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Thelonius
Senior Scribe

Spain
726 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2011 :  07:33:49  Show Profile  Click to see Thelonius's MSN Messenger address Send Thelonius a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think I'd go for Tolkien, though he is prolly not my favourite and some parts of the LotR drove me insane (specially the first half of The Fellowship of the Ring), we have to recognize his tremendous work, anyone who has read The Silmarillion can see the enormous depth and work that he put in there. His books are the most important and widely known phantasy setting, everybody knows about Frodo, Gandalf, Sauron, ... Gandalf is even considered the stereotypical wizard and, almost every phantasy writer has borrowed or works with stuff that came from his mind; though yes he took many of his ideas from folklore. So I'd go for him.

"If you are to truly understand, then you will need the contrast, not adherence to a single ideal." - Kreia
"I THINK I JUST HAD ANOTHER NEAR-RINCEWIND EXPERIENCE"- Discworld's Death frustrated after Rincewind scapes his grasp... again.
"I am death, come for thee" - Nimbul, from Baldur's Gate I just before being badly spanked
Sapientia sola libertas est
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Brimstone
Great Reader

USA
3010 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2011 :  09:05:38  Show Profile Send Brimstone a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dennis

quote:
Originally posted by Brimstone

For some strange reason it wont let me.

Really?

Wooly, Sage, you might want to look into this. [I hope this isn't some kind of a sign of the return of the naughty gremlins.]


Earlier today I couldn't log out from the site.

It said that I logged out but I wasn't.





"These things also I have observed: that knowledge of our world is
to be nurtured like a precious flower, for it is the most precious
thing we have. Wherefore guard the word written and heed
words unwritten and set them down ere they fade . . . Learn
then, well, the arts of reading, writing, and listening true, and they
will lead you to the greatest art of all: understanding."
Alaundo of Candlekeep
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D-brane
Learned Scribe

United Kingdom
140 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2011 :  09:19:50  Show Profile  Visit D-brane's Homepage Send D-brane a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dennis

quote:
Originally posted by Brimstone

For some strange reason it wont let me.

Really?

Wooly, Sage, you might want to look into this. [I hope this isn't some kind of a sign of the return of the naughty gremlins.]

I've been told that the Sage's gremlins departed with him when he left for his Brazilian holiday late last evening.

I'd recommend celebrations for being granted such a temporary reprieve from the nefarious antics of those horrid creatures, but I've never been one for tempting fate.

"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

Edited by - D-brane on 02 Oct 2011 09:21:07
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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2011 :  09:30:00  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by D-brane

You can freely read the vast majority of his works online here.


Thanks! Will definitely read it!

Every beginning has an end.
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Marc
Senior Scribe

618 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2011 :  12:05:51  Show Profile Send Marc a Private Message  Reply with Quote
From what I've heard from my friends or even borrowed their books Tolkien is still the top. Martin could be considered American Tolkien before the last book, not anymore.

My poll would include Ashton Smith or Howard, but not Lovecraft. Also Steven Erikson, Abercrombie, Wolfe, Vance, Herbert and maybe among Moorcock, Anderson, Vandermeer, Crowley, Feist, China, Shea, Kay, Pratchett, Kearney, Sanderson, and a few that I'm forgetting at the moment. From your poll the only other author I know is Gemmell.

.
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Thelonius
Senior Scribe

Spain
726 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2011 :  12:52:10  Show Profile  Click to see Thelonius's MSN Messenger address Send Thelonius a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Good point on Pratchett, and I feel tempted to agree, and in fact if this was a "Your favourite phantasy wreiter" poll, he would be in my top ten together with Byers, Greenwood, Cunnigham, De Bie, Weiss and Hickman (I count them as one author ) and some more but if we focused in the difusion and influence, I think Tolkien would be on top.

"If you are to truly understand, then you will need the contrast, not adherence to a single ideal." - Kreia
"I THINK I JUST HAD ANOTHER NEAR-RINCEWIND EXPERIENCE"- Discworld's Death frustrated after Rincewind scapes his grasp... again.
"I am death, come for thee" - Nimbul, from Baldur's Gate I just before being badly spanked
Sapientia sola libertas est
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31394 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2011 :  16:17:58  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Brimstone

quote:
Originally posted by Dennis

quote:
Originally posted by Brimstone

For some strange reason it wont let me.

Really?

Wooly, Sage, you might want to look into this. [I hope this isn't some kind of a sign of the return of the naughty gremlins.]


Earlier today I couldn't log out from the site.

It said that I logged out but I wasn't.








Could be just an issue with cookies and your browser.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
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I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!
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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2011 :  17:15:34  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Marc

My poll would include Ashton Smith or Howard, but not Lovecraft. Also Steven Erikson, Abercrombie, Wolfe, Vance, Herbert and maybe among Moorcock, Anderson, Vandermeer, Crowley, Feist, China, Shea, Kay, Pratchett, Kearney, Sanderson, and a few that I'm forgetting at the moment.

Michael Moorcock... I've heard lots of good things about his works. I have the 8 individual Elric books, and Elric of Melnibone is on the 7th spot of my current To-Read list.

When you said Anderson, did you mean Kevin J. Anderson? I read his Crystal Doors Trilogy, a collaborative work with his wife, Rebecca Moesta. Good, but hardly memorable... I will purchase his Terra Incognita books soon.

Guy Gavriel Kay's The Summer Tree was very disappointing that I didn't bother finishing it nor picking up any of his other books.

Brandon Sanderson's debut trilogy is one of the best series in the history of fantasy.

Every beginning has an end.
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Blueblade
Senior Scribe

USA
804 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2011 :  18:10:20  Show Profile  Visit Blueblade's Homepage Send Blueblade a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hoo boy, where to start?
Dennis, you've gotta read more widely before you start things like this.
Haven't read Moorcock? Haven't read Clark Ashton Smith? Have read only half a book by Buy Gavriel Kay? Sheesh.
Brandon Sanderson is developing into a decent writer, yes, but he did NOT debut with a trilogy. Sounds like you've missed a lot of books.
The modern fantasy revival/fantasy as a North American genre started with Tolkien, yes, and was driven with two "prongs," as it were: high fantasy (Tolkien, Watership Down, Tad Williams, Stephen Donaldson, et al, Kay and Martin being the current top proponents) and low fantasy (Conan and all of the Howard imitators).
Moorcock is major. For a while, post Tolkien's death, Moorcock and Howard and Lin Carter's Ballantine fantasy classic reprint series WERE fantasy, in North America.
I agree with Therise. THO nailed you.
I could tell the same, just from the choices you listed in the poll (thought to myself: this guy hasn't been reading fantasy very long).
Someone ten years older would have had a very different list of choices (except for Tolkien). Some twenty years older, a different list yet again.
Feist and Gemmel are middle-pack writers to most longtime fantasy collectors: we like their stuff, but "Greatest"? Nuh-uh. Not when the world has held the likes of Tolkien, Vance, Moorcock, Kay, Bellairs, Zelazny, Dunsany, and many, many more. J.V. Jones is "better," if we're going by (admittedly very subjective) standards of literary quality. If it's popularity, it goes like this: Tolkien, Pratchett, Baum, Rowling, then a big drop to Martin and some of the other moderns. If it's influence, it's Tolkien, Howard, Lovecraft, Rowling, and Pratchett...and it's too early for any of us to play the "lasting influence" card for anyone currently writing aside from the last two. If you count collectors and retellers, then the Brothers Grimm and Aesop make the list, too.
And I agree with THO about the "All Time" thing, too. It's rather hard not to, if one can master even basic logic.
BB

Edited by - Blueblade on 02 Oct 2011 18:12:36
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Kentinal
Great Reader

4350 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2011 :  18:30:42  Show Profile Send Kentinal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
C.S. Lewis wrote some interesting things as well, I the Land of OZ came out first I believe compared to Tolkien. Checks, it appears L. Frank Baum died before the other two mention wrote a book. Baum wrote about 23 fantasy books.

"Small beings can have small wisdom," the dragon said. "And small wise beings are better than small fools. Listen: Wisdom is caring for afterwards."
"Caring for afterwards ...? Ker repeated this without understanding.
"After action, afterwards," the dragon said. "Choose the afterwards first, then the action. Fools choose action first."
"Judgement" copyright 2003 by Elizabeth Moon
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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2011 :  18:38:17  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Blueblade

Hoo boy, where to start?
Dennis, you've gotta read more widely before you start things like this.
Haven't read Moorcock? Haven't read Clark Ashton Smith? Have read only half a book by Buy Gavriel Kay? Sheesh.
Brandon Sanderson is developing into a decent writer, yes, but he did NOT debut with a trilogy. Sounds like you've missed a lot of books.
The modern fantasy revival/fantasy as a North American genre started with Tolkien, yes, and was driven with two "prongs," as it were: high fantasy (Tolkien, Watership Down, Tad Williams, Stephen Donaldson, et al, Kay and Martin being the current top proponents) and low fantasy (Conan and all of the Howard imitators).
Moorcock is major. For a while, post Tolkien's death, Moorcock and Howard and Lin Carter's Ballantine fantasy classic reprint series WERE fantasy, in North America.
I agree with Therise. THO nailed you.
I could tell the same, just from the choices you listed in the poll (thought to myself: this guy hasn't been reading fantasy very long).
Someone ten years older would have had a very different list of choices (except for Tolkien). Some twenty years older, a different list yet again.
Feist and Gemmel are middle-pack writers to most longtime fantasy collectors: we like their stuff, but "Greatest"? Nuh-uh. Not when the world has held the likes of Tolkien, Vance, Moorcock, Kay, Bellairs, Zelazny, Dunsany, and many, many more. J.V. Jones is "better," if we're going by (admittedly very subjective) standards of literary quality. If it's popularity, it goes like this: Tolkien, Pratchett, Baum, Rowling, then a big drop to Martin and some of the other moderns. If it's influence, it's Tolkien, Howard, Lovecraft, Rowling, and Pratchett...and it's too early for any of us to play the "lasting influence" card for anyone currently writing aside from the last two. If you count collectors and retellers, then the Brothers Grimm and Aesop make the list, too.
And I agree with THO about the "All Time" thing, too. It's rather hard not to, if one can master even basic logic.
BB



I said debut trilogy, not debut novel. His fantasy debut was Elantris, a stand-alone, which was commendable. A three-year old would have noticed the difference.

I wouldn't "brag" of the books I've read and enjoyed, as you seem to be more like. Do I really have to list all the authors whose works I've read just to show how much of a wide reader I am? Besides, didn't I already say some on the list aren't my favorites?! Also, in case Logic has somehow left you, how exactly can a list of 12 authors [which is, unfortunately, the limit of the poll] reflect whether one is a wide reader or not?!

Move on... THO and Therise said more than enough digression from the topic. A friendly advice: If you can't or refuse to answer the poll's question, might as well stay from this thread. That's what I do when I don't have anything worthwhile to add, or when my would-be comments would just spark some needless fire. Again, move on...

Every beginning has an end.

Edited by - Dennis on 02 Oct 2011 19:07:10
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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2011 :  18:39:31  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote

This looks like a good listing.

Every beginning has an end.
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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2011 :  18:45:26  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Kentinal

C.S. Lewis wrote some interesting things as well, I the Land of OZ came out first I believe compared to Tolkien. Checks, it appears L. Frank Baum died before the other two mention wrote a book. Baum wrote about 23 fantasy books.

I used to like Baum's works, back when my tastes were considerably different from what they are now. C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia is almost as famous as LotR. I couldn't really appreciate it much, partly because when I read it, I was already old for its intended audience, and partly because I read it out of order.

Every beginning has an end.
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Brimstone
Great Reader

USA
3010 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2011 :  21:00:57  Show Profile Send Brimstone a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Brimstone

quote:
Originally posted by Dennis

quote:
Originally posted by Brimstone

For some strange reason it wont let me.

Really?

Wooly, Sage, you might want to look into this. [I hope this isn't some kind of a sign of the return of the naughty gremlins.]


Earlier today I couldn't log out from the site.

It said that I logged out but I wasn't.








Could be just an issue with cookies and your browser.


I cleared everything and I still couldn't log out.

It said I did but I wasn't logged out.





"These things also I have observed: that knowledge of our world is
to be nurtured like a precious flower, for it is the most precious
thing we have. Wherefore guard the word written and heed
words unwritten and set them down ere they fade . . . Learn
then, well, the arts of reading, writing, and listening true, and they
will lead you to the greatest art of all: understanding."
Alaundo of Candlekeep
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Faraer
Great Reader

3308 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2011 :  21:17:41  Show Profile  Visit Faraer's Homepage Send Faraer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
No one in that list is close to Tolkien's stature; his peers aren't journeyman epic fantasists.
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Malcolm
Learned Scribe

242 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2011 :  21:36:00  Show Profile  Visit Malcolm's Homepage Send Malcolm a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, Dennis, if you're dispensing friendly advice, here's some for you: Sanderson's debut trilogy was a childrens' fantasy trilogy that's amusing, but hardly great fantasy (Librarians of Alcatraz? er, yeah).
I think Blueblade's point stands. If you haven't read Moorcock or Clark Ashton Smith or more than half a book by Guy Kay, your poll-roster is going to be just what he was implying it was: severely limited.
Nor is this a digression, nor was THO's point that you equated favorites with Greatest at the outset, then subsequently tried to deny doing so by saying you'd included non-favorites in your dozen choices.
You've got to stop being so defensive. Blueblade didn't sound like he was "bragging" to me. To me, it reads as if he was responding to specific things you posted, not going on and on about how much he's read or how may books he owns.
If you don't like people responding who don't agree with you, don't start polls that try to "crown" the "Greatest Fantasist of All Time"!
Just put forth your roster of writers, say "these are people I consider major writers of fantasy, agree/disagree/add your choices" and I for one would be a lot happier.
Obviously this sort of poll is going to wind up based entirely on personal opinions/preferences. Have the grace to allow those of others to be treated as if of equal worth to yours.
(Which is just, of course, MY opinion.)
BTW, in your, er, "friendly" advice, how exactly do you know who did or didn't answer the poll?
The list you provide the link to is fairly good, IF it's based on recent (ONLY recent, which I believe was the point being made about Baum) sales, and sales is taken as the most reliable measure of popularity. However, lasting influence is another, and that's where Lovecraft and Tolkien and Howard rise up - - and Dennis, being as you didn't try to define your "Greatest" criterion, NONE of these scribe's postings are a digression. They are all directly germane. That's the problem with using a loaded word like "Greatest" and not providing clear definitions.
So, there's my friendly advice on the matter.

Edited by - Malcolm on 02 Oct 2011 21:38:46
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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
15675 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2011 :  21:45:19  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Good fantasy writing begins with solid world-building, and I can think of many authors who are masters of their craft. That list you posted is just the tip of the iceberg, and I find myself hard-pressed to single out any particular one (I like different worlds for different reasons).

Writing, I think, is fairly easy, if someone else has laid the groundwork. But show me a person who can breath life into their characters and settings, and I will show you a master of their craft. When a mental image springs to mind as I read - one so vivid I can almost smell the surroundings, and hear the chatter and day-to-day noises - I know the author has created a living, breathing world.

That's not just fiction... that's literature.

When a world is created whole-cloth before the story, and more importantly, FOR the story, you can feel it. An author needs to know what sort of creatures and people populate his world before he (or she) sets pen to paper.


"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 02 Oct 2011 21:53:56
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5054 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2011 :  23:26:46  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi, all. I was trading e-mails with Ed today (we're both editing novels and movie scripts that are linked to each other), and I sent him this poll, and the chat re. this poll. He responded:


Oh, dear. Dennis, I won't be voting in this poll or commenting about authors, because I'm afraid I consider it exceedingly unprofessional (as a professional writer myself) to play favourites or pick and choose among living writers I know and work with, dead ones I never knew, and dead ones I knew and revere, but I must agree with some of the other posters about being clearer with definitions, at the outset, in any such poll. It's one of the reasons comparing Realms authors to arrive at a "best" is frowned upon in the Code of Conduct for these forums.
"Of All Time" is, as has been pointed out, obviously impossible, unless the world has already ended and time is over for us all.
"Greatest" is as loaded a term as many have pointed out, if it's used without specific criteria.
Moreover, your use of the term "Fantasist" means a scribe could quite rightly wax wroth because you didn't include Dali, Escher, or Giger (among others), who may not be primarily known as writers, but ARE famous "fantasists" of lasting influence.
And so on.
Markustay's post about worldbuilding reminds us that famous and lastingly influential worldbuilders, such as Sir Thomas More or Austin Tappan Wright, may or may not be regarded as great writers, but are undeniably fantasists of lasting influence.
I could go on, but - - let's just keep our fellow scribes happier by carefully wording polls to have clear and specific definitions. Please.
(And on a personal note, I get irked when a scribe tries to tell other scribes what NOT to say at the Keep, when no breach of the forum Code has occurred. We do have superb moderators here.)


So saith Ed. Who is busy busy busy right now on future Realmslore for us all.
love,
THO


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Sage of Stars
Seeker

USA
59 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2011 :  23:48:34  Show Profile  Visit Sage of Stars's Homepage Send Sage of Stars a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ah. Ed (and THO, earlier) have the right of it, as usual.
Though I can add another contender for "Fantasist" using another perfectly valid definition of it: Lord Dunsany not only qualifies as a writer, he was a foremost "fantasist" by trying to bring back tourneys and a fantasized chivalry and Arthurian culture, for real, with armor and gowns and the works. (A singlehanded forerunner of SCA and RenFaires by generations.)
Dennis, if you only have eight Elric books, you're missing three novels and more short stories and novelettes of the saga. Not counting Eternal Champion crossovers and the wider series, of course.
And I, too, recall a time when commercial North American fantasy was dominated by Tolkien (and hordes of imitators, all of whose books had taglines on the cover saying something like "greatest writer since Tolkien" or "move over, Tolkien" or "joins Tolkien on his throne" or some such), Conan books and THEIR imitators, Lin Carter's Adult Fantasy series and his own (fun but not all that good) novels, Andre Norton's Witch World series, Moorcock's novels, and the John Carter of Mars reprints. Not to mention John Norman's bestselling erotic fantasies of Gor. (Lovecraft was there, lurking, but his star rose and fell, and at that time wasn't much remembered outside the ranks of fantasy fans.)
I think that's what Blueblade was getting at. A Keep scribe who discovered fantasy back then would probably have spent the scant dozen poll choices on, yes, Tolkien, but probably a quite different cast to fill out the roster.
I was a fan and writer back then, but not professionally involved in publishing, as I am now - - but I WAS working in publishing when the Eddings and Feist books started to appear, and the Gemmel books started travelling across the pond from the UK, and I recall our senior fantasy editors rolling their eyes and grumbling about "Here comes the ruination of the field, we'll be hip-deep in c**p again!" So picking "greatests" really does have to do with the time a scribe first started reading fantasy (like looking back at the sports teams of yesteryear with nostalgia).
Tell you what, Dennis: run this poll again fifteen years from now, and see what writers you feel the urge to put on that dozen roster, then. (And if Tolkien pops up right away, that really rather answers the question, doesn't it?)
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A Publishing Lackey
Seeker

74 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2011 :  23:55:59  Show Profile  Visit A Publishing Lackey's Homepage Send A Publishing Lackey a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Good point.
I recall the earliest days of the publishing firm I then worked at having Net access, and running similar polls. Back then, fans fought viciously about who was the greatest fantasy author - - only back then it was Jordan vs. Goodkind vs. Tolkien, with a few suggestions for Lewis and Moorcock.
Martin had been in print for years, but the first Westeros book had only just appeared, and he wasn't on the horizon for the poll participants back then. Sanderson hadn't written a published word yet, Rowling was just getting going, the whole Twilight and urban vampires thing hadn't yet happened, and Gaiman was a superb comics writer and doing sf but unknown to most fantasy prose fans.
So it's a moveable feast, for sure. See how swiftly the dead writers (Zelazny, and now Jordan) and the relatively inactive ones (Vance, and now Wolfe) fade.
Just out of curiosity, Dennis, in which year did you start really seeking out fantasy to read? Who were your first favorites? Which writers have stayed strong in your regard, right up until now?
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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 03 Oct 2011 :  02:20:57  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote

I'm so happy right now [just won the lottery] that I think it wise to cast the ignore those scrolls spell. Just by seeing the poster's name I know which scrolls I should not read.

Every beginning has an end.
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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 03 Oct 2011 :  02:23:24  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dennis


This looks like a good listing.

And this, too.

Every beginning has an end.
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5054 Posts

Posted - 03 Oct 2011 :  02:27:57  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Heh. Dennis, to quote Fritz Leiber (another fantasy great of the first rank):

So read not, young fool, and be not enlightened.


So it hath been written. (But by all means ignore and be happy. The loss is, after all, yours, as is the choice.)
love,
THO

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Firestorm
Senior Scribe

Canada
804 Posts

Posted - 03 Oct 2011 :  02:30:23  Show Profile Send Firestorm a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Farrel

I voted for G.R.R. Martin, I do love my Tolkien, it's just that there's so much more intrigue and it's far grittier

I do find the length of time between his books quite infuriating and have wondered whether he will manage to complete the series.


Yep. I followed his blog for years desperately wondering when the next book would be out and it was always infuriating to read about how he was spending weeks or months on tours and discussion groups, or football games or just loafing, and often wrote "I wrote 2 pages today. That's more than I have written in a month in almost 2 years"

Disheartening to say the least. Especially since the first 3 books never had more than 2 years between them. Book 4 took 5 years and book 5 took 7 years.....
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Firestorm
Senior Scribe

Canada
804 Posts

Posted - 03 Oct 2011 :  02:31:00  Show Profile Send Firestorm a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Sorry. Double post

Edited by - Firestorm on 03 Oct 2011 02:32:11
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