PDA

View Full Version : Fathers of fantasy


SFFWorld.com
Home - Discussion Forums - News - Reviews - Interviews

New reviews, interviews and news

New in the Discussion Forum


Pages : 1 2 [3] 4 5 6

Erfael
August 30th, 2003, 12:31 AM
Originally posted by Julian:
Having said this, nothing - absolutely nothing - really preceded The Lord Of The Rings.

Would you clarify that so I know whether or not to open debate with you? There was nothing that even vaguely fit into the fantasy mold before LoTR? The LoTR was not merely a step(A big one, but still a step) along the road, but a cut and dried beginning?

Julian
August 30th, 2003, 02:19 AM
Hi Erfael,

I'd be happy to clarify anything. Not just now, though, the weekend's just starting :) At least not in any length.

I can't help but reply shortly, though.

Of course there were a lot of works that fitted into the fantasy mold before Tolkien's Lord of The Rings. In fact, having replied to this thread earlier, I seem to have mentioned them. In honesty, I don't understand this part of your question.

As to the second part: no, The Lord of The Rings was not just a stepping stone. It was and is totally unique. Nothing preceded it in terms of vison, grandeur, thought or feeling. I'll go further: nothing will, I feel, succeed it. Not unless someone with great wit, knowledge, determination and skill spends all of his or her life attempting to create something likewise.

Tolkien's effort is a life's effort, augmented by a great mind and not disemboweled by commercial interests. In recent years, Patricia McKillip, John Crowley and George Martin (to name but a few) have, each in their own way, added to the fantasy pantheon. But none of these come anywhere close to Tolkien.

Let's put it this way: I happen to love Eddison and Peake. I admire Morris. I like White. But I would happily toss them all aside for the complete and utter joy of Tolkien.

I'm not sure what you mean with the "cut and dried beginning" reference. If you feel Lord of The Rings is "cut and dried" in the sense of it being unoriginal or merely the continuation of earlier endeavours, you are, frankly, out of your mind ;)...

That's the short answer. Again, I'd be happy to respond more fully later.

KatG
August 30th, 2003, 11:27 AM
Actually, Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" is generally considered to be one of the first science fiction novels written, not fantasy. If you want to go all the way back to the first fantasy fiction, discounting pre-history fantasy which has not survived, you'd probably be looking at Homer with the Illiad and the Odyssey as one of the first such writers.

But again, my understanding was that we weren't talking about fantasy writing throughout history, but the launching of the modern fantasy genre, which occurred in the 1960's-70's. Tolkein is considered the grandfather of the modern fantasy genre, not of fantasy writing itself. It was the cult success of LOTR in the 1960's and 1970's that helped create and launch fantasy imprints under the umbrella of science fiction publishers, that started the genre movement, if you will. So if we put Tolkein in the grand-father position, who were the writers in the late sixties and seventies who contributed to the new publishing genre and helped it to grow into an actual category of publishing, one that by the eighties, had become a major force in the market?

Sirand
August 30th, 2003, 04:38 PM
I disagree; Frankenstein is hardly science fiction, considering that their is only one, isolated event which surpasses modern science, but this is really fantastical and magical rather than anything scientific.

Although I haven't hardly even started I already know the basic plot and it seems more of a parable, overall, than anything scientific.

Nevyn
August 30th, 2003, 08:56 PM
Originally posted by Julian
Let's put it this way: I happen to love Eddison and Peake. I admire Morris. I like White. But I would happily toss them all aside for the complete and utter joy of Tolkien. Well that would be silly wouldn't it ? That's like saying it's not worth reading anyone else because it wont be as good ;)

neologik
August 31st, 2003, 01:18 AM
Originally posted by Sirand
I disagree; Frankenstein is hardly science fiction, considering that their is only one, isolated event which surpasses modern science, but this is really fantastical and magical rather than anything scientific.

Well, I guess we can take your word over that of folks like Tom Shippey, John Clute, Brian Aldiss, Gary K. Wolfe and Thomas Disch...

--gabe chouinard
hyper machine interfaces (http://hypermode.blogspot.com)
dead cities: exploratory musings (http://pub44.ezboard.com/bdeadcitiesver3o19082)

Erfael
August 31st, 2003, 03:27 AM
Took the words out of me fingers, neo.

BTW, when is s1ngularity coming back? I sort of liked it......

Erfael
August 31st, 2003, 03:30 AM
Julian, I didn't mean some of the things you thought. If you're not a native English speaker, I should have worded a couple of things differently so as to not confuse you. It's too late now, though, so I'll try to come back when its light again and put down some thoughts. I think we're largely on the same page(I think I did it again here), mostly. :D

lemming
August 31st, 2003, 02:21 PM
Frankenstein is hardly science fiction, considering that their is only one, isolated event which surpasses modern science, but this is really fantastical and magical rather than anything scientific.

I didn't know that science fiction required more than one scientific breakthrough to make it science fiction. Oh wait, because it doesn't.

The biology in Frankenstein may be flawed, but its premise is based on an advance in science, and that makes it SF. Never is anything in the book explained by magic, nor does anything else happen that requires supernatural intervention.

Sigh.

jfclark
September 1st, 2003, 09:51 AM
I don't think I'm going to be able to make a successful rebuttal to those who have a vested interest in the notion that Frankenstein is a science fiction novel--like Clute, Aldiss, et al. But pretty clearly Frankenstein was written in the Gothic tradition, and its "fantastic" elements (whether or not they are derivative of a "scientific" plot device) are what made (and make) it a great novel. I would have thought that a novel like Frankenstein, which predates the "hard" sci-fi sub-genre by so many decades, could hardly be claimed plausibly to be only a science fiction novel, and not, in addition, a scientific variant on the Gothic monster novel, a fable of modernity, etc. But people like Clute and Aldiss have very different--and not always academic--reasons for claiming Mary Shelley as one of their own.

All I said was that Frankenstein was the greatest exponent of the Gothic novel, to which category many critics look for the origins of the modern fantasy novel.