Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Get Off My Blood-Splattered Field!

Over at Big Hollywood, Leo Grin has written a screed decrying the newer breed of fantasy authors and holding up a bunch of old white guys as the only true purveyors of fantasy fiction.   He makes a slightly incoherent argument (Tolkien and Howard are aligned, really?), and comes off as more than a little pompous; prattling on about poetry and mythopoetic splendor, when all he's really doing is what his English profs taught him to do: defend The Canon!

Joe Abercrombie has taken a running jump at unpacking Mr. Grin's argument:
We’re on sides, now?  No one told me about sides.  What are the sides?  Of what?  And on which side am I?  I love Tolkien, after all.  I’d like to be on his side.  Grew up withThe Hobbit.  Read Lord of the Rings every year.  I’m a great admirer of his.  Without Tolkien there’d be no fantasy as we know it, and certainly no First Law.  When it comes to an epic tale with moral clarity set in a supremely realised fantasy world, he pretty much knocked it out of the park.  But that means there’s not much point in my writing it again, is there?  Forgive me for saying so, but it feels as if folk have been writing Lord of the Rings again for a while now, and I think we could probably, you know, stop.  Howard’s less of a personal influence for me, except at distant second hand through the film Conan the Barbarian, D&D and so forth, but there’s no doubting his tremendous influence on the genre, and I’m a big fan of some of the guys who picked up the sword & sorcery baton from him, like Fritz Leiber.  Hell, I’d like to be on Howard’s side too.  Can I be on his … oh.  Apparently I’m on the other side:
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