Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Fantasy And Science Fiction

I used to read a lot of science fiction (sf) but have not kept up with more recent writers. I have read far less fantasy:

The Hobbit, The Lord Of The Rings and some of The Silmarillion because of the hype;
Narnia because, for a while, I read everything by Lewis;
James Blish's Black Easter and The Day After Judgement because I read everything by Blish and, in any case, these "hard fantasies" together with his historical novel are integral to his mainly sfnal output;
Poul Anderson's fantasies mainly because of their high quality.

While rereading Anderson's Harvest of Stars tetralogy, I wanted to follow it with something else that was more than one volume of hard sf about interstellar travel so I planned to reread The Star Fox and its sequel, Fire Time. Instead, I was diverted onto the fantasy novel A Midsummer Tempest. From that, I have reread the other fantasy novels set in alternative timelines and have started to reread the several fantasies set in our timeline.

While it is evident to the reader that Anderson's intellect and imagination are equally engaged in both kinds of writing, it is difficult, while absorbed in one kind of fiction, to contemplate the transition back to the other. However, I still expect to reread The Star Fox etc when I have worked my way through War Of The Gods, Hrolf Kraki's Saga and The Demon Of Scattery.

Addendum, 19/9/12: This post refers only to prose fantasies. In graphic fiction, I recommend Swamp Thing by Alan Moore, John Constantine: Hellblazer by Jamie Delano and others, The Sandman by Neil Gaiman and Lucifer by Mike Carey. This vast body of work has high quality writing and art and occupies a single fictional universe where Hellblazer spins off from Swamp Thing, Lucifer spins off from The Sandman and these natural and supernatural beings coexist and can interact with iconic characters who have been published continuously since, in the earliest case, 1938.

Returning to the main subject of this blog, Anderson's works would bear graphic adaptation.

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