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Martin the Best? Goodkind the Worst? More WHO, Please.
CINESCAPE'S weekly book column answers reader's questions and comments
By Chris Wyatt
April 25, 2003
Let's jump straight in as we continue to field opinions on who deserves the title of "best living fantasy writer."
"I must say that I've read more than my share of fantasy," confesses CINESCAPE reader Greg Skaggs. "Including Tad Williams and Peter David amongst (literally) hundreds of others."
"That said, the best series I've read thus far is A SONG OF FIRE AND ICE
by George R.R. Martin. The plot is deeply satisfying and loaded with three-dimensional characters. Martin's characters are painted in shades of gray...not 'white' for good, and 'black' for bad. And, more refreshingly, no one is safe. Major characters do die in this series...and often! I quite honestly think it may end up better than THE LORD OF THE RINGS
when it's finished. (I already find it superior to two of my other favorites - R.A. Salvatore's DARK ELF
trilogy and Weis & Hickman's DRAGONLANCE CHRONICLES
and DRAGONLANCE LEGENDS
trilogies.) Martin's three books into this series of six books. It'll be very interesting to see if he can keep surprising the readers with such astounding quality."
Greg also adds, "incidentally, Martin wrote my favorite short story ever. It's a science fiction story called The Sand Kings
. Definitely find this and read it as soon as possible. It's well worth tracking down."
Another reader, Troy, says, "Just please tell me that no one has written in suggesting that Terry Goodkind is the greatest. His books SUCK....his writing SUCKS... and I can't believe that they keep making the best-seller list. Ugggh. Hehe...ok, that wasn't very 'professional', but really....his writing is aimed at like 5th graders I think....especially the painful dialogue!"
A reader who chose not to leave his/her name writes, "I have to agree with whoever nominated Tad Williams. His trilogy MEMORY, SORROW, AND THORN
is probably the best I've ever read. I personally grew to know Simon, Binibik, and Isgrimnur (a few of Williams' characters) better than I could ever hope to know Frodo, Sam or other characters from that trilogy. I have read this Williams' trilogy several times and every time I just can't believe how much he makes the reader care for his characters. That is why he is the best living fantasy writer."
?My second choice after Tad Williams would have to be Robert Jordan,? continues the same reader. ?THE WHEEL OF TIME
of course is not finished so it maybe early to judge, but with 10 volumes to date, there is plenty of material out there for one to know that he is indeed very talented. One reason the collection of short stories known as LEGENDS
edited, I believe, by Robert Silverberg was so great is because it featured both Williams and Jordan.?
Carrie from Long Island writes, "I think the whole idea of naming the best living fantasy writer is pointless, because we all know who the best fantasy writer of all time is. Tolkien may not be living, but no one is ever going to surpass him. The whole modern fantasy thing is lame because everyone's just trying to be as good as Tolkien was, and no one ever will!"
Thanks for everyone's comments. I'm sorry to everyone who didn't get a chance to see their comments published. But keep them coming, we'll post more next week. Send comments to: CWyatt@cinescape.com
We also got responses to last weeks news about DOCTOR WHO
books being back on US shelves. Scott P. "Doc" Vaughn writes that he's "always glad to see DOCTOR WHO
books on shelves... but I admit I stopped reading the BBC's books some time ago. They would have done well to spend more time on better books, driven more by character; rather than rushing to push out the 'most original' (or worse, most WHO-Shattering novels) as fast as possible. Perhaps with more examples on the shelves and newer stories I'll give them a second chance... In the meantime, let whomever it may concern know that I think it's very cool that the new DR WHO DVDs available are being reviewed on the CINESCAPE site."
Thank you very much, Doc. We think it's very cool that you noticed. Thanks for reading!
LordCuthulhu also writes in to say that he's "thankful to read Richard Salter's report that the WHO
books are back... now, if only WHO
was back on the air. I haven't even been able to see the show since BBC America stopped running it a few years ago. I'm glad the DVDs are coming out. But it's hard to plot down 30 bucks for each and every episode. At least the books will be more affordable."
Thanks everyone, for another great week of comments. Let us know what you're reading this week. Tell us what you like and dislike at: CWyatt@cinescape.com
Book Notes is our weekly Books column.Questions? Comments? Let us know what you think at email@example.com.