jrtomlin – 2008-06-03 1:04 PM While I loved Tolkien as a kid, I am past the simplistic good vs evil of those worlds for the most part. I’m afraid for me D&D belongs in a game. I’m very much more into the worlds of darker writers such as George R. R. Martin or even some of Jacqueline Carey’s work. I consider Martin’s Game of Thrones possibly the best fantasy ever written. Sure there are writers out there re-hashing old stuff in stale ways (although you can also do a re-hash in startling ways such as Carey’s Banewrecker duology which takes Tolkien’s themes and turns them upside down. That was one of the few books I’ve ever read that I cried at the end.) There are writers out there who are doing startling work–and not necessarily the young ones. I’m absolutely convinced that Martin is the best fantasy writer out there for the time being. In science fiction, I very much prefer the character-driven ones such as Elizabeth Moon’s Nebula winning Speed of Dark or her Nebula nominated Remnant Population.
I’ll never get past good versus evil. It may be simplistic, but I think the truth always is. For me, good versus evil is what most fiction, and life, is really all about.
I like George R.R. Martin quite a bit, his writing style is fantastic, but his work is usually too, I guess “pessimistic” would be the word, to suit me. Dark worlds are fine with me, but if there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, to heck with it. I just don’t believe life is that way. I don’t think D&D is remotely related to Tolkien. There’s simply no comparison.
And I really don’t want to see Tolkien’s themes turned upside down. They’re as good as it gets just the way they are. I’ll take Tolkien and Lewis over any high fantasy writers out there. I read Tolkien and Lewis every year, and hope I never get over doing so.
I like some of Elibabeth Moon’s work, but, don’t hit me, I have a terrible time getting interested in books that have female protagonists in adventure settings. I simply can’t relate to the protagonist, can’t become the protagonist for the duration of the story, usually don’t believe the physical action, and it kills the story for me.
Ray Bradbury is at the top of my fantasy writer list by a wide margin, but I do like Orson Scott Card, Robert Silverberg, great writing there, Roger Zelazny, Gene Wolfe, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Michael Moorcock, Guy Gavriel Kay, Neil Gaimen, Philip Jose Farmer, Harlan Ellison, L. Sprague de Camp, Poul Anderson, Fred Saberhagen, Stephen Donaldson, and probably a few I’ve forgotten.
I like adventure and military science fiction, and hate polemic science fiction. Most of what I read these days rages from David Drake to David Weber to Alan Dean Foster to various Star Trek and Star Wars novels. And I re-read the classic science fiction a good bit.
Mystery, whether the Sherlock Holmes stories, Poe, or any classic mystery writer, up to Lawrence Block, Robert B. Parker, etc., is what I read most.
I love good horror and supernatural suspense, but so much of it is derivative that finding new writers has been tricky.
I also love reaidng such writers as John Updike, Joyce Carol Oates, Raymond Chandler, etc.