FIND in
<--prev V22 next-->

From: "Alice Turner" <al@interport.net>
Subject: (urth) McKillip question
Date: Sat, 16 Jan 1999 23:41:33 

Begging your pardons, but hoping the group might appreciate someting novel
to focus on for a minute or two, I'd like to solicit your opinions, very
much including lurkers' opinions, on something I'm scratching my head over
just now. I've been asked for an essay on Patricia McKillip, which I was
pleased to accept, as I more or less "discovered" THE FORGOTTEN BEASTS OF
ELD 25 years ago and may have had something to do with its riding over works
by established writers like Poul Anderson to win the very first World
Fantasy Award.

The review will focus on the Riddlemaster trilogy, coming out for the first
time in a omnibus edition this March.  But I have for the past few weeks
been reading her books of the 1990s, the only ones still in print (i.e. that
I could get) except for ELD (still magical) and the galley of the trilogy,
which I haven't allowed myself to read yet. What I am puzzling over, quite
seriously, is why a prize-winning, gifted (she really is, take my word for
it) and fairly prolific writer 20-odd years down the line has not moved
beyond the standard tropes and situations of High Fantasy--princes, dragons,
firebirds, mages, spells, sentimental feudalism along the standard medieval
Celtic line,  Any thoughts beyond "that's what puts bread on the table,"
"she's really just a YA writer" and ""she's comfortable in that world" will
be gratefully accepted. (Use my email address; I don't want to burden the
list--also, you don't need to have read McKillip; stray thoughts are

To take it just a tad further, think how far Le Guin, who started with these
very tropes in Earthsea, has gone. Think of Vance, who writes the same book
over and over (like Iris Murdoch in the mainstream), but has made an
enjoyable and recognizable style and world of his own, or Alice Hoffman who
has taken the conventions into the mainstream, or how Crowley has used them
for his own purposes, or how Swanwick has defined "hard fantasy."

Thanks in advance,


*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

<--prev V22 next-->