Actually, I told them and they corrected it. Never mind.
Actually, I told them and they corrected it. Never mind.
Yes TOR does have a Dying Earth book out under their ORB imprint. Though the cover has more of a SciFi feel (with a huge spaceship!) than fantasy.
The SFBC edition came out a couple of years prior.
Also, I saw in the March issue of Locus an advertisement for a reissue by HarperPerennial (in the US) of John Crowley's Little, Big.
Funny you mention that, because I noticed the same ad. LITTLE, BIG is one of my favorite fantasy novels but I only have it in mass market paperback and I wouldn't mind upgrading. But the weird thing is I can't find the title on Amazon, which starts listing titles even long before their release date. Weird.
I should get the Vance book. I believe I have all the titles in mass market but I wouldn't mind having them all collected. Plus it would be an incentive to reread them, something I've been planning to do for a while. It IS sort of a silly cover, you wonder what the publisher was thinking.
This weekend have been reading a fair number of essays about Clark Ashton Smith, as well as a very interesting book from Arkham House called THE BLACK BOOK OF CLARK ASHTON SMITH. No, the Black Book does not contain the telephone numbers of his girlfriends (that would be the little black book, and it's probably out there, he was quite a ladies' man), but is in fact a reproduction of the notebook he carried around for twenty years and in which he wrote out ideas for stories. It's a pretty amazing work -- some of the ideas are for stories he actually wrote, but some he never did anything with. But just the ideas themselves, sketched out over only two or three sentences, can be haunting and wonderfully weird.
From the essays I've been reading and rereasing I've now gleaned that there are at least three famous fantasy/sf writers that began writing as a direct influence from reading Smith and remained diehard fans all of their life -- they are Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison and Fritz Leiber.
Leiber himself, who was as perceptive a critic as he was a fiction writer, wrote some very intelligent essays on Smith's work.
This is also the same publishing company that churns out all the interchangeable Darrell Sweet covers.It IS sort of a silly cover, you wonder what the publisher was thinking.
The SFBC Dying Earth edition has a really nice cover by Brom, which also includes a poster of the cover.
I find it terribly sad that when talking about overlooked masters people are continuing to skim over the wonderful Fritz Leiber, capable of epic fantasy, heroic, horror, SF, and the gamut of simply great fiction. I heartily recommend it all.
I think one of the unfortunate problems with Lieber is that his work is tough to find here in the us.
White-Wolf published 2 omnibuses around the time they reissued Moorcock's Eternal Champion work, but since then they are out of print.
At least Victor Gollancz in the UK is re-issuing a lot of his stuff.
However, at a recent convention I was lucky enough to find an old copy of Gather, Darkness!.
Well, he's a bit more recent than some of the other names being bandied about, but while we're on the subject, I think there's a fair amount available -- The Wanderer and The Big Time are in print, as are the Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories, as is DARK LADIES, which collects LADY OF DARKNESS and CONJURE WIFE. (Clark Ashton Smith is actually a character in the first.) And Midnight House is publishing now the second volume of a projected cycle of collected short stories.
Indeed, and I can personally vouch for the Midnight House books, as co-editor of them along with John Pelan
I read a review about Tom A. Shippey's J.R.R. Tolkien, Author of the Century. It sounded very interesting, as a kind of comparison between James Joyce' Ulysses and LotR. Its thesis seems to be that the standards of literature have been too formal in the past, Tolkien (~Fantasy Literature) being equally or more innovative as Joyce.
Have you ever heard about this book or read it? I wonder if it is worth to buy?
>>Indeed, and I can personally vouch for the Midnight House books, as co-editor of them along with John Pelan.
Great! Have bought a lot of stuff from John over the years, including stuff from his personal collection, all the Midnight House books and most recently the Manly Wade Wellman books he edited for Night Shade. The Midnight House books are very good, you've definitely done a great job in terms of bringing back a lot of stuff that was being neglected, including Robert Hichens, Edward Lucas White, WC Morrow, etc. The production values have also been steadily improving. (There were a few too many typos at first, I thought, but that seems to have been corrected!)
About Tom Shippey's J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century:
I bought and read this book when it came out last year. While Shippey's philological background allows him to do some fantastic analysis of Middle-Earth's pedigree, I think Shippey is intentionally provocative with his larger claims--namely, that Tolkien WAS the author of the century, and that Lord of the Rings ranks up there with Ulysses as the summit of 20th century fiction.
Shippey's critical focus on the density of the Lord of the Rings is really fun to read, although it is pretty similar to the theses he published in his earlier book, The Road to Middle-Earth. Shippey claims that at least as much care and learning went into Tolkien's creations as Joyce put into Ulysses, and that Lord of the Rings is Ulysses' match for allusiveness. Shippey also pays more attention than most Tolkien fans to the quality of Tolkien's prose. I think that many fans miss the trees for the forest, and value the work more for its scope and majesty than for the simple beauty of Tolkien's narrative descriptions.
But it's pretty obvious, to me at least, that Shippey's grand claims about Tolkien's preeminent status are, well, too grandiose. Shippey's a little too defensive about perceived faults in the story (shallow characterization, a simplistic morality), and is probably a little too quick to cry "Elitism!" in response to other critics' arguments.
That said, it's a wonderful scholarly book, and contains much to be treasured about Tolkien's creative brilliance. Also some thoughtful commentary on the state of critical response to fantasy and science fiction. If you can, also check out The Road to Middle-Earth (out of print, but probably available at libraries or through used book stores).
Thankyou very much for your detailed comment.
I'm especially interested in arguements about the literary worth of fantasy and its reception in the linguistic scientific community.
I don't know any books which provide a serious theoretical discussion of fantasy as a literary subject.
This book sounds good. Maybe you have some other recommendations?
Unfortunately, I don't know of many other scholarly treatments of fantasy or fantasy authors. Tolkien has attracted a fair number of critical essays and cheap biographies and study aids. C.S. Lewis has as well, I'm sure.
But the genre itself has been more or less abandoned by the critics, so far as one can tell by looking for books in stores. C.E. Manlove, a British scholar, has written a couple of books about fantasy, including one called a History of English Fantasy Literature or something like that. I have it, but haven't finished it. I have the feeling that there may be other books out there like it, but that they're published by the university presses and would be available mostly in university libraries, not in retail bookstores.
Brian Aldiss, a noted science fiction novelist, wrote an (out-of-print) book called Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction, which is both a documentary history and a work of criticism.
I often wish I could quit my day job and make a serious study of the development and quality of fantasy literature. It's a work waiting to be done, I sense. I'm sorry I can't give you too many more recommendations.
Thanks for your recommendations. I'd like to do some kind of study myself but I don't know what has been done on this field already. Maybe it's a good advice to look in the University Library next.
But I have the feeling that it's not very en vogue in academic circles to read fantasy except as an example of pop culture. So I doubt if I can find a serious treatment.