATCHETT (1948-2015)

For many fans, Terry Pratchett is to fantasy what Douglas Adams is to science fiction, though there are some who might not find that analogy fitting, but we are still all the richer for it. A rather good student with a keen interest in astronomy, he found he lacked the mathematical skills necessary for a career and turned to writing for his high school magazine. Pursuing journalism, his breakthrough came with The Carpet People, a children’s book, in 1971, followed by two adult science fiction novels. In 1983, he started what would become the series that would dominate his career – Discworld, a sprawling comic fantasy of a Flat-Earth world of wizards and monsters which brilliantly parodies numerous clichés and subgenres as well as everything from Tolkien to Shakespeare, religion to rock music. Despite being diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, Pratchett continued to write until his death, using dictation and voice recognition software to finish 41 books in the series. He received numerous honors in his lifetime, including (but not limited to) a knighthood in 2009 and the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2010.

Offsite resources:

Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terry_Pratchett)
Encyclopedia of Fantasy (http://sf-encyclopedia.uk/fe.php?nm=pratchett_terry)
Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/pratchett_terry)
Official website (https://www.terrypratchettbooks.com/)
British Council: Literature – Terry Pratchett (https://literature.britishcouncil.org/writer/terry-pratchett)
TV Tropes (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Creator/TerryPratchett)
Entertainment Weekly – Terry Pratchett and Discworld: An Appreciation (http://ew.com/article/2015/03/12/terry-pratchett-and-discworld-appreciation/)
AVClub – Terry Pratchett Was Fantasy Fiction’s Kurt Vonnegut, Not Its Douglas Adams (https://www.avclub.com/terry-pratchett-was-fantasy-fiction-s-kurt-vonnegut-no-1798277479)
Daily Mail – I Create Gods All the Time – Now I think One Might Exist, Says Fantasy Author Terry Pratchett (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1028222/I-create-gods-time--I-think-exist.html)
The Guardian – Neil Gaiman: Terry Pratchett Isn’t Jolly. He’s Angry. (https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/sep/24/terry-pratchett-angry-not-jolly-neil-gaiman)



ROBERT JORDAN (1948-2007)

James Oliver Rigny, Jr., an early reader since the age of 4, served in the military as a helicopter gunner during the Vietnam War, receiving distinguished honors, and worked as a nuclear engineer before turning to writing in 1977. He published fantasy under the name Robert Jordan, which began with several installments following Robert E. Howard’s Conan before eventually spawning the epic high fantasy series The Wheel of Time in 1990. Originally planned for 6 volumes, Jordan eventually turned out a total of 11 books before passing away in 2007 due to complications from cardiac amyloidosis; the final volume, in progress, was subsequently expanded into three parts and completed by author Brandon Sanderson. The series, lauded as the best-selling epic fantasy series since The Lord of the Rings, is both praised and criticized for its plot, enormous cast, detailed magic system, and particular character development.

Offsite resources:

Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Jordan)
Encyclopedia of Fantasy (http://sf-encyclopedia.uk/fe.php?nm=jordan_robert)
Fantasy Literature – Robert Jordan: Reviews (http://www.fantasyliterature.com/fantasy-author/jordanrobert/)
Famous Authors – Robert Jordan (http://www.famousauthors.org/robert-jordan)
The Believer – The End of the Story (https://www.believermag.com/issues/201010/?read=article_baron)
TV Tropes – The Wheel of Time (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/TheWheelOfTime)



DAVID EDDINGS (1931-2009)

David Eddings, after a term in the military, served in a grocery store before trying his hand at writing, being keen on drama and literature in his youth, and after finding The Lord of the Rings in its seventy-eighth printing, he felt fantasy could offer a challenge for him. Thus he undertook, with the uncredited assistance of his wife Leigh, a series of novels known for their archetypal plots mixed with sardonic humor and deliberate focus on characters rather than tropes, though they do indulge in tropes shamelessly. It consists of The Belgariad (Pawn of Prophecy, Queen of Sorcery, Magician’s Gambit, Castle of Wizardry, and Enchanters’ End Game), its sequel The Malloreon (Guardians of the West, King of the Murgos, Demon Lord of Karanda, Sorceress of Darshiva, and The Seeress of Kell), and its darker spiritual successors, The Elenium (The Diamond Throne, The Ruby Knight, and The Sapphire Rose) and The Tamuli (Domes of Fire, The Shining Ones, and The Hidden City).

Offsite resources:

Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Eddings)
Encyclopedia of Fantasy (http://sf-encyclopedia.uk/fe.php?nm=eddings_david)
Official website – Jack’s David & Leigh Eddings Site (http://www.eddingschronicles.com/index.html)
TV Tropes (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Creator/DavidEddings)
Famous Authors – David Eddings (http://www.famousauthors.org/david-eddings)



GEORGE R. R. MARTIN (1948- )

To escape from the limited confines of his New Jersey home, George R. R. Martin turned to reading, comic books (particularly Marvel), and speculative fiction; he graduated a B.S. in journalism with high honors, conscientiously objected to the Vietnam War, and found an interest in chess. After taking up teaching for a while, he began selling science fiction stories in 1970, eventually releasing novels like Dying of the Light, the vampire horror Fevre Dream, and the mystery fantasy The Armageddon Rag, before turning to television, writing for series such as the newly revived Twilight Zone, Max Headroom, and Beauty and the Beast; he also oversaw the development of the collaborative science fiction series Wild Cards. Having been awarded some of the industry’s highest honors, Martin took his childhood interest in Tolkien and his keen interest in history, particular the English War of the Roses, and, inspired by the work of Tad Williams, Began writing what would become A Song of Ice and Fire, a multi-volume epic relating the story of an ancient kingdom wrapped up in the political machinations of its competing rulers while an eldritch supernatural force slowly creeps out of the cold northern wastes. Adapted into a wildly successful HBO television series, the books – five lengthy titles (A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, and A Dance with Dragons) with two more on the way as of 2017 (The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring) –  have helped take Martin’s already highly regarded to towering heights, making him a household name.

Offsite resources:

Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_R._R._Martin)
Encyclopedia of Fantasy (http://sf-encyclopedia.uk/fe.php?nm=martin_george_r_r)
Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/martin_george_r_r)
Official website (http://www.georgerrmartin.com/)
LiveJournal (https://grrm.livejournal.com/)
The Guardian – Game of Thrones: An Epic Publishing Story (https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/aug/05/game-of-thrones-an-epic-publishing-story-george-rr-martin)
Rolling Stone – Interview with George R. R. Martin (http://www.rollingstone.com/tv/news/george-r-r-martin-the-rolling-stone-interview-20140423)
Business Insider – How “Game of Thrones” Author George R. R. Martin Went from Chess Captain and Journalism Professor to a Reported Net Worth of $15 Million (http://www.businessinsider.com/george-rr-martin-game-of-thrones-2017-8/#so-far-the-author-has-written-18-million-words-and-killed-off-3717-characters-in-the-series-martin-has-said-that-his-epic-fantasy-stories-draw-inspiration-from-world-history-and-jrr-tolkien-23)



STEPHEN KING (1947- )

Dubbed the “Master of Horror”, Stephen King has always led a life dominated by the written word, being practically addicted to reading and writing, getting his hands on all sorts of literature. Fascinated by horror stories and comics, he worked at numerous odd jobs before landing a teaching job at Hampden Academy, Maine, all the while sending short stories to every magazine he could find that would publish him; his first novel, Carrie, was published in 1973, and he has been immensely successful ever since. The main bulk of his output can be classified as horror, although most of them subsequently have fantastic overtones as a result. However, King has dipped into his own brand of outright fantasy on at least two major occasions, the first being the 1987 novel The Eyes of the Dragon, where the rightful prince of a kingdom must save both it and himself from an evil magician’s plots. The second constitutes what King considers to be his magnum opus – inspired by The Lord of the Rings as a teenager, he let a childhood idea germinate into a vast epic of Tolkienien and Arthurian mythology, imagery of American Westerns, and metafiction known as The Dark Tower, in which the last of a line of warriors seeks out a mysterious citadel which serves as the linchpin of realities, holding the multiverse together, as dark forces attempt to bring it down, thereby undoing all creation. Seven books constitute the main story (The Gunslinger, The Drawing of the Three, The Waste Lands, Wizard and Glass, Wolves of the Calla, Song of Susannah, and The Dark Tower) while an eighth (The Wind Through the Keyhole), plus others projected for the future, serves to fill in the gaps of the plot.

Offsite resources:

Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_King)
Encyclopedia of Fantasy (http://sf-encyclopedia.uk/fe.php?nm=king_stephen)
Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/king_stephen)
Official website (http://stephenking.com/)
SmartBlogger – Stephen King’s 20 Tips for Becoming a Frighteningly Good Writer (https://smartblogger.com/stephen-king/)
Biography.com – Stephen King (https://www.biography.com/people/stephen-king-9365136#!)
The New York Times – Stephen King’s Family Business (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/04/magazine/stephen-kings-family-business.html)
The Atlantic – Why Stephen King Spends “Months and Even Years” Writing Opening Sentences (https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/07/why-stephen-king-spends-months-and-even-years-writing-opening-sentences/278043/)
Rolling Stone – Interview with Stephen King (http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/stephen-king-the-rolling-stone-interview-20141031)
Los Angeles Review of Books – The Blue-Collar King: An Interview with Stephen King (https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/the-blue-collar-king-an-interview-with-stephen-king/#!)
The Paris Review – Stephen King, The Art of Fiction No. 189 (https://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/5653/stephen-king-the-art-of-fiction-no-189-stephen-king)




I'm relieved to have this one done. I might take a break for a bit, but never fear - I already have my next batches lined up. Until then, the forum topic can be found here: http://lostpathway.com/index.php/topic,16.0.html#forum


The wind blows, for good or ill, and I must follow.

Raven

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Re: MASTERS OF FANTASY: Part XVI
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2017, 11:13:38 PM »
Wow, now here is a heavy-hitting lot of authors. These are some big names. I recognize all but three, yet have read only one of the authors. I have heard a some Terry Pratchett read aloud, but haven't read him. Of course, everyone talks about Jordan -- still, never read his work.
I thought I saw a unicorn on the way here, but it was just a horse with one of the horns broken off.

Coír Draoi Ceítien

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Re: MASTERS OF FANTASY: Part XVI
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2017, 11:52:43 PM »
Yeah, I've read me some King, but not the Dark Tower novels. It's said (and certainly alluded to) that all of his work (or at least most of it) takes place in the same universe and is all connected in some way to the series. Looking to read Gaiman, and Bellairs sounds interesting. I hesitate to pick up Martin because, aside from my usual fickleness about the physical shape/size of the book (I have mass market, but I prefer to read trade), I don't know if I want to start it and it never gets finished - Martin's no spring chicken, and if the worst comes about, all we'll have is the TV ending.

Let me guess - the three you're unfamiliar with are Bellairs, Clarke, and Eddings. While I can't do anything about Bellairs and Eddings, I CAN try to sell you on Clarke. See, the BBC has really picked up their budget since the old Narnia days, and they released a really spectacular mini-series adapting at least the first half (more or less). I haven't finished it completely, but I've seen the first couple episodes, and I HIGHLY recommend it. If you have Netflix, it's available there now - GO WATCH IT!!!

Here's the trailer:
The wind blows, for good or ill, and I must follow.