Friday, June 05, 2009

Another fantasy giant gone

Via Citizen Reader, I see that David Eddings has passed. While I would not rank him with my favorite fantasy novelists today, he is the author that hooked me on fantasy novels*. I gobbled up the Belgariad in middle school and high school and then followed it up the Mallorean into my college years. Looking back, I am surprised that the last one of those came out in 1991. By that point, I thought I had transistioned my loyalties to the initially thrilling, but ultimately disappointing Wheel of Time saga. Looking back, the Belgariad, while more understated, is probably the more successful series as it manages to tell its story without collapsing under its weight.

Thinking of Eddings and 1980s fantasy novelists, I thought of Terry Brooks known for the Sword of Shanara and many follow on novels. While nearly all fantasy novelists (excepting of course Tolkein hater China Mieville) borrow from Tolkein, Brooks seemed to cut and paste directly from the Lord of the Rings. The book concluded with a battle that may as well been called the Battle of Minas Tirith. It sold fine, so I guess fantasy fans don't mind, but I am curious if people still read Brooks.

*Lord Foul's Bane was my first fantasy novel but that one didn't work for my pre-teen self.


Citizen Reader said...

Ha! Terry Brooks. One of my other favorite fantasy novels who my hubby derides as completely Tolkien-derivative.

I've often thought both Eddings and Brooks may have been derivative, but they also made fantasy more accessible for lots of readers (and, dare I say it, for girls?). Tolkien was quite simply TOO LONG and involved for me, with too many battles lovingly detailed for pages and pages and pages--and very few women characters to be found. I loved the Sword of Shannara series, and even though the books were longer, they read much faster than "The Hobbit," which I still haven't quite recovered from the boredom of, frankly.

I'll have to re-read Brooks after Eddings this winter, methinks.

Tripp said...

What, you don't care for long poems in the original Elvish? I will certainly say that Brooks makes it more accessible, I just wish he was more original. I think Eddings has that one him.

I think you might like the George R R Martin books (plenty of female leads both good and bad and less emphasis on combat - more on the intrigue)

Citizen Reader said...

I LOVE George R. R. Martin--very astute of you. I've only read the first one but that's another series I plan on blowing through when I have a bit more time. When that will be I'm not quite sure yet. I always meant to read the second book on the plane when I took a trip somewhere--but I have yet to take a trip since I had that thought!