Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Extreme Visions of Fantasy

Just read Flights: Extreme Visions of Fantasy. I got it because I felt that I absolutely HAD to read Neil Gaiman's story "The Problem of Susan." Which did not disappoint; and which also hinged on something from the Narnia books that always perplexed me many years ago. I particularly love the word nylons.

My thoughts in sum: I prefer real-world fantasy to completely made-up (i.e. a story that begins with lots of names that bear no resemblance to names in any known language has to be extra good not to put me off); I prefer novels to stories. So in many ways I'm not the ideal reader for this book. (I'm a few stories into the Michael Chabon
McSweeney's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales. Both are well worth reading, I think, particularly as a way of finding some new writers to read more extensively. But for me even a quite trashy novel is always more compelling than a high-quality anthology. I do have fond memories of a few story anthologies from childhood, including one "Golden Treasury" or something like that that had all KINDS of stuff in it; but then again the appeal of the "sampler" aspect of it is much stronger when you are quite young. By now I know more about what I like, and what I like is long novels & the sustained development of character and relationships that you get there.

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