The OF Blog: Another thoughtful MJH blog article and a commentary on an obit

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Another thoughtful MJH blog article and a commentary on an obit

Although there was an earlier blog article back in February about a related issue of "worldbuilding," M. John Harrison has recently expounded upon this in a very provocative blog entry this week. It certainly is food for thought, especially for those readers such as myself who enjoy not knowing how each step in the story (or by extension, the writing process) was constructed. Sometimes, a bit of strangeness goes a long way in shocking us out of our "normal" trains of thoughts. Shall be interesting to see what the blogosphere will make of this, considering the ruckus last February.


Last night, I came across a link to an obituary of sorts regarding Robert Jordan's recent death. It was a rather odd read, careening from lamenting about how "popular" fantasies are not judged leniently (or fairly) by the "critical elites" (with a few odd references to Le Guin and Ligotti which were not developed) to a sort of lengthy breakdown of how the series didn't "work" for many. Dropping Gemmell like a hot potato after mentioning a anecdote about last year's World Fantasy Convention, the writer goes on to take a few potshots at Stephen King's The Dark Tower series while noting how it felt to many that the WoT series had "gone off the rails," although perhaps not "Crazy Train" style.

When reading it, I couldn't tell what exactly the writer hoped to achieve with this entry. Was he burying or praising RJ, or trying to do both at the same time? Was the intended focus on the person who just died, or on the problems with the eleven main WoT books published in the author's lifetime? Is RJ an author worthy of the mass lamentations, as the opener seems to indicate by inference, or was the corpus of work rather more of a colossial failure?

So many different ways of reading this article that it is hard to tell for sure just what really was the purpose of this piece. Perhaps in time it'll come to me.


Later this weekend, I hope to have a joint review of two recent Charles de Lint releases/re-releases, Promises to Keep and The Ivory and the Horn, as well as a review of Neil Gaiman's 2006 short story collection, Fragile Things, for people to read. Later this month, I hope to read at least some of the following novels for reviews here:

Karl Schroeder, Queen of Candesce

Martin H. Greenberg and Loren L. Coleman (eds.), Wizards, Inc.

Peter Dickinson, Angel Isle

Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, Wyvernhall

Jeff Somers, The Electric Church

Faith Hunter, Host

Naomi Novik, Empire of Ivory

As well as writing reviews of various novels/collections that I've purchased in recent weeks, including reviews of all the WFA finalists for Best Novel and Best Story Collection. Hopefully, October will be a much more active month for me on the blogosphere than was September. Looking forward to reading these and other books and reviewing them here and on my other blog.

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