Tuesday, September 7, 2004

Write a Best-Selling Fantasy Novel


Dead on and it fits Lord of the Rings so well. What did Gandalf do,

really? A strong flashlight would have been about as useful; maybe a

bazooka for the Balrog. The writer also points out the racial elements

that had long been a minor controversy with the LOTR novel but in the films

became pretty much flat-out racism (couple that with a plot line about

putting a noble Aryan on his throne and Return of the King becomes a

perfect film for Bush's America). There's an issue of Grant Morrison's The

Invisibles that completely stops the story (about "good" rebels vs an

"evil" conspiracy, though that's sorta like saying Gravity's Rainbow is

about rocket research) and tells the troubled but also sometimes happy life

history of a security guard. It has no obvious relation to the main

story. But about three or four issues later one of the "good guys" is

infiltrating an enemy stronghold and shoots some of the cannon fodder when

you realize from the image and the distinctive uniform that this security

guard was one of those shot. Try to imagine Star Wars stopping for 10

minutes to show the family life of one of the stormtroopers Luke and Han

continually slaughter.

On a smaller note, it's worth pointing out that many real-life castles and

fortifications did in fact have small side doors, not really for garbage

but were often used during war for raids. It was through such a door that

Mehmet II was able to take Constantinople with all the reverberations

that's had down to the present day.

As for heroic fantasy that doesn't fit this mold, I'd recommend Michael

Moorcock's lush and dark Elric novels, Fritz Leiber's constantly

imaginative Fahfrd and Grey Mouser stories and (if it's actually fantasy)

Mervyn Peake's vast, decadent Gormenghast trilogy. In a category all its

own is T.H. White's The Once and Future King, a heartbreaking re-imagining

of the King Arthur legend that in some ways is one of the most politically

astute novels ever written.