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  1. #16
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    A very rusty Journeyman. I really haven´t read nearly as much in the last five years as I would have liked, but before, say, 2003 I read everything I got my hands on that somewhat resembled fantasy. I´ve started down that path again and also just began writing my own book.

  2. #17
    I don't think I fit into any of those....

    I am not a diehard fantasy reader and will read pretty much anything but love fantasy above most books, I have never liked Pratchett or Tolkien but have read the Harry Potter books and liked them because they were kind of easy to read I guess.
    I just pick a book and give it a go but will always finish it whether I like it or not, I can't stop reading part way through as it drives me crazy no matter how naff it is.

    But I hardly ever finish series/sagas/trilogies, I forget authors names and book titles so easily. And with always being skint, 3 kids always wanting more and the fact that I never read a book twice, I do not tend to buy them, I go to the library once a week and take out as many as I am allowed.

    My love of fantasy comes from fairy tales- my favourite film was and still is Sleeping Beauty and I grew up reading. Once I completed all of the teenage books in my library and a lot of the classics (Animal farm is the only book I have re-read!), at about 11 yrs old I picked up a Storm Constantine book and was hooked.

    So not sure what I woul be but I don't seem to fit anywhere!

    Sorry twaffling again

  3. #18
    Supercalifragilistic teahupoo's Avatar
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    Journeyman fantasy reader. I've read hundreds of books/series. I follow many author blogs like Rothfuss, Sanderson, and GRRM.

    Apprentice Sci Fi reader. I've read all the dune books father and son. Kevin j Anderson seven sun books. Orson Scott Card books. Some random books like Anathem by Neal Stephenson. A few others.

    I am a novice Horror reader. Ive read all the Anne Rice vampire books.

  4. #19
    I'm a novice, apprentice and journeyman at the same time. I'm new to fantasy AND I've read hundreds of fantasy books, although I must admit not all of them were high fantasy but I have read works from over 50 high fantasy authors.

  5. #20
    I suppose that, from a reader standpoint, I fall somewhere in the neighborhood of "Master". While I'm not a blogger or aspiring author, I certainly have read plenty of books (well more than 2,000, from more than 650 authors). For more years than I'd care to confess, I've tried to read both widely and deeply from the best that science fiction & fantasy has to offer. While there are certainly gaps in my reading (the more you read, the more your to-read list grows), I'm moderately satisfied with progress to date. I've read most of the major award winners, the majority of the nominees, around forty genre history and criticism books, most of the SF classics (both the older list and the updated list - fascinating approach to this), and plenty of interesting "peripheral" authors. I've even read Hugo Gernsback, L. Ron Hubbard, and other genre reprobates.

    I must confess that I don't really have the stomach for phat fantasy and that I increasingly incline towards the literary end of the spectrum (as well as the surreal and the outré). Even so, I'm not averse to some good YA or a bit of guilty pleasure. I have pretty high standards, irredeemably set at an early age by the consumption of almost the entirety of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series (I still have one unread - aging, like fine wine).

    As for Clute, I sometimes think that (based on both readings and personal observations) the emperor is, at best, clad in gossamer. He'll go round and round and I can hardly make out what he's trying to say. Sometimes, I'm tempted to think that he's not really trying to say anything - it's simply obfuscation at high boil. I've often thought his "Excessive Candor" column was remarkable for its lack of candor - it was often difficult to tell whether or not he actually liked a work. Perhaps this is a bit strong, but the contrast between the Clute's ambages and, say, the warm and lucid expressions of Michael Dirda (genre-friendly Pulitzer Prize winner for criticism) is remarkable.

    Anyhow, my attitude towards genre is somewhere along the lines of: "Eleventy-one years is far too short a time to read such excellent and admirable authors. I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."

  6. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Alchemist View Post
    Being as knowledgeable as a Clute or Gary K Wolfe would be a Master or Sage, not a Scholar.
    I understood but was working out why I couldn't be considered a Sage.

    The difference I tried to define between Journeyman and Scholar is that both may be equally avid readers, but a Scholar actually wants to know about the field and enjoys meta-discussions about fantasy or sf. In a sense, knowing who wrote a given book isn't that important to a Journeyman, or only enough to know what to read (or avoid) in the future. A Scholar, on the other hand, is also interested in knowing about the author because of how they fit into the context of the field as a whole.
    I certainly lean heavily toward the scholar, but I don't believe I've read broadly enough to take on that mantle.

    And I would say that the "esoteric, abstract, literary-jargon" is a separate stream from actual knowledge of the field, an off-shoot if you will.
    I disagree. Every discipline has its jargon (think of the PC/laptop you're working on with bytes, bits, megabytes, routers, memory, motherboards, etc, etc), including literary scholarship -- it's the short form for conveying a wealth of information. Sages and masters would have to be familiar with this to discuss issues with one another (Wolfe, in particular, since he is a practicing academic -- sounds vaguely disreputable, doesn't it?) and Clute, in what I've read by him, seems inclined to create his own jargon as he goes along, pulling in esoteric, obscure words to denote what might be more easily understood by his audience in simpler, but probably more extensive, language.

    In the analogy I use above, a Journeyman may enjoy the field as one among many while for a Scholar it is a focus of study that goes beyond entertainment. So, in a sense, there is a jump between Journeyman and Scholar of commitment. For the former, sf/fantasy is one interest among many, whereas for the Scholar it is a true passion and central to their lives. This may also divide the folks that want to take their interest into the professional domain in some way, whether through blogging, review writing, story writing, etc.
    Fair 'nuff. But most scholars would have started as novices, worked up to apprentices, then journeymen. It's actually pretty easy to find yourself somewhere between such designations.


    Randy M.

  7. #22
    I should be working metalprof's Avatar
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    I would put myself in the "Journeyman" category, and happily so. I have no desire to improve my standing. I would worry that I would start "analyzing" the books too much if I tried to be smarter about them or the genre.

    I used to date a girl who found it impossible to listen to music anymore simply for pleasure; she was a music major and found it too hard to turn off the analytical part of her mind that was being trained by all her studies. I would not want that to happen to me when it comes to books.

    Ken

  8. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Queen Aurora View Post
    I don't think I fit into any of those....
    You sound like a Journeyman, to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy M. View Post
    I certainly lean heavily toward the scholar, but I don't believe I've read broadly enough to take on that mantle.
    You sound like me. I was a voracious reader through my teenage years and maybe early 20s, then dwindled down to a trickle for over a decade and now am just getting going again. If you look at lists like the Fantasy Masterworks or major Awards, I've only read a fraction, but I put myself in the Scholar category over the Journeyman because of my orientation to fantasy and sf--as an aspiring writer and student of the field, in addition to a fan. I haven't read all of the classics but I'm familiar with most of them and have a larger generation orientation and in-built dialectic of trying to know more about the genre.

    In my designations I tried to make clear that the "tiers" have less to do with number of books read and more to do with understanding and knowledge of the field as a whole. A Journeyman may have read many more books than a Scholar but not have the interest or investment in understanding the "meta-picture." This isn't a judgment as a Scholar is not "better" than a Journeyman, but the difference is the degree of investment and orientation to the field. To a Scholar it is more than just a favorite past-time or hobby, it is a field of study and, possibly, artistic activity or work.

    That said, while a Scholar need not have read widely, it is not so with a Master--it is a convergence of a wide (and deep) reading and study of the field.

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy M. View Post
    I disagree. Every discipline has its jargon (think of the PC/laptop you're working on with bytes, bits, megabytes, routers, memory, motherboards, etc, etc), including literary scholarship -- it's the short form for conveying a wealth of information. Sages and masters would have to be familiar with this to discuss issues with one another (Wolfe, in particular, since he is a practicing academic -- sounds vaguely disreputable, doesn't it?) and Clute, in what I've read by him, seems inclined to create his own jargon as he goes along, pulling in esoteric, obscure words to denote what might be more easily understood by his audience in simpler, but probably more extensive, language.
    Agreed re: Clute, but I don't think this jargon is required to be a Scholar or even a Master, just as one doesn't need to know postmodern literary criticism to be a Scholar of literature. Clute's jargon is Clute's jargon--it does not define the field, just provides one lens to view it from. It behooves a Scholar to be familiar with Clute, but one need not study him or his work, and certainly one need not compile a lexicon of his arcana.

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy M. View Post
    Fair 'nuff. But most scholars would have started as novices, worked up to apprentices, then journeymen. It's actually pretty easy to find yourself somewhere between such designations.
    True. One thing I tried to make clear is that the designations beyond Journeyman--Scholar, Master, and Sage--are akin to a specialization, an investment beyond entertainment value, thus my equivalents of graduate school, adjunct, and tenured professor. Most readers of fantasy never become Scholars, while many quickly become Scholars and have read far less than many long-time Journeymen.

    Quote Originally Posted by metalprof View Post
    I would put myself in the "Journeyman" category, and happily so. I have no desire to improve my standing. I would worry that I would start "analyzing" the books too much if I tried to be smarter about them or the genre.

    I used to date a girl who found it impossible to listen to music anymore simply for pleasure; she was a music major and found it too hard to turn off the analytical part of her mind that was being trained by all her studies. I would not want that to happen to me when it comes to books.
    This is a common pitfall that specialists can--but don't always--fall into, sort of like being jaded and missing the forest for the trees. As Ursula K Le Guin said, the most important use of fantasy is to bring wonder and delight. The second most important is to provide meaning. The kind of thing you're talking about has lost sight of the first and even the second and created a third, a kind of masturbatory intellectualism.

    The key is balancing the analytical and aesthetic aspects of the brain so that they don't cancel or drown each other out, but accent each other, unite to form something larger and more wonder-full. Fantasy readers do this all them time when they are both trying to figure out the world and "what is going on" but also enjoying the characters, action, and individual moments.

    But being a Scholar or even Master or Sage has less to do with analyzing books than participating with them in a different way, through one or both of two modalities: studying the history and field as a whole, and/or writing within the field in some form or fashion. Being a Scholar of fantasy only requires an interest in the field as a whole and a desire to learn more.

  9. #24
    I'd put myself in the Journeyman category. While I'm at it I thought I'd post my own version of the Gollancz Masterworks list, bolded are read.

    I - Dune - Frank Herbert
    II - The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula K. Le Guin
    III - The Man in the High Castle - Philip K. Dick
    IV - The Stars My Destination - Alfred Bester
    V - A Canticle for Leibowitz - Walter M. Miller, Jr.
    VI - Childhood's End - Arthur C. Clarke
    VII - The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress - Robert A. Heinlein
    VIII - Ringworld - Larry Niven
    IX - The Forever War - Joe Haldeman

    X - The Day of the Triffids - John Wyndham

    1 - The Forever War - Joe Haldeman
    2 - I Am Legend - Richard Matheson
    3 - Cities in Flight - James Blish
    4 - Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Philip K. Dick

    5 - The Stars My Destination - Alfred Bester
    6 - Babel-17 - Samuel R. Delany
    7 - Lord of Light - Roger Zelazny
    8 - The Fifth Head of Cerberus - Gene Wolfe
    9 - Gateway - Frederik Pohl
    10 - The Rediscovery of Man - Cordwainer Smith

    11 - Last and First Men - Olaf Stapledon

    12 - Earth Abides - George R. Stewart
    13 - Martian Time-Slip - Philip K. Dick
    14 - The Demolished Man - Alfred Bester
    15 - Stand on Zanzibar - John Brunner
    16 - The Dispossessed - Ursula K. Le Guin

    17 - The Drowned World - J. G. Ballard
    18 - The Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut
    19 - Emphyrio - Jack Vance
    20 - A Scanner Darkly - Philip K. Dick

    21 - Star Maker - Olaf Stapledon
    22 - Behold the Man - Michael Moorcock

    23 - The Book of Skulls - Robert Silverberg
    24 - The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds - H. G. Wells
    25 - Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes

    26 - Ubik - Philip K. Dick
    27 - Timescape - Gregory Benford
    28 - More Than Human - Theodore Sturgeon
    29 - Man Plus - Frederik Pohl

    30 - A Case of Conscience - James Blish

    31 - The Centauri Device - M. John Harrison
    32 - Dr. Bloodmoney - Philip K. Dick
    33 - Non-Stop - Brian Aldiss
    34 - The Fountains of Paradise - Arthur C. Clarke
    35 - Pavane - Keith Roberts

    36 - Now Wait for Last Year - Philip K. Dick
    37 - Nova - Samuel R. Delany
    38 - The First Men in the Moon - H. G. Wells
    39 - The City and the Stars - Arthur C. Clarke
    40 - Blood Music - Greg Bear


    41 - Jem - Frederik Pohl
    42 - Bring the Jubilee - Ward Moore
    43 - VALIS - Philip K. Dick
    44 - The Lathe of Heaven - Ursula K. Le Guin
    45 - The Complete Roderick - John Sladek
    46 - Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said - Philip K. Dick
    47 - The Invisible Man - H. G. Wells
    48 - Grass - Sheri S. Tepper
    49 - A Fall of Moondust - Arthur C. Clarke
    50 - Eon - Greg Bear


    51 - The Shrinking Man - Richard Matheson
    52 - The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch - Philip K. Dick
    53 - The Dancers at the End of Time - Michael Moorcock
    54 - The Space Merchants - Frederik Pohl and Cyril M. Kornbluth

    55 - Time Out of Joint - Philip K. Dick
    56 - Downward to the Earth - Robert Silverberg
    57 - The Simulacra - Philip K. Dick
    58 - The Penultimate Truth - Philip K. Dick
    59 - Dying Inside - Robert Silverberg
    60 - Ringworld - Larry Niven


    61 - The Child Garden - Geoff Ryman
    62 - Mission of Gravity - Hal Clement
    63 - A Maze of Death - Philip K. Dick
    64 - Tau Zero - Poul Anderson
    65 - Rendezvous with Rama - Arthur C. Clarke
    66 - Life During Wartime - Lucius Shepard
    67 - Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang - Kate Wilhelm
    68 - Roadside Picnic - Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
    69 - Dark Benediction - Walter M. Miller, Jr.
    70 - Mockingbird - Walter Tevis

    71 - Dune - Frank Herbert
    72 - The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress - Robert A. Heinlein
    73 - The Man in the High Castle - Philip K. Dick

    74 - Inverted World - Christopher Priest
    75 - Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
    76 - The Island of Dr. Moreau - H.G. Wells
    77 - Childhood's End - Arthur C. Clarke
    78 - The Time Machine - H.G. Wells
    79 - Dhalgren - Samuel Delany (July 2010)
    80 - Helliconia - Brian Aldiss (August 2010)


    81 - Food of the Gods - H.G. Wells (Sept. 2010)
    82 - The Body Snatchers - Jack Finney (Oct. 2010)
    83 - The Female Man - Joanna Russ (Nov. 2010)
    84 - Arslan - M.J. Engh (Dec. 2010)

    I guess I need to read more Phillip K. Dick.

  10. #25
    Registered User Jeroen's Avatar
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    I....... dunno.

    I have an interest in SF&F at the level of Scholar, a knowledge somewhere between Journeyman and Scholar, and the number of books I have read would place me between Apprentice and Journeyman.

  11. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
    I....... dunno.

    I have an interest in SF&F at the level of Scholar, a knowledge somewhere between Journeyman and Scholar, and the number of books I have read would place me between Apprentice and Journeyman.


    I agree with Alchemist that there is a mind-set that can lead a reader to be scholarly even when s/he hasn't read that much. Conversely, minus that mind-set (intellectual bent? point of view?), someone who reads omnivorously in the field may never go beyond journeyman.


    Randy M.

  12. #27
    Hah, what fun! I'm a journeyman and will never be anything but a journeyman. I read fantasy all the time and love what I enjoy, but I lack the attention to detail and memory to ever approach scholar.

    I appreciate the never-ending recommendations by all of those in the upper tiers on this forum.

  13. #28
    Hi guys. Say I am around or close to a Journeyman... What sources would you recommend for me to start my way to gathering the knowledge to become a Scholar and beyond? If someone could suggest either good web sites or books, that would be appreciated.

    For example, in the description for Scholar, it states "You find yourself buying books on genre history and criticism." What would some of these be?

    Thanks

  14. #29
    Nobody in Particular kcf's Avatar
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    Scholar in fantasy.

    In SF, I'm probably closer to apprentice than journyman.

    As for Clute. yeah, I'm familiar with him. And he may be quite brilliant, but he doesn't speak to me at all.

  15. #30
    Registered User beniowa's Avatar
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    I'd say I'm a Journeyman heading towards Scholar.

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