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From: Dan Parmenter <dan@lec.com>
Subject: (urth) Re: Digest urth.v028.n198
Date: 03 May 2000 13:50:45 

From: "Alice Turner" <pei047@attglobal.net>

> I wonder about that. I felt that Holdstock was coming from the older
> British tradition, and also from the fact that Britain (including
> Scotland) during the 60s and 70s was a place where far-out experimental
> psychology, with and without drugs--generally LSD--, was getting a lot
> of attention (Laing and such, also Doris Lessing). I've only read the
> one (first) book, but I did review it, so I read it carefully. LSD as a
> psychiatric drug makes a lot of sense re that book.

Bingo.  Also bear in mind the name of the central family in the
Mythago Wood books - Huxley.  Given Aldous Huxley's interest in
hallucinogens, this is a clear signpost.  Without being an expert on
Jung or Joseph Campbell, their influence also seems to loom over the
series.  I'm a huge fan of several of the Mythago books, especially
the first one.  I don't see it as being in the Lovecraft (beyond the
"my father is a lunatic who toys with Strange Forces which later
consume me" angle) or the British fantasy tradition at all - I've
always thought of MW as almost being the anti-Narnia.  It's a "Wood
Between the Worlds", but Ryhope Wood is a brutal and savage place.
Holdstock's early writing is unsubtle and brutal as well, but filled
with many images that linger.

The first sequel, LAVONDYSS, continues the feel of the first, but the
subsequent books in the series like THE HOLLOWING and GATE OF
IVORY/GATE OF HORN are, IMO, pretty bad.  Everything that was
ambiguous and mysterious in the first book has been reduced to the
level of fantasy role-playhing game mechanics, indeed, it often reads
like a description of an FRP campaign rather than a novel.  The other
problem with the series is that Holdstock has now told us the exact
same story from three different points of view (including the novella
called "The Bone Forest") which is much less interesting than it

Lex Shellac

p.s. Re: Emma Bull - an appreciation of electrified folk-rock music of
the Fairport Convention school can be very helpful for stuff like WAR
OF THE OAKS.  The book itself practically tells you what the
soundtrack is by dropping in various musical references.

p.p.s. Hmmm, now I'm getting off-topic.  I suspect that Gene Wolfe
wouldn't really like any of these books :-)  There, I got him in!

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

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