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Thread: Thoughts on Tad Williams
December 15th, 2010, 12:34 PM #46
I agree with Wert that his standalone novel The War of the Flowers is definitely a good example of the kind of fantasy Williams likes to write and the tropes he seems to play with.
If you like The War of the Flowers then read Shadowmarch. Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn is by far the superior work but it takes a bit of patience as it moves along at its own leisure. Shadowmarch starts off a bit faster.
Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn is a masterpiece and is one of my favorite works of fantasy literature. Shadowmarch is good albeit the ending was a bit disappointing. The constant is William's remarkable usage of imagery. He paints these fantastic settings that are often haunting and beautiful. His prose is excellent. Beautiful cadence and tone. Excellent dialogue.
Last edited by 3rdI; December 15th, 2010 at 03:06 PM.
December 15th, 2010, 12:51 PM #47
December 15th, 2010, 12:52 PM #48
December 15th, 2010, 12:58 PM #49
I guess I'll play devils advocate.
If you haven't alreayd bought his books id say skip him. M,S&T is slow and standard quest fantasy, nothing stands out really. Otherland is a decent virtual environment SF series, if you have to pick something thats what I'd go with.
December 15th, 2010, 01:17 PM #50
December 15th, 2010, 01:17 PM #51
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December 15th, 2010, 01:19 PM #52
December 15th, 2010, 03:15 PM #53
Bottom line if you prefer action and tons of magic from page one Williams isn't for you.
December 15th, 2010, 03:49 PM #54
I think a good comparison with MST might be with Tolkien. The pace is fairly similar, and Williams is doing that same detailed scene-setting with rich descriptions thing going on, though he never gets bogged down too badly (like say Jordan does).
Otherland moves a lot faster. Though it's as long as MST, it's more episodic. As the characters move from world to world within the VR network, they encounter new situations, deal with them, move onto the next world and so on. It's structured much more like a TV series, with each book like a season of the series (I'm surprised we haven't seen more interest in adapting it as a TV show, as it seems almost uniquely suited to it), though with ongoing story arcs as well. Whilst technically SF, it's actually a rationalised-fantasy. It certainly isn't William Gibson or anything like that. Technical jargon is fairly minimal and the SF side of things is a justification for the more fantastical adventures and situations the characters encounter in the VR network.
December 15th, 2010, 03:50 PM #55
December 15th, 2010, 03:52 PM #56
I agree, remember though too, there are events happening outside the VR network, which may not seem related, but indeed have an important connection. What struck me about the books was there are quite a few subplots going on, but I never felt lost, he nicely chains them together and they all tie up rather nicely.
December 15th, 2010, 06:45 PM #57
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I've read most of Tad Williams' works and War of the Flowers was my favorite. Otherland was great too but it's an animal all its own.
December 15th, 2010, 08:07 PM #58
What did you think of Shadowheart Wert? I though the battle scenes were superb but I was a bit disappointed with the ending.
Last edited by 3rdI; December 15th, 2010 at 08:10 PM.
November 23rd, 2011, 11:54 AM #59
My first and only book by Williams was Otherworld. I had early-warning of possible issues when I saw 'NY TIME BESTSELLING AUTHOR' on top of the cover - this has always been an indication that the book is going to bore me badly and focus greatly on people feelings/thoughts/descriptions/interactions, rather than advance the presumed plot of the book.
The book was almost 800 pages long, and way, way too slow. They could have cut half of the book and still faced some pacing issues. I did finish the first book, but cannot imagine doing anymore.
Won't read more by this author, and will never start a sf/f book by a NY TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR again.
November 23rd, 2011, 03:44 PM #60