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?