Posted by: fireweaver | January 16, 2008

…and now for something completely literary

somehow, i managed to stumble across this 30somthing year old essay by the venerable michael moorcock, “epic pooh.” basically, he asserts that the trappings of high fantasy have gone on quite enough, thanks v.much (and more, considering that the 1st draft of this was published 1978). while i’ve long said that there’s a very good tale buried under the weight of his linguist’s prose, moorcock holds nothing back, blasting the whole thing as puddingy crap. and hell, tossing rowling in to boot.

i feel kinda shocked & revitalized. i read the section of LeGuin’s out-loud (in oxford british accent, no lie, as it seemed completely appropriate), and remembered how much i’d loved her:

On the day the boy was thirteen years old, a day in the early splendour of autumn while still the bright leaves are on the trees, Ogion returned to the village from his rovings over Gont Mountain, and the ceremony of Passage was held. The witch took from the boy his name Duny, the name his mother had given him as a baby. Nameless and naked he walked into the cold springs of the Ar where it rises among the rocks under the high cliffs. As he entered the water clouds crossed the sun’s face and great shadows slid and mingled over the water of the pool about him. He crossed to the far bank, shuddering with cold but walking slow and erect as he should through that icy, living water. As he came to the bank Ogion, waiting, reached out his hand and clasping the boy’s arm whispered to him his true name: Ged.

Thus was he given his name by one very wise in the use of power.

well, once upon a time, i was so utterly *struck* by the amazing prose in ‘the farthest shore’ that i felt the need to read it aloud to some friends on the bus during a band trip. oh, yes, peeps, just as that reads, i was a big enough nerd that i was attempting to inflict literature onto peers not involved with the book in class (of course, i wasn’t doomed to suffer such a wonderful book in classtime, either, no, it was just shitty ‘tess of the d’ubervilles’ for us), and of course, said attempt failed tragically. i’d love to say i feel vindicated by moorcock’s lambast of tolkein…yet i quite enjoyed the rowling he equally torches. oh well. clearly, the answer is to re-read some LeGuin a decade-plus later and see if it still moves me in my heart. i’ll let ya know.

but in the meantime, hey: it’s apparently not blasphemy to the f/sf word to say tolkein kinda sucks as as writer.

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Responses

  1. I’m glad someone big said it. I’ve read the tolkein trilogy exactly once and see no point to read that crap again, especially with pretty, pretty movies.

    I love Mr. Moorcock to death, so it’s kind of fun to hear him torch some of the writers I don’t care for, and I’m so checking out other books he mentions that I haven’t gotten around to reading.

  2. exactly: i’m re-reading LeGuin right now, and Cooper’s on the shelf ready to go…and i’ll be spending some of those amazon.com gc’s on some of those other authors he mentions that i’ve never read.


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