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From: Adam Stephanides <adamsteph@earthlink.net>
Subject: (urth) Some recommendations [was Re: Witches, Daemons, Bears, Democrats]
Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2001 11:44:25 

on 4/27/01 8:21 AM, David Lebling at dlebling@ucentric.com wrote:

> Yes, but the bears were my absolute favorite. I think I've read only one
> other story where bears have a civilization (as opposed to stories where
> bears are intelligent -- even Tolkien did that, and I don't count "When
> Bears Discover Fire"). I _think_ it was a Poul Anderson story, but I can't
> recall the title. I just remember the bears were very bearish, rather than
> just big humans in fur coats.

Ha!  A chance to plug one of my favorite, and totally obscure, books: _The
Crimson Bears_ and _A Hundred Doors: The Crimson Bears, Part II_, by Tom
LaFarge, published by Sun & Moon Press.  Fascinating, inventive and very
well-written: the second book includes a chapter in the form of a scholarly
discussion of a play based upon the events of the chapter.  One of the
books' covers compares them to Tolkien, but they're nothing like Tolkien.  I
have to admit that the bears aren't particularly bearish, but there are also
intelligent cats, who are fairly cat-like (and two other intelligent
species, all with cultures of their own).  Alas, I recently saw a copy of
the first book on a remainder table.

I'll also recommend another wonderful, completely unknown book from the same
publisher: _The Secret Service_ by Wendy Walker.  This is a fantasy, but not
a genre fantasy.  It takes place in our world, or something very close to
it, and all the characters are human; there are only a couple of fantastic
elements (something like _Lady into Fox_, if you're familiar with that).
It's superbly written; its prose is a pleasure to read for the rhythm alone.
There is a long, self-contained dream section which, standing alone, would
be one of the finest fantasy novellas I've ever read.

While I'm on a roll, I'll also recommend _The Venetian Glass Nephew_ by
Elinor Wylie, better known as a poet.  It was first published in the first
half of the 20th century (I don't have my copy to hand), though it's been
reprinted.  It's this-worldly fantasy, like _The Secret Service_; the title
is self-explanatory.  It's a jeu d'esprit, but with a somber undercurrent.


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

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