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  1. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Henry
    It seems that, according to this piece, the most medieval thing about D&D and the fantasy genre - is the story style!
    Interesting point. A medieval romance typically involves a quest, with magical obstacles, for treasure and/or prisoners locked away in a castle/tower, etc. In that sense, D&D is fairly medieval.

  2. #42
    Dragging this thread back to the surface. Here's my update:

    * Finished reading Forgotten Beats of Eld. Like many books that are supposedly appropriate for teens, this one involves some decidedly mature themes. Spoilers! [spoiler]Sybel is almost raped, and uses lethal force to save herself. She also has to learn the meaning of love -- although it's debatable that she really learns that lesson correctly.[/spoiler] I was disappointed with the end of the book, because it felt abrurpt. There was no pay-off for all the build-up. [spoiler]Also, a minor point, but is it a coincidence that the villain is named Mithran, which is very similar to one of Gandalf's names (Mithrandir)?[/spoiler]

    * I have read a selection of Dunsany short stories. I'm rather disappointed in them, really. For example: The Fortress Unvanquishable, Save for Sacnoth completely lacks any narrative tension. The hero acquires the sword Sacnoth by exactly following the instructions for how to do so, and then just wades through the fortress showing off his mighty blade (er... that sounds raunchier, by far, than it really is). There's never a sense of danger or excitement. Can anyone recommend some of the better Dunsany short stories?

    * I still have several books on order from the library, but unknown conspirators are preventing me from getting them. Damn you! *shakes fist impotently*

  3. #43
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    I'd still recommend The King of Elfland's Daughter as the best Dunsany. It's novella rather than short story, but still only 100-150 pages long, IIRC. Not a bad read at all.

  4. #44
    I've only read

    The Hobbit: I loved it! Enough said.

    Watership Down: I actually didn't care for this one... Don't know why.

    The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath: Well, this happens to be one of my favorite books of all time. I loved Lovecraft's works. This book was so absolutely similar to a dream in terms of its logic and fantastical nature. Plus, any of his works are a great vocabulary expander when you're 14 or so.

    I'm surprised at some of the works that aren't on this list. Anything by Poe, some of the Conan stuff, Beowulf, Authurian legend stuff, and numerous other older works.

  5. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by milotha
    I'm surprised at some of the works that aren't on this list. Anything by Poe, some of the Conan stuff, Beowulf, Authurian legend stuff, and numerous other older works.
    The list isn't done, and, from what I can tell, he's trying to emphasize lesser-known but highly influencial works. Also, by "fantasy" I believe he means quasi-medieval fantasy -- stories that hark back to medieval romance (in the style of Tolkien), not the original legends, and not "weird tales" in a modern (or nonsense) setting.

    If I may repeat some excerpts from the essay on The Well at the World's End, by William Morris (1896):
    Morris not only served as Tolkien's personal role-model as a writer but is also responsible for fantasy's characteristic medievalism and the emphasis on what Tolkien called the subcreated world: a self-consistent fantasy setting resembling our own world but distinct from it. Before Morris, fantasy settings generally resembled the arbitrary dreamscapes of Carroll's Wonderland and MacDonald's fairy tales; Morris shifted the balance to a pseudo-medieval world that was realistic in the main but independent of real-world history and included fantastic elements such as the elusive presence of magical creatures.

    Ironically, Morris did not intend to help create a new genre but was seeking to revive a very old one: He was attempting to recreate the medieval romance -- those sprawling quest-stories of knights and ladies, heroes and dastards, friends, enemies, and lovers, marvels and simple pleasures and above all adventures. The most familiar examples of such tales to modern readers are the many stories of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, but these were merely the most well-known among a vast multitude of now-forgotten tales. Morris deliberately sat down to write new stories in the same vein and even something of the same style, right down to deliberately archaic word choice. But just as the creators of opera thought they were recreating classical Greek drama a la Aeschylus and wound up giving birth to a new art form instead, so too did Morris's new medieval tales belong to a new genre: the fantasy novel.
    Last edited by mmadsen; Wednesday, 27th September, 2006 at 10:42 PM.

  6. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by mmadsen
    The list isn't done, and, from what I can tell...
    Sadly, it looks like the list is as done as it's ever going to be.

  7. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by mmadsen
    This does not take me to the review of Well, but to the general Wizard's novel page.

  8. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by The Grumpy Celt
    This does not take me to the review of Well, but to the general Wizard's novel page.
    Odd. Try this link:

  9. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by mmadsen
    Odd.
    I since found it by going through the archives, but thank you. The column was nice. Pity it ended. I wonder why it ended.

  10. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by The Grumpy Celt
    I wonder why it ended.
    I suspect that it made WotC no money. If anything, it educated WotC's book audience to seek out the classics of the genre and not the latest D&D novel.

    But I think we can agree that it was an excellent series of essays while it lasted. And I wasn't going to buy the latest Forgotten Realms novel anyway.

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