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Books to Read Before THE STEEL REMAINS

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Will
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Username: Will

Post Number: 15
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Wednesday, March 12, 2008 - 12:39 pm:   

A couple of years ago, when asked what I should read to get a sense of his notion of sword-and-sorcery fiction, Richard suggested I read Poul Anderson's THE BROKEN SWORD. I had to order it from Amazon in the UK to find it, but I'm glad I did. Great stuff.

Now, with THE STEEL REMAINS hurtling from author to audience, through the publisher, like an arrow passing through a torso on its way to ground, what should we be reading to contextualize STEEL REMAINS, Richard?

Cheers,
Will
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Richard
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Username: Richard

Post Number: 92
Registered: 05-2006
Posted on Sunday, March 16, 2008 - 09:52 am:   

uhm....

It still pretty much is "The Broken Sword" to be honest. That and maybe Nightshade's rather beautiful edition of Midnight Sun (collected stories by Karl Edward Wagner).

Truth is, I really haven't read that much fantasy in the last twenty odd years. As a teenager, I was an avid consumer of Moorcock's eternal champion sequence (and of course Moorcock himself acknowledges a debt to TBS for inspiring the salients of the early Elric stories). I also owned a much read and re-read copy of Wagner's "Nightwinds", which I loved for its dark, brooding take on the genre. But that really was about it - I'd grown out of/shrugged off Tolkein by my late teens, and despaired of the Terry Brooks/David Eddings/Etc cloning industry that derived from it. Stephen Donaldson gave me a brief respite with the Thomas Covenant chronicles (and perhaps pointed the way out, towards a harsher, grittier view of human affairs in a fantasy landscape) but of course that came to a brutal end with White Gold Wielder in 1983, and then, for me, the fantasy fun was pretty much over. I can distinctly remember the moment (as a first year university student in early 1985) when in towering exasperation I put down the latest of a bunch of fantasy books I'd picked up in the shop and gravitated instead across to the horror section. I walked out of the shop with Salem's Lot and The Keep - and never really looked back.

In more recent years (the last five, say), I've started reading a fair amount of fiction that falls loosely into the fantasy category, but none of it is the epic, sword wielding stuff - we're talking here about people like Jeff Vandermeer, Kelly Link, Margo Lanagan, Hal Duncan, Steph Swainston and China Mieville (okay, you could argue those last two at least straddle the S&S/Slipstream divide, I suppose....). Oh yeah, and a couple of years ago I did, rather coldly, read Gollancz's collected Conan stories, more in analytical mode than because I wanted to. Found Howard to be an odd mix of truly inspired and truly dreadful.

So really, to get some sense of where I'm coming from in TSR, it would make just as much sense to read some Ian Fleming or Leslie Charteris or some of the more hard-boiled American noir writers as it would anything in Epic Fantasy. In TSR, I've borrowed the fantasy furniture pretty much wholesale, but the aim was always to do something with it that was more (or at least just as) closely related to noir than to any nominal category of "fantasy".
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Annafdd
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Username: Annafdd

Post Number: 8
Registered: 05-2007
Posted on Sunday, March 16, 2008 - 10:03 am:   

In case you want to fill some cracks, there is indeed good fantasy and not all of it is contemporary. Leiber wrote some brilliant stuff, Cherryh did some very interesting things with her Morgaine books (of which at least Exile's Gate is a masterpiece), and then there is Gene Wolfe, whose latest things I have bounced off greatly, but who still gave SF an enduring masterpiece with The Book of the New Sun. Which is very hard SF, of course, but has the feel of fantasy.
Come to think of it, the Morgaine books are also hardish.

Yeah well, my guess is you've read those guys, but you know, just in case. Hate to see a fellow fan miss out. And it's one of the advantages of being old - I was around when men were real men, women where real women, gritty subversive harsh non-fantasy sold by the barrels, and there were still BDSM parties at cons. Which unfortunately I was never told about, though.
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Javier
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Username: Javier

Post Number: 20
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Tuesday, March 18, 2008 - 05:15 am:   

Prince of nothing, from Scott Bakker. The best fantasy trilogy ever written. Itīs amazing.
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2pala
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Username: 2pala

Post Number: 23
Registered: 05-2007
Posted on Monday, March 24, 2008 - 07:57 am:   

Annafdd:

I, too, loved Cherry's Morgaine series--read it every year in fact, until I discovered Richard's books. Now Cherryh sits on the shelf. But I did love the fact the only dragon in the Morgaine series was dead, and I loved how everyone thought Morgaine a witch, when in fact she was from another time and place. And although there's some violence, I wouldn't say her books are dark. She's all about the protagonist that is different and has to find his own way to fit into society.

Richard: Since you read Fleming and Charteris, did you ever read Alastair MacLean? He and Fleming were my favorite non-science fiction authors in high school. I remember sneaking Fleming's books home from the library, as my parents would not have approved!
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2pala
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Username: 2pala

Post Number: 28
Registered: 05-2007
Posted on Sunday, April 13, 2008 - 11:15 am:   

The Broken Sword is being reprinted by Orion/Gollancz and is available at Amazon this month (April).
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Jack_m_vance
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Username: Jack_m_vance

Post Number: 3
Registered: 07-2008
Posted on Thursday, July 03, 2008 - 03:04 am:   

Heh i bought the newest version The Broken Sword cause i wanted to try Poul Anderson's most famous fantasy.

I do not enjoy epic fantasy and other generic fantasy which is why i tend to enjoy older fantasy REH,Vance,Moorcock,Leiber etc

I have high hopes for Steel Remains because i know the quality of RM and because its sounds original,different from the usual fantasy book these days.

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