My friend Mauro (who also happens to be a fine game designer and an equally fine writer) just turned forty and he made a long list of fantasy novels he intends to read or re-read in the next five years.
I suggested a few additions to his list, and was absolutely impressed by his commitment and his ability to plan ahead.
Or by his cheek.
But let’s say he’s much more committed than I am,and much better at planning and sticking at it.
Could I do something similar?
I turned fifty-one three months ago, not a round number or a momentous one.
And I can’t right now plan ahead longer than four weeks.
But could I do something similar?
Yes, I do have a plan, that is not a five-years plan or a ten-months plan or what. Let’s say it’s not time-defined but results-oriented.
What I would like to do in the coming months, weeks and years is get deeper into what I called in a previous post The Interregnum, those years, between the great sword & sorcery slump of the early ’70s and the codification of Template Fantasy with the establishment of The Lord of the Rings and The Sword of Shannara as the basic mode for popular, bestselling fantasy books.
In this vague time1 a lot of stuff was published that today would probably cause some readers to scratch their head. The questing team of heroes was not yet a basic building block of the story. Fantasy peoples were not a given, and often the elves did not look like elves from D&D.
Science and fantasy sometimes mingled.
Right now I’ve set my sights on Samuel R. Delany’s Neveryon stories, and Tanith Lee’s Flat Earth stories.
What fascinates me is the vitality and variety I perceive in the works published before trilogies became the norm, and the armies of men and elves fought side by side against the Dark Lord.
I have nothing against trilogies and tolkienoid fantasy, but I’d rather favor a bit of variety, if you don’t mind.
I will also get a look at other fantasies I have read, and that can be slotted into this category I am creating here and now for my own purposes.
Who knows, in the end I might come up with some new insight, or maybe material for a new non-fiction book.
For certain, I’ll have some fun.
I don’t care if I’ll take five years or more. I’m playing this fast and loose.
- say, between 1975 and 1985, give or take two years. ↩