Thoughts on Tad Williams

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by firestorm, Jun 14, 2009.

  1. chris777

    chris777 Registered User

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    This thread is funny. For one the Thread Starter started this back in June 2009, and people kept posting until Dec 2010. And now it gets resurrected in Nov 2011?! And for two...the guy has never been back to this forum after his one post about Tad Williams.

    sad.
     
  2. Pvt

    Pvt Registered User

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    I could not get thru Dragonbone Chair. There are alot of authors out there that don't seem to understand something called, pacing. Tad Williams is one of those authors.
     
  3. murf99

    murf99 Registered User

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    I bought the 4 books for MST because I've heard many times over the years that its a "masterpiece" and a must read for any sff fan. I havent gotten around to starting it yet. After skimming through some of this thread I'm starting to get worried I wasted my money. So how bad is the pacing? Is it slower than Robert Jordan? I can handle Jordan, so if its not that slow I think I'm ok.
     
  4. Fedos

    Fedos Registered User

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    I just finished reading The Dragonbone Chair for the second time. I read it the first time years ago, and never followed through with reading the other books in the series. But I really enjoyed reading it, both times in fact, as after this second read I've ordered The Stone of Farwell over Amazon.

    Well, nothing really happens majorly in the first book until about after 150-200pages. If you are a patient reader (seeing as you have read some of Jordan's later works) then you should be ok with Williams. He has a good command of language, so it's not like it's a bad read.
     
  5. Erfael

    Erfael Lemurs!!! Staff Member

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    Sure, nothing major happens, but that first 200 pages is just so well-painted that it's wonderful. If you're all about plot, I can see those being a problem. But if you're up for atmosphere, color, mood, mystery...it's some of the best 200 pages in fantasy.
     
  6. PeterWilliam

    PeterWilliam Omnibus Prime

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    Agreed. I remember the series fondly and still have them in their original HC releases (3 books). It just occurred to me that I have never re-read this series. I may do so this winter, just to reconnect with it after having first read it 20 years ago.
     
  7. chokipokilo

    chokipokilo Unreasonable reasoner

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    I made it to within 100 pages of the end of "The Dragonbone Chair" and gave up. The pacing wouldn't have been an issue if the story were original, but it seemed like a lot of time spent reading something I'd read several times before. I really just didn't care for Simon enough to spend another 3 large books reading about him.
     
  8. Mark Lawrence

    Mark Lawrence The New ... MARK LAWRENCE

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    I read this so damn long ago ... possibly even the year it came out. I remember ... well almost nothing to be honest. A wizardly mentor who came to a sticky end, a big castle, a young boy of lowly origins destined for greatness .... then a sword... some mountains? I do recall I quite enjoyed it at the time. But I didn't read any more. Possibly because they weren't released at the time I was motivated to buy them.
     
  9. TooNice

    TooNice Banned

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    Yeah I found him far too verbose.
     
  10. Rexington

    Rexington Bookaholic

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    I just finished the whole series and kinda liked it. I read it just for the historical (within the realm of fantasy lit) impact. It was okay, however very slow. The one thing that did standout was the mental transformation Simon went through. It was slower than most orphaned/destined for greatness characters, and because of that felt more realistic. If something like that happened to any ordinary person they wouldn't just suddenly turn into a hero through and through. He was scared ****less most of the time, just like most of us would be. That makes sense when you realize that not a whole lot of time passed in the whole story.
     
  11. EricaW

    EricaW Registered User

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    I haven't been able to get into most of the Tad Williams books (though I remember one about a cat I read years ago that was cute-not sure if that was the same Williams though). But the great thing about fiction is that there is room for all kinds of tastes.
     
  12. Heather Myst

    Heather Myst Chocolate.....Count Me In

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    I read the MST books and found them to be pretty average. I liked the first book of the Shadow series but gave up after the second book.
     
  13. Psylent

    Psylent Registered User

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    Sounds like Tad's book Tailchaser's Song.
     
  14. zakhrin

    zakhrin Registered User

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    Exactly my tought.
    I loved it so much that i switched from french to English to have a better taste at the original writing. It has been years and i still remember clearly some scenes of the books.
     
  15. Werthead

    Werthead Registered User

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    I'm sure I reviewed the first two books here, but I can't find the thread. Oh well.

    Shadowmarch #3: Shadowrise by Tad Williams

     
  16. Erfael

    Erfael Lemurs!!! Staff Member

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    Just for reference, Wert, what did you think of Memory, Sorrow, Thorn?
     
  17. owlcroft

    owlcroft Webmaster, Great SF&F

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    Try this one:

    Arguably his best book, and one rather different from his others, is Caliban's Hour, which is remarkably brief.

    His series works, as most everyone has noted, take readerly patience. His sf series, "Otherland", though as long as any, does not feel--to me--as artificially "stretched" as his fantasy series do.
     
  18. Werthead

    Werthead Registered User

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    Better than SHADOWMARCH, but ultimately probably more important and popular due to when it was published and its impact on the epic fantasy subgenre. Arguably, it was the first Tolkienesque epic fantasy published since Donaldson's THOMAS COVENANT trilogy aimed squarely at adults instead of children, or both, and paved the way for THE WHEEL OF TIME and A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE (GRRM reiterated this just a few months ago during a Q&A hosted by Williams, that he owes a huge debt to the trilogy for inspiring ASoIaF).

    Taken by itself, the series is long-winded and meandering, though slightly more focused than SHADOWMARCH with a lot more impactful, memorable moments and scenes.

    I think OTHERLAND works better because it's a TV series in novel form. It's a string of episodes (some of them self-contained) that together form an over-arcing narrative, rather than a single long novel broken up into four volumes, as such series usually are.

    I'd also agree that Williams has a lot of skill with shorter novels and short stories (his stories in both SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH and especially WARRIORS are superb), something that tends to get drowned out by his numerous 300,000+ word novels.
     
  19. Davis Ashura

    Davis Ashura Would be writer? Sure.

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    Wert, don't mean to be disagreeable so early in the morning, but I don't think Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn predates Wheel of Time or paved the way for it. In the US, I distinctly remember seeing both both appearing in hardcover just before Christmas 1989. I got Dragonbone Chair and my roommate picked up The Eye of the World. Back then, hardcovers, at least Jordan's books were sold a month before the release date in my neck of the woods.
    Pedantic, I know. Sorry about that.
     
  20. Werthead

    Werthead Registered User

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    THE DRAGONBONE CHAIR was published in October 1988, THE EYE OF THE WORLD (officially) in January 1990. Certainly Williams didn't inspire Jordan to write THE WHEEL OF TIME (Jordan started work on it in 1984), but THE DRAGONBONE CHAIR predated it by well over a year and definitely represented a bit of a change in the fantasy market in the USA. Whilst there'd been some more adult-oriented fantasy (like Glen Cook's early BLACK COMPANY books), this was arguably the first major work of epic fantasy since Donaldson which was not predominantly aimed at children, or at least a crossover audience.

    I liken the situation to that between Jordan and Martin. Martin didn't read THE EYE OF THE WORLD until many years after he started writing A GAME OF THRONES in 1991, but has often said that THE WHEEL OF TIME paved the way for ASoIaF by simply expanding the fantasy marketplace and making long series more acceptable (hell, I think even Erikson has indicated that WoT paved the way - in a marketing sense if nothing else - for MALAZAN's ten-volume series).