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10 Authors Who Wrote Gritty, Realistic Fantasy Before George

 
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:37 am    Post subject: 10 Authors Who Wrote Gritty, Realistic Fantasy Before George Reply with quote

10 Authors Who Wrote Gritty, Realistic Fantasy Before George R.R. Martin

Donaldson gets first mention. And when I saw it on FB, the LFB cover was pictured.
Quote:
1) Stephen Donaldson

When you talk about works that brought a new darkness to fantasy, it's hard to overlook Lord Foul's Bane, the 1977 bestseller that launched Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant series. Donaldson took all of the tropes of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, and peered at them through an ugly light. And he gave us a protagonist that it's almost impossible to sympathize with, especially in the first book. Thomas Covenant is a self-loathing writer who's become a pariah after he's infected with leprosy so when he goes to a fantasy world where he's hailed as the mythical savior, the first thing he does is to rape someone. And then he carries on being the hero of the series, slowly coming to invest in the reality of this strange fantasy world. Not surprisingly, this series has fallen out of favor somewhat but it still deserves a place in the history of fantasy that challenged our heroic ideals.


It's interesting that the "fallen out of favor somewhat" hyperlink is a fairly positive review of the Final Chronicles.

And it's funny to me how people (like in the comments) catch on fairly easily to the whole 'doesn't believe the Land is real' aspect but almost never seem to mention how that's such a huge threat to Covenant's health, psyche, or even his soul. Yes, on one hand we're all supposed to get how most sane people would react to that kind of situation (not us, of course; most of us wear white gold rings for just such an occasion). But more importantly, Covenant isn't most people. There's a reason he has leprosy instead of asthma... or even cancer. He's the anti-us. Until he isn't.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice to see Gemmel listed there too, although his later stuff probably isn't as gritty. Barring the Troy trilogy and maybe the Rigante series.

(I'm enjoying the other SRD review it links to too: https://vacuouswastrel.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/lord-fouls-bane-by-stephen-r-donaldson/)

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2015 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read the long review for which Avatar provided a link. (And saw you pimping the Watch in the comments. Laughing ) It was decent. I think he's wrong on many points, but obviously a thoughtful person who put some time into his review.

However, I have a hard time respecting anyone who doesn't want to debate his opinion. I suppose that's why I like message boards rather than blogs. I guess some people find comfort in being their own little literary dictator, but not me. I prefer the messiness of the "democracy of ideas" that we get here. He talks about Donaldson being rejected 47 times as a sign that perhaps he should have edited/revised (and even advises aspiring authors on this point), but then doesn't take his own point to heart when people on the Watch repeatedly say his opinion is "utter bullshit." Why doesn't that tell him something about revising his opinion? He was rejected, and then simply went away.

I like discussions much more than reviews. Fanboys aren't the only ones who think their opinion is absolute, or that they know better than the author himself. But at least fanboys who participate here do expose themselves to criticism and face the challenge of defending their opinions.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 5:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was hoping he'd come aboard and discuss his viewpoint, but yes, it seems he doesn't really want to. A pity, but that's ok too I suppose.

It was the thoughtfulness of it that attracted me, I must say. As for revising his opinion, you'll note that he admired SRD's refusal to compromise...could we expect him to do less?

(Or any of us for that matter. Razz )

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd be interested to read some of the Watch discussions he was describing as "being put in stocks and having shit thrown at you." I know that some here were particularly rude or arrogant to readers who had problems with the Last Chronicles, but I don't remember any of that in the discussion of Lord Foul's Bane.
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
I'd be interested to read some of the Watch discussions he was describing as "being put in stocks and having shit thrown at you." I know that some here were particularly rude or arrogant to readers who had problems with the Last Chronicles, but I don't remember any of that in the discussion of Lord Foul's Bane.
We are all highly opinionated folks and many of us have no qualms speaking our minds.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar wrote:

It was the thoughtfulness of it that attracted me, I must say. As for revising his opinion, you'll note that he admired SRD's refusal to compromise
--A

What I liked was his own [and self-recognized] paradox-like "conclusion."
Kinda "Yea, a whole bunch of stuff I thought totally sucked, but you should read it anyway cuz it is unique/memorable, and what doesn't suck is amazing."
He almost made it sound like the "Citizen Kane" of the fantasy world---even if you don't like it, it is important/valuable.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, good description.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar wrote:
I was hoping he'd come aboard and discuss his viewpoint, but yes, it seems he doesn't really want to. A pity, but that's ok too I suppose.
Pshht, his reasons make sense to me.
Would we speak that way if one of us posted a substantial review with the exact same content? (or even with content that was far more flawed)

Zarathustra wrote:
He talks about Donaldson being rejected 47 times as a sign that perhaps he should have edited/revised (and even advises aspiring authors on this point)
c'mon... he mostly talks about that with reference to how most people would have done differently.
...it's following his whole stream of thought on his respect for Donaldson's boldness and stubbornness... That's the main focus.

Zarathustra wrote:
I'd be interested to read some of the Watch discussions he was describing as "being put in stocks and having shit thrown at you." ..but I don't remember any of that in the discussion of Lord Foul's Bane.
Pretty sure that is mainly in response to the other thread where we talk about his review:
http://kevinswatch.ihugny.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=24919
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Linna Heartlistener wrote:
Avatar wrote:
I was hoping he'd come aboard and discuss his viewpoint, but yes, it seems he doesn't really want to. A pity, but that's ok too I suppose.
Pshht, his reasons make sense to me.
Would we speak that way if one of us posted a substantial review with the exact same content? (or even with content that was far more flawed)
Have you must us?? Laughing Yeah, we most certainly would.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It does show respect to tell someone he's wrong if you know it to be the case.

To tell someone that things they're writing are BS shows disrespect...
"BS'ing" means making stuff up with no regard for the truth.

I'm thinking we certainly ought to do the first.
But the second...?
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 4:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed Linna.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Linna Heartlistener wrote:
c'mon... he mostly talks about that with reference to how most people would have done differently.
...it's following his whole stream of thought on his respect for Donaldson's boldness and stubbornness... That's the main focus.
That's one side of the coin. But plenty of time is given to criticizing SRD, including the notion that he should have revised his books. The critic thought they should have been revised based on his own reading, and the rejections were used additional proof to support that claim.

Quote:
Zarathustra wrote:
I'd be interested to read some of the Watch discussions he was describing as "being put in stocks and having shit thrown at you." ..but I don't remember any of that in the discussion of Lord Foul's Bane.
Pretty sure that is mainly in response to the other thread where we talk about his review:
http://kevinswatch.ihugny.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=24919
After reading through the thread, that's some pretty gentle criticism. "Calling bullshit" on someone isn't the same as saying his opinion is shitty, but pointing out an error in an incredulous manner. When someone declares, "Bullshit," it's a statement of disbelief, incredulity. It's certainly not "putting someone in stocks and throwing shit them." That's taking the term way too literal.

If you're going to portray yourself as a critic, perhaps you should be better at taking criticism.
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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