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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 21 Nov 2011 :  17:32:42  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by The Sage

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Dennis

quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

As it happens, I like G.R.R. Martin just as much or more than Tolkien, but he is simply too recent to judge the historical impact of his work.

Perhaps he's getting there. The New York Times has already called him "The American Tolkien."



Meh. A lot of writers get a lot of fancy descriptions from a lot of sources. If G.R.R. Martin is called this by a lot of people 50 years from now, I'll buy it.
I don't buy it, personally. And I think that's because it's only partly what has constituted the legacy of Tolkien.

Tolkien presented a world of myth and legend with such extensive background -- something which most among the industry of fiction had never seen or read. Practically every fiction writer from that time on has been borrowing from that legacy -- in either lesser or greater degrees.

Tolkien largely gave us all something new from myths of the old world. It will be very hard for another "Tolkien" to rise elsewhere as I see it, because most of what has come since that time, still utilises a great deal of what Tolkien brought to the genre.


People change. The world changes. The standards of today might be the rubbish of tomorrow. Maybe sometime in the future---however near or far---Tolkienish fantasy would be so outdated; replaced by steampunk fiction---a time when the standards of fantasy literature are based on the works of the authors who first popularized steampunk. [Oh, don't get me wrong. I'm not exactly a fan of steampunk. That's just for the sake of an example.]

Every beginning has an end.
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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31696 Posts

Posted - 22 Nov 2011 :  01:08:24  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ErskineF

After scanning the first page, I see there's no point in reading the next seven. Arguments about "who is the best" are really arguments about "who ought to be your favorite," and that's a silly argument to have.
Which is partly the reason why I've often been so hesitant to allow these scrolls to continue. It's a similar topic to the semi-frequent "this vs that" scrolls that pop up here at Candlekeep.

They're heavily subjective, and usually don't provide much in the way of "actual" answers.

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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31638 Posts

Posted - 22 Nov 2011 :  03:12:24  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dennis

People change. The world changes. The standards of today might be the rubbish of tomorrow. Maybe sometime in the future---however near or far---Tolkienish fantasy would be so outdated; replaced by steampunk fiction---a time when the standards of fantasy literature are based on the works of the authors who first popularized steampunk. [Oh, don't get me wrong. I'm not exactly a fan of steampunk. That's just for the sake of an example.]



Which means, of course, that whoever wears the crown today may not be the same as who wears the crown tomorrow -- which makes discussing it a rather pointless exercise.

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Wolfhound75
Learned Scribe

USA
215 Posts

Posted - 22 Nov 2011 :  03:27:33  Show Profile Send Wolfhound75 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I would be in favor of bringing Terry Brooks onto the list of candidates for all of his works. However, I'm sure most of you know his Shannara series. Whilst I agree Tolkien brought a new twist to the old world myths and legends as, I believe, Sage pointed out, I would also submit that Brooks took those same legends and gave them his own personal twist to explain how the various races came about for his series.

Both worlds were essentially similar in design, being not an entirely designed globe but a series of 'lands' where the edges of the map leave you wondering, "What's over there?" Also, the main evils were similar as well, having essentially control of one land and an ambiguous personna.

I have to admit one drawback to this suggestion is that Tolkien published his LotR in 1954 while Brooks published the first work in his Shannara series in 1977. So the arguement made that "Practically every fiction writer from that on has been borrowing from that legacy...." could have some impact on this as well.

Cheers!

One more thought, all kings reign comes to an end at some point Wooly. You just hope it's not by Regicide.

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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 22 Nov 2011 :  04:32:38  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Dennis

People change. The world changes. The standards of today might be the rubbish of tomorrow. Maybe sometime in the future---however near or far---Tolkienish fantasy would be so outdated; replaced by steampunk fiction---a time when the standards of fantasy literature are based on the works of the authors who first popularized steampunk. [Oh, don't get me wrong. I'm not exactly a fan of steampunk. That's just for the sake of an example.]


Which means, of course, that whoever wears the crown today may not be the same as who wears the crown tomorrow -- which makes discussing it a rather pointless exercise.

Not quite. That's like saying it's pointless to ask "What do you like about this novel or that?" just because of the possibility that you may dislike or hate it in the future [due to change of tastes, mental maturity, or whatever].

Every beginning has an end.
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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 22 Nov 2011 :  04:39:01  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wolfhound75

I would be in favor of bringing Terry Brooks onto the list of candidates for all of his works. However, I'm sure most of you know his Shannara series. Whilst I agree Tolkien brought a new twist to the old world myths and legends as, I believe, Sage pointed out, I would also submit that Brooks took those same legends and gave them his own personal twist to explain how the various races came about for his series.

Both worlds were essentially similar in design, being not an entirely designed globe but a series of 'lands' where the edges of the map leave you wondering, "What's over there?" Also, the main evils were similar as well, having essentially control of one land and an ambiguous personna.

I have to admit one drawback to this suggestion is that Tolkien published his LotR in 1954 while Brooks published the first work in his Shannara series in 1977. So the arguement made that "Practically every fiction writer from that on has been borrowing from that legacy...." could have some impact on this as well.

Cheers!

One more thought, all kings reign comes to an end at some point Wooly. You just hope it's not by Regicide.

While I am not in favor of Brooks, I must say you did raise some good points, Wolfhound75.

Just because someone else might wear the crown tomorrow does not mean we can't discuss who might be wearing it today.

Every beginning has an end.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31638 Posts

Posted - 22 Nov 2011 :  17:14:36  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dennis

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Dennis

People change. The world changes. The standards of today might be the rubbish of tomorrow. Maybe sometime in the future---however near or far---Tolkienish fantasy would be so outdated; replaced by steampunk fiction---a time when the standards of fantasy literature are based on the works of the authors who first popularized steampunk. [Oh, don't get me wrong. I'm not exactly a fan of steampunk. That's just for the sake of an example.]


Which means, of course, that whoever wears the crown today may not be the same as who wears the crown tomorrow -- which makes discussing it a rather pointless exercise.

Not quite. That's like saying it's pointless to ask "What do you like about this novel or that?" just because of the possibility that you may dislike or hate it in the future [due to change of tastes, mental maturity, or whatever].



But your original question was about All Time, not today. Which does make it moot.

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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1577 Posts

Posted - 22 Nov 2011 :  17:21:10  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

But your original question was about All Time, not today. Which does make it moot.


Wooly, we are microscopic specks of cosmic dust that exist for less than a blink of astronomical time. Nothing we do will last; in the larger scheme of things.

Any usage of 'all time' by a mortal ought to be understood as the rhetorical hyperbole it is. In other news, the sun does not really rise in the mornings, the sky is not blue and death does not come for us all. These are all convenient fictions in line with our personal experiences, patterns of speech that do not describe a scientific reality, but are perfectly understandable to other humans.

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31638 Posts

Posted - 22 Nov 2011 :  17:48:29  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

But your original question was about All Time, not today. Which does make it moot.


Wooly, we are microscopic specks of cosmic dust that exist for less than a blink of astronomical time. Nothing we do will last; in the larger scheme of things.

Any usage of 'all time' by a mortal ought to be understood as the rhetorical hyperbole it is. In other news, the sun does not really rise in the mornings, the sky is not blue and death does not come for us all. These are all convenient fictions in line with our personal experiences, patterns of speech that do not describe a scientific reality, but are perfectly understandable to other humans.



So it's fine to ask to ask about the best that will ever exist, at the same time acknowledging it could change tomorrow? That makes sense.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 22 Nov 2011 17:48:53
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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1577 Posts

Posted - 22 Nov 2011 :  18:00:25  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

So it's fine to ask to ask about the best that will ever exist, at the same time acknowledging it could change tomorrow? That makes sense.


On Rigel-8, where you spider-beasts originate, do they not have rhetorical devices that do not mean exactly what they appear to mean?

On Earth, among humans, 'best of all time' means 'the best so far, while acknowledging the possibility that it could indeed change at some point in the future and also, one day no humans or fantasy writers will exist and at that point this question will be moot'.

Also, I, for one, welcome our new spider-beast overlords.

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Artemas Entreri
Great Reader

USA
3085 Posts

Posted - 22 Nov 2011 :  18:03:01  Show Profile Send Artemas Entreri a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

So it's fine to ask to ask about the best that will ever exist, at the same time acknowledging it could change tomorrow? That makes sense.


On Rigel-8, where you spider-beasts originate, do they not have rhetorical devices that do not mean exactly what they appear to mean?

On Earth, among humans, 'best of all time' means 'the best so far, while acknowledging the possibility that it could indeed change at some point in the future and also, one day no humans or fantasy writers will exist and at that point this question will be moot'.

Also, I, for one, welcome our new spider-beast overlords.




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Alystra Illianniis
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USA
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Posted - 23 Nov 2011 :  01:02:38  Show Profile  Click to see Alystra Illianniis's MSN Messenger address Send Alystra Illianniis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Someone's been watching WAAY too much War of the Worlds.....

The Goddess is alive, and magic is afoot.

"Where Science ends, Magic begins" -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491

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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1577 Posts

Posted - 23 Nov 2011 :  01:17:09  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Alystra Illianniis

Someone's been watching WAAY too much War of the Worlds.....


The last quotation is from the Simpsons!

Shame on you Philistines! Your downfall shall be swift and merciless!

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Alystra Illianniis
Great Reader

USA
3747 Posts

Posted - 23 Nov 2011 :  01:43:31  Show Profile  Click to see Alystra Illianniis's MSN Messenger address Send Alystra Illianniis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ah. My mistake. I don't watch the Simpsons, as my two younger cousins severely burned me out on it by watching EVERY episode EVERY day for nearly three years.

The Goddess is alive, and magic is afoot.

"Where Science ends, Magic begins" -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491

"You idiots! You've captured their STUNT doubles!" -Spaceballs

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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 23 Nov 2011 :  12:37:26  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote

No one lives forever. Nothing in this world lasts. Hence, the use of "Best of All Time" simply refers to "The Best So Far."

To quote myself: "The mutability of the future should not make one treat the present less important."

Every beginning has an end.
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Artemas Entreri
Great Reader

USA
3085 Posts

Posted - 23 Nov 2011 :  13:39:37  Show Profile Send Artemas Entreri a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I stopped caring about the Simpsons LONG ago

Some people have a way with words, and other people...oh, uh, not have way. -Steve Martin

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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1577 Posts

Posted - 23 Nov 2011 :  14:46:34  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by entreri3478

I stopped caring about the Simpsons LONG ago


So did everyone else. "I for one welcome our insect overlords" comes from a 17-year-old episode, however, and has entered the cultural lexicon sufficiently to be used in respected print publications like the New Scientist and to have linguistics experts writing papers on its acceptance in daily speech. I didn't think it needed any explanation to native English speakers.

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Edited by - Icelander on 23 Nov 2011 14:57:47
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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 26 Nov 2011 :  09:42:59  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by entreri3478

I stopped caring about the Simpsons LONG ago

The movie was fun...in the cinema. But when I watched it again in DVD, for some reason, I couldn't bear to finish it. Perhaps my mood had more to do with it than anything else.

Every beginning has an end.

Edited by - Dennis on 26 Nov 2011 18:02:39
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5054 Posts

Posted - 26 Nov 2011 :  16:01:47  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message  Reply with Quote
However, the problem with equating "Best of All Time" with "The Best So Far" (aside from cheapening the language through deliberate imprecision, something that drives most writers and editors nuts) is that - - and this thread is a perfect example - - I find the younger scribes, who weren't alive and reading when I was, to be equating their personal opinions of who's best RIGHT NOW (opinions I and many other scribes, judging by the posts, disagree with) with "best so far."
(Example in point, from many, many boards on the Internet: all the younger readers who think the Twilight or Hunger Games or Riordan series are the ultimate fantasies, far ahead of "Harry Potter and all that older cr*p." Most older readers fervently disagree with THAT view.)
Those of us who are older, and began our young, awed, "sense of wonder beats all" reading in different times, will naturally prize most the "best" writers of then.
And I am someone who knows or has known quite a few of the writers being discussed here personally, and knows something of how much each of them are either rescued or hampered by editors - - and inevitably that shades my opinion yet again. I'm not going to name names among those fantasy writers, because that will just send some scribes up like rockets, but will just tender the reminder that history judges the "best," not the fervent of the moment. (To shift genres a bit, how well will Danielle Steel be remembered thirty years from now? Or James Patterson? Let's reconvene, those of us still alive then, and see...)
And some scribes have raised another valid point. Those who back the "best so far" equals "best of all time" argument are, consciously or unconsciously, buying the "writing is always improving and progressing" argument, so that today's prose is by definition better than older prose. Whether you agree with that or not, that stance tacitly accepts that "today's writers build on the work of yesteryear's writers," which in turn means those particular yesteryear's writers share in the "best" nature of those who've built on top of them.
Feist and Rosenberg achieved initial fictional success with fantasies built on roleplaying campaigns and the worlds crafted for them. Their works would have been very different (if written at all) had D&D and its equivalents not existed. And so on.
I agree that these sort of threads are ultimately pointless and scribe-provoking. It would be far better to start out more candidly, with something akin to "Here are my choices as to the current top fantasy writers; agree? Disagree? What are yours?" rather than try to proclaim a "best."

I personally think Tolkien, Vance, Leiber, and Zelazny beat ALL of the current fat-fantasy-novel writers hands down, Kay and Martin excepted. But again, that's just me.
love,
THO
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Wolfhound75
Learned Scribe

USA
215 Posts

Posted - 28 Nov 2011 :  18:42:00  Show Profile Send Wolfhound75 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
All very good points THO.

I would equate it similar to music in a way. You favor the songs that were popular when you were growing up throughout your life, despite the fact that the countdown charts proclaim a new number one almost weekly. However, every once in a while an artist (read author for this discussion) is truly outstanding both during their time period and afterward. Their works continue to attract and inspire new fans. The ready example I can think of in the music world is The Beatles. Years after their break up, they are still influencing music.

Of course that whole line of thought could be fit nicely into the premise that today's prose is by definition better than older prose because it builds upon what was done before. Then again, it could also support itself as the "Best so Far..." premise because everyone else is trying to emulate it. I believe that, in the end, it depends entirely upon the viewpoint from which you find yourself exploring the problem.

I like your suggestion that people submit their choices for their favorite authors. However, I would suggest, in order to bring depth to the discussion, that they add a short explanation as to why they feel it would be appropriate to bring them onto, for lack of a better name, the Candlekeep List of Favorite Fantasy Authors. Perhaps we can then discuss each author's merits individually and admit them to a sort of forum hall of fame.

Good Hunting,
The Wolfhound

edit: misplaced comma

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"If at first you do succeed, you must've rolled a natural 20!"

Edited by - Wolfhound75 on 28 Nov 2011 18:44:07
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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 28 Nov 2011 :  18:56:53  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote

In one of the forums I visit once in a long while, some members mentioned Stephen King is "The King of Fantasy" because he's the only one who successfully combined multiple genre (horror, occult, mystery, humor...) with fantasy... to good effect. I can't say I agree. I used to like his novels, but not so much these days. He's not the only one who mixes fantasy with other genre. Almost everyone does.

Every beginning has an end.

Edited by - Dennis on 28 Nov 2011 19:06:23
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31638 Posts

Posted - 28 Nov 2011 :  19:04:35  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dennis


In one of the forums I visit once in a long while, some members mentioned Stephen King is "The King of Fantasy" because he's the only one who successfully combined multiple genre (horror, occult, mystery, humor...) with fantasy... to good effect. I can't say I agree. I used to like his novels, but not so much these days.



I can't agree, either. Other authors have combined fantasy and other genres and done so quite well. And I, too, used to like Stephen King, but now don't bother with him. I still like some of his books that I've read in the past, but I feel no compulsion to pick up any new novels -- not since I read Dreamcatcher.

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Wolfhound75
Learned Scribe

USA
215 Posts

Posted - 28 Nov 2011 :  19:28:20  Show Profile Send Wolfhound75 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
About the only thing I can say about Stephen King is that I once ran a mini-adventure in my teens based upon his book 'It' in order to catch up a player who had been unavailable IRL.

It was fun, but predictable if you'd read the book.

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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 26 Mar 2012 :  04:05:11  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Dennis


In one of the forums I visit once in a long while, some members mentioned Stephen King is "The King of Fantasy" because he's the only one who successfully combined multiple genre (horror, occult, mystery, humor...) with fantasy... to good effect. I can't say I agree. I used to like his novels, but not so much these days.


I can't agree, either. Other authors have combined fantasy and other genres and done so quite well. And I, too, used to like Stephen King, but now don't bother with him. I still like some of his books that I've read in the past, but I feel no compulsion to pick up any new novels -- not since I read Dreamcatcher.


His earlier novels are relatively shorter than his fairly recent ones. I did hope that he'd write some expanded editions of them, or at least of Firestarter and Carrie, and delve more into the protagonists' backgrounds, and exploit more avenues on the effects of their powers to themselves and to the people around them. Unfortunately, he never has any plans...

Every beginning has an end.
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Jakk
Great Reader

Canada
2165 Posts

Posted - 26 Mar 2012 :  04:30:06  Show Profile Send Jakk a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dennis

quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

As it happens, I like G.R.R. Martin just as much or more than Tolkien, but he is simply too recent to judge the historical impact of his work.

Perhaps he's getting there. The New York Times has already called him "The American Tolkien."


IIRC, Robert Jordan was given a similar title around 1997, after the release of "The Fires of Heaven"... but I never took that comparison seriously either. Tolkien is still *the* master of world-building, and world-building is essential (foundational, in fact) to good fantasy. However, I'm surprised that Tad Williams isn't on the list. He's jumped around in genres a bit, but Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn (from the early '90's) was absolutely brilliant... mind you, it's been at least ten years since I last read it, so my opinion may change if I were to read it again now, particularly after reading G.R.R.M., but I'll worry about that when the latter author finishes his series and when I actually get the rest of my books under my roof (which may take longer than G.R.R.M. takes to finish his series).

Playing in the Realms since the Old Grey Box (1987)... and *still* having fun with material published before 2008, despite the NDA'd lore.

If it's comparable in power with non-magical abilities, it's not magic.
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