Friday, January 18, 2013

Actual size, but seems much bigger

David Eddings broke me.

Maybe "broke" isn't the right word, but he certainly re-shaped my expectations about fantasy novels, along with his contemporary, Raymond Feist. They made me believe that fantasy should be epic.

Now most people refer to Tolkien when they talk about epic fantasy, but Eddings and Feist were the guys I read in the late 80s when I was shaping my worldview. For a long time, every story I wrote involved a prophecy and the end of the world, and to be honest, I still don't feel right writing a book unless its major premise threatens the continuing existence of life in its universe. These books were like that. They were big! They had casts of entire continents with backstories that ran thousands of years. There were inside jokes that stretched across several volumes and even across series. I loved them. And now I'm hungry to read something as exciting, as delightful, as fun as those books.

I just got George R. R. Martin's books and I recently acquired John Fultz's Seven Princes. Both authors look to write big, exciting, epic fiction. (I also want to read John Joseph Adams's Epic anthology of epic fantasy short fiction, a concept which kind of boggles my mind.) But I'm not sure those books are going to fill the bill. They lack a certain undercurrent of light-heartedness which Eddings and Feist threaded into their  work. (Honestly, how did Feist get away with ending three books with the line "Ah, Arutha, you take all the fun out of life"? And how much did I love it??) Is anybody writing books like this anymore?

So any recommendations? Is there a new David Eddings? Or did that style of fantasy die out in the 90s along with grunge?


Jeffrey Petersen said...

I really want to write an Epic fantasy, but I need to hone my outlining and organization much more before I jump into that.

One day.

Ben Godby said...

I recently read Peter V. Brett's "The Warded Man," and it falls into that same epic vein of fantasy as the Belgariad: you start with a kid, and you make them a hero. I was actually really taken by surprise by Brett: I got the book as a gift, and... I really don't read this kind of fantasy usually. But, wow: by the end of "The Warded Man," I was positively screaming for more. It was like they'd given the guy a crash course in how to sell novels.

Be warned, though, that the female protagonist is a sex-object/rape-victim and... nothing more. And that is why I am NOT going to buy the next novel in the series.

So I don't know if I'm actually giving you any interesting information here...

But good luck! :)


Ryan Hilterbrant said...

The Codex Alera, Jim Butcher. It is only 6 books, but you get a lot of content in those 6 books.

Tiffany C. said...

I LIVED on the Eddings' (I always count Leigh in with the earlier books too, even though her name didn't start appearing until later) books when I was younger. I still think of them fondly, all in connection with my mom, who introduced me both to the Belgariad and to McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern. :D

Tiffany C. said...

Also, did you ever read Melanie Rawn's Dragon Prince and Dragon Star trilogies? Those are amazingly thick in wonderful to immerse in. Older, yes, but so? (Obviously, Tiffany hasn't gotten out much into pleasure reading recently lol)