Thursday, October 10, 2013

Long absences do not, in fact, make the heart grow fonder.

They just make it more difficult to pick up where you left off.

That being said, I'd like to apologize for my own extended absence.  Over the weekend I went to Knoxville to do research on the paper I mentioned before, for my seminar.  I got some really exciting stuff, including the full transcript of the murder trial and a chance to look at and study documents that nobody else has looked at or studied in 100 years.  For a historian, this is exciting stuff, folks.  Documents nobody else has looked at since they were created?  Oh, yeah.  That's the ticket, right there.

As far as writing goes - I've finished the first draft of The Diamond Sword!  I'm thrilled.  Thrilled.  Of course, now I have some heavy-duty editing to do, but I'll get there.  Between the paper and preparing for my comprehensive exams (which are in about a month), school has to take precedence over writing.  For now.

I would like to take a moment to recommend some books.  I picked up some used books while I was in Knoxville - some fantasy classics that, believe it or not, I'd never actually read before.  And that gave me the idea to suggest my favorite fantasy novels to you.

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin (and all its follow-ons).
The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle.
Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey (and all the rest of the books from her world of Velgarth).
The Belgariad by David Eddings.  (Less so The Malloreon.)
The Redemption of Althalus by David Eddings.
The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey (okay, technically this series is sf, but there are dragons.)
The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett (and every other Discworld novel ever).
The Darksword trilogy and the Rose of the Prophet trilogy by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
The Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy by Tad Williams

Funny story about the last two entries.  I was a hardcore SF reader as a kid.  Loved it.  My brother came in from the used book store one day with the Darksword trilogy, The Dragonbone Chair, and Stone of Farewell.  He read them, loved them, salivated over the Tad Williams stuff until To Green Angel Tower came out.

When I saw the size of that hardback, I was like

Come to mama.

Anything that big and involved had my attention immediately.  So while he waded through it, I caught up with the first two books, and my love affair with fantasy novels began.

After I finished Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, I went on to read the Weis and Hickman stuff that he had, and then someone turned me on to Mercedes Lackey and... boom.

I find, though, that most of the fantasy that I read came out before I graduated from high school in 1995.  I don't have a lot of recent stuff.  So I ask you, my dear readers.  Give me YOUR recommendations.  Tell me what my life is poorer for not having.

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