Comparatively Fantastic! Our favourite authors

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Postby Lady Vetinari » Fri Feb 20, 2009 3:36 pm

I love John Le Carre, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and CS Lewis.

Although JRR Tolkien did a realised world I do not like some of what he wrote, I do prefer the films to the story - particularly because they get rid of Tom Bombadil (a needless character imo, and one those two chapters annoyed me. They were on the run for crying out loud and they stop for two characters that bears NO relation to the rest?) Also, the film had the Elves fight alongside the humans at Helms Deep which I loved. The book left the humans to themselves. I know Terry loves him, but I can't share that admiration. Oh, and I'm glad they made Arwen more important in the film...

I'm not exactly a feminist, but I do like a more important female character which is why I prefer Lewis. He wrote Lucy as a feisty young girl that wanted to be a boy. I also like Jill Pole in Silver Chair.

I hope I am not going to get my eyes scratched out for this but I happen to like JK Rowling's world and as for stealing ideas: Nothing is new under the sun, and every author is a thief! But then she falls down in Deadly Hallows.

My absolute favourite book ever has to be Wind In the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.

At the moment I am reading several books including Dean Koontz, Terry of course, Charles Dickens, and I have started a NOVEL called Shadow of the Wind. I am also reading Ursula K LeGuins Earthsea Quartet.

My favourite latest fantasy author is Cecilia Dart-Thornton, The Bitterbynde Trilogy is just fantastic, and when I need help in creating atmosphere for my own books I read a few pages of her and I have enough inspiration for a hundred ... not that I plagiarise, not intentionally!

Oh, and I've started The Redwall Abbey series.
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Postby Tonyblack » Fri Feb 20, 2009 3:51 pm

I think you'll find there are a few of us who have read and enjoyed Rowling - that includes me. :) Although I don't know if I'll ever reread the books.

I've read most of the Redwall series and they are really good. I like to think of them as Wind in the Willows with attitude. :lol:

I read all the Narnia books and a few others by Lewis. He's a wonderful writer and I also like strong female roles in books. I've read his 'Space' trilogy and 'Till We Have Faces', which I'd recommend. :)
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Postby chris.ph » Fri Feb 20, 2009 7:43 pm

im about to start the first redwall book :lol:
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Postby Lady Vetinari » Fri Feb 20, 2009 8:13 pm

Tonyblack wrote:

I read all the Narnia books and a few others by Lewis. He's a wonderful writer and I also like strong female roles in books. I've read his 'Space' trilogy and 'Till We Have Faces', which I'd recommend. :)


I am on the second Perelandra of the Cosmic trilogy, I do like it but I am not really a Sci-Fi fan (though I do like Star Wars, but not Star Trek - I am more a Fantasy person than Sci-Fi!)

I would love to get hold of his other works to. It would interest you to know that the Addison Walk (I think??) where he held many Religious debates with Tolkien was named after one of my ancestors, who's father was a Vicar. The ancestors full name is Joseph Addison, who was quite a literary figure of his day, his best friend for a time was Jonathan Swift, of Gullivers Travels fame. He was also born in Wiltshire.

So there is a lot of Literacy in my background. Is it surprising that I write?
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Postby Tonyblack » Fri Feb 20, 2009 8:23 pm

It's obviously in the genes Magrat! :)

If you get the chance, 'Till We Have Faces' is well worth trying to find. It's a retelling of the Psyche and Cupid story. I loaned my copy out and never got it back. :(
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Postby Lady Vetinari » Fri Feb 20, 2009 8:30 pm

Tonyblack wrote:It's obviously in the genes Magrat! :)

If you get the chance, 'Till We Have Faces' is well worth trying to find. It's a retelling of the Psyche and Cupid story. I loaned my copy out and never got it back. :(


My sympathies to you! :evil: I hate it when that happens, not that I let it happen to me. Some may call it selfish, I call it protecting my bank balance!

I will look out for that one.
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sat Feb 21, 2009 8:21 pm

Magrat Garlick wrote:I am on the second Perelandra of the Cosmic trilogy, I do like it but I am not really a Sci-Fi fan (though I do like Star Wars, but not Star Trek - I am more a Fantasy person than Sci-Fi!)


He's a fascinating writer is Lewis and I really cut my fantasy 'milk' teeth on the Narnia Chronicles. They was 'approved reading' in class but they only really looked at the 1st 3 books (so The Lion the Witch & the Wardrobe; Prince Caspian & Voyage of the Dawntreader). The thing that people tend to gloss over with Lewis and especially with the Narnia books with their population of talking animals and mixed bag of fairy folk and creatures of classical and medieval myth is that he's a very moral and Christian writer. Of course the sacrificial nature of Aslan (a little bit of a jump to reconcile Christ as being a lion in its natural state I know :wink: ) correlates like mad with the Crucifixion and Resurrection. I even had the shock of my life when one of the teaching nuns (I was at an RC secondary school) made us read through the bit in Dawntreader (SPOILER ALERT) where Eustace manages to shed several layers of dragon skin after being particularly and despicably nasty as some kind of rejection of evil and rebirthing ephithany :roll: - and of course that put me right off the books completely for a while! :lol:

The Silver Chair was my joint favourite - gotta lurve Puddleglum as he's such a miserable git! - along with The Last Battle. The latter's an amazing book and if you never got that far in the series I recommend it very highly for its imagery and dealing with the nature of heaven and redemption.

Lewis was famously friends with Tolkien who was a fairly devout Roman Catholic and he was influential in Lewis's conversion and the fact that he was a convert (to the Church of England) I think shows through all his books as he was a passionately moral writer but with a very strong spartan and oddly intolerant attitude to ‘weakness’ of the spirit although this softened somewhat after his marriage in later life. His work on the Cosmic Trilogy though concerned with the trappings of sci-fi are, I think more related to fantasy with Christian themes and motifs, and the second book, Perelendra with it's parallels to the Christian creation tales certainly is highly imaginative and more original than the first Out of the Silent Planet. The last of the Trilogy That Hideous Strength I found quite a disturbing book and very powerful indeed. The hero of the series a philologist (the science of linguistics) named Ransome (with a fondness for Switzerland and hiking is demonstrably based on Tolkien) and both Narnian and Middle Earth philosophic themes are seen in the series, with a very heavy dash of Arthurian principles and the Holy Grail story in the last book as Ransome, dying but still quietly strong in his faith, leads his friends to literally fight the Devil for the moral survival of the human soul in the modern universe.

On my ‘must read eventually’ list is the Screwtape Letters which are a letters style tale of an elder demon advising a younger on how to corrupt a soul – apparently it was required reading for aspiring Jesuits after its publication and in fact the Hell it depicts is highly similar to Pterry’s Eric with Astfgl’s Demonic Bureaucratic Regime… so again a link into Discworld perhaps, although I don’t know if Terry did use that as a source of inspiration it certainly is a devilishly similar solution :twisted:
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Postby Tonyblack » Sat Feb 21, 2009 8:34 pm

I'm pretty sure I've read that Terry read the Screwtape Letters and was inspired by them. I'm not sure where I read that - probably in the Annotations on L-Space. :D
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Postby Lady Vetinari » Sat Feb 21, 2009 11:08 pm

I saw Screwtape Letters in a 2nd hand bookshop but didn't have the money, it always comes to that! :evil:

I would love all his works, he is one of my heros. And I watched some of the BBC Voyage of the Dawn Treader being filmed, I met Warwick Davies on that shoot! Don't have photographic proof unfortunately but it only dawned - hah hah! on me when I read that Warwick was in Voyage I found the scene that we watched filmed in the book and then it struck me!

I met Reepicheep!

In the BBC Silver Chair Puddleglum was played by Tom Baker, Dr. Who connection, and personally he'd be a brilliant voice for a Golem!
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Tue Mar 03, 2009 1:45 pm

Tom Baker made a super Puddleglum acting-wise but I was put off by the wardrobe dept's making him look a lot like the Scarecrow in Wizard of Oz (but muddy :wink: ) and also he wasn't really skinny enough to be marsh-wriggle. If they'd had CGI back then he'd have been perfect - if they can make Ray Winston look like an authentically muscle-bound barbarian with it then they can do anything! :lol:

Jane Austen's been mentioned by myself and several other people now so perhaps we should have a look at some of the 'classics' and get some debate going...

Jan Van Quirm wrote:I think I'd have to toss a coin between Pterry and Tolks as to who was my favourite author and actually I'd then have to do a knockout toss between the winner and Jane Austen who was, had the typewriter been invented, possibly the greatest (consistent) writer this country's ever produced... But it wasn't, so sorry Janey - I really wish you'd been born in WW2, lived in LA (or possibly in San Francisco 1st wearing a flower in your hair) because you'd have been a truly kickass screenwriter/director - maybe that's an idea for another thread actually: What if XXX author had been born in the 20th Cent (or whenever). :P


So - what do you think your fave classical author would be into if they'd been born into our generation? :twisted:
Last edited by Jan Van Quirm on Tue Mar 03, 2009 4:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Mar 03, 2009 1:52 pm

Not sure I've read too much classical stuff. Read HG Wells and I guess he'd still be turning out Sci-Fi. I'd love to read modern books by Mark Twain and Jonathon Swift as I suspect their satire might even be a rival from Terry. :wink:
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Tue Mar 03, 2009 4:02 pm

:lol: OK let's rephrase - :P
I'd say Twain and Swift writings are certainly 'classic' as they're taught all over :D And HG Wells too *wise nod*. After all some people would classify Austen as Mills and Boons so it's authors whose work and style is still in use and admired today :wink:

So - what do you think your fave deceased author would be into if they'd been born into our generation?
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Postby Who's Wee Dug » Tue Mar 03, 2009 9:19 pm

I wonder what George MacDonald would have been writing now as I have enjoyed his previous ones, he only wrote two adult ones,and did inspire JRRT I believe.
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Postby NightOwl » Thu Mar 05, 2009 12:58 am

going through my influences -
Sterling Lanier - Hiero's Journey etc - great post apocalyptic psi - fi
CS Lewis - Narnia etc
early David Eddings - Belgariad
HG Wells - not re-read recently though - Time Machine
Orwell - 1984
Aldous Huxley - Brave New World
Tolkien - LotR etc - seminal!
Walpole - Castle of Otranto
Swift - Gulliver's travels
Stephen Donaldson - The Gap series + Mirror of ther dreams etc
Julian May - Golden Torc
Herbert - Dune
Asimov - Foundation
William Gibson - cyberpunk stuff
I used to enjoy those silly punny Xanth novels

more recently
Robin Hobb - Assassin's etc
Iain M Banks - Culture novels
Jasper FForde - time detective novels
Dan Brown - hi-tech conspiracy theories

I think fantasy / sci-fi etc is a pretty wide genre
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:05 pm

Stumbled on this thread looking for something else :lol:

In my latest adventures in searching for compatible literary agents to peddle my own stuff I needed to review which authors I enjoy reading and as fantasy/scifi as a genre seems for some reason to be looked down on amongst the bigger hitters I only found 3 authors I could hand on heart say I actually admired...

So first because he's the one I've read longest - Tom Sharpe. Too sharp sometimes - I was actually physically nauseated by The Throwback (condoms, scouring powder and cheesegraters.... :shock: ) - but the South African novels and of course the Henry Wilt series are brilliant books that satirise some of the truly nastier social mores of modern times. :P

Kate Atkinson - adore her early stuff, especially Behind the Scenes at the Museum. She's got this friendly yet aetherial quality like you're giggling with someone in the kitchen at a party and all of sudden you're off in the haunted woods running after a woman who's just turned into a hind. Quirkily eerie rather than terrifying until you return to the mundane storyline and think how can they do that still? :?

Jeanette Winterston - weird and wonderful. I like short stories and she does them so well and often to a theme. She also has a thing about sleep and dreams so, for an insomniac, she's always a compelling writer. Oh yeah and it's nice not to have sexuality rammed down your throat the whole time either except in context like the marvellous Dog Woman in Sexing the Cherry :lol:

And my probably favourite contemporary author that I couldn't find at all in the Agents client lists online - Julian Barnes. He's just marvellous - I first read him in History of the World in Ten and a Half Chapters and he's just spellbinding by stealth almost. Just as think you have him sussed he does something so simple and breathtaking with such finesse it's actually profoundly shocking - he's Tom Soft actually :lol:
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