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28 August 2007 @ 11:13 pm
So I just got the Del Rey Internet Newsletter in my mailbox, and the big promo is for THE ELVES OF CINTRA, the latest in the Shannara series and part of the trilogy that I gather ties the Void books together with the Shannara books. There's an interview in the newsletter, and in it, the King of the Silver River is mentioned.

My God. I had not thought of that character in...years. I had forgotten how very much I *loved* that character until I read his name, and then it came back to me on an actual visceral level. I actually lost my breath for a moment, just at the sheer wonder of rememberance. It wasn't having a crush on the character (I've had plenty of literary crushes, but that wasn't one of them). It was simply *loving* him. And he's what, really only in the one scene, right? In the original trilogy, and I can't even remember which book (Wikipedia tells me he's in SWORD and WISHSONG, so I would have encountered him first in WISHSONG), but it had one of the most beautiful descriptive scenes I ever remember reading. I read that scene (and the biscuit scene from SO LONG AND THANKS FOR ALL THE FISH) for a Drama, Debate & Forensics competition my junior year of high school, because I thought it was simply so very gorgeous. (In retrospect, God, they probably thought I was very, very weird.)

I have no idea if that scene, or those books, hold up to the test of time, although the original trilogy would, I suspect, fall under the "I don't care if it's good, it has huge nostalgic value" heading for me (rather like the original Guardians of the Flame books). And apparently the Shannara prequels go into quite a lot of detail about the King of the Silver River, and now I am struck with the wish to read _all_ of them, which is actually a rather daunting task. I think I'll wait until the bridging trilogy is finished and then do just that. The idea kind of fills me with childish delight.

(Note: this paragraph contains a spoiler for the original Shannara trilogy. If you're reading this blog, I cannot imagine it would actually be a spoiler to you, but just in case, I'm telling you so you can skip it if you want. :) The original Shannara trilogy changed my reading habits forever, as I bought WISHSONG at age 12 at the beginning of a long drive up the California coast. My parents said, "Find the biggest book you can," and WISHSONG was both extremely thick and also trade paperback, so it was quite literally the biggest book I could find. (They said, "Jesus, that's really big!", and I said, "*Well*!") I read it and, to my vast embarrassment, cried over Allanon's death (every time I read the book for years afterward, too), finished it, turned it over, and saw on the back cover, "Don't miss the first two books in this exciting trilogy!" AGH. So for more than twenty years I've been obsessive about reading books in order, because AGH! *AGH*!)

Wow. I'm just gonna sit here for a while smiling foolishly, because I don't remember ever having a love affair come back to me quite that strongly before. :)

On a completely different topic, pbray has a rather cool post about Life After The Trilogy up at SF Novelists.com, with further discussion on the topic going on at her blog. And I'm not linking to her because she plugged me in her post, although that was very cool of her, but rather because it's really interesting (and probably, in fact, bears some relevance to the entire topic of the innumerable Shannara books mentioned above). :)
Current Mood: indescribableindescribable
Alix (Tersa): Arwen Reading (tersa)tersa on August 28th, 2007 10:41 pm (UTC)
Oddly enough, my favorite book of the original trilogy was Elfstones. I remember re-reading it over and over again all the way up through college (when I discovered a) a paycheck and b) a library that had just about every MZB book ever printed).

(Although, heh. I also remember buying Wishsong right before a trip...to camp. In trade paperback. I still have that copy, in fact, very battered at this point.)

I was so excited when the tetrology of sequels came out when I was in college...and I hated them. A lot.

I can't recall if I still have one of the Jerle Shannara prequel books or not. I know I bought it off eBay at one point but I never read it.

If some people *glares* weren't being so prolific producing their own books, I might actually be able to re-read them. As it is: too many books, not enough time! ;)
kitmizkit on August 28th, 2007 10:49 pm (UTC)
I read...DRUID? Was that the first of the sequels to come out? No, SCIONS. Huh, I must've read both of them, as I'm pretty sure DRUID is the last Shannara book I've read, and I didn't like them as much as I liked the original trilogy--Walker was too unlikeable a character. But 16 years of distance from the entire series might make a difference in my opinion. And it'll probably be 20 years before I get to *reading* them all. Some people *glares* keep being prolific and taking up all my reading time! :)

And yes, ELFSTONES is, I think, the best of the trilogy. It's heartwrenching, but it wasn't the one that made me cry. :)
Alix (Tersa): Arwen Reading (tersa)tersa on August 28th, 2007 10:57 pm (UTC)

Amberle's decision made me cry. Especially since...okay, maybe I was slow, but it took me several *years* before I grokked all the nuances of it. I think I may have been too young/naive/inexperienced at 13 to really understand it.

(I can't remember if I cried at Allanon's death or not. He was such a bastard in the first two books, I think my opinion was colored by it. OTOH, I wanted to be Brin. But was also 14 at the time. ;)

coppervalecoppervale on August 28th, 2007 11:23 pm (UTC)
I can still QUOTE my favorite line from ELFSTONES:

"And all the while, the eyes of the Changeling watched him go."

Chilling then, chilling now. And Terry's use of a family lineage to tie novels together, and the effect it had on my OWN writing, cannot be overstated.
Maggie Brinkleygauroth on August 29th, 2007 12:06 am (UTC)
I am currently trying to educate my neighbour's son Ryan in all things fantasy, and he is now reading both the 'Shannara' books and David (and Leigh) Eddings. He loves them because they are long series with lots of references to Past Times that are explained in prequels. In other words, the world-building is very deep. His sensawonda has also inspired me to re-read these books, which were total knock-outs when I first read them a long, long time ago. They stand up pretty well, although there are fantasy books which I now prefer ( eg urban fantasy - and, oh yes, that wonderful C E Murphy lady, whose books even my hard-sf-loving spouse likes!)
Kes Yocumkesmun on August 31st, 2007 05:31 am (UTC)
Both my loving spouse and I devour every D&L Eddings book that comes out. We own them all in paperback (except for High Hunt and The Losers). I loved that the original cover artist for EverQuest was also the cover artist for the Elenium/Tamuli double trilogy. Keith Parkinson.
rfrancis on August 29th, 2007 01:59 am (UTC)
I guess you don't want to hear about how I read half of the first Shannara book as a kid and threw it across the room in disgust, never to crack one again, huh. :)
Tayefethtayefeth on August 29th, 2007 03:34 am (UTC)
I'm trying to remember if the Shannara books are the ones I did that to... It might have been Eddings?, though. I repressed the memory.

I'm sorry to hear that an author Kit likes seems to have caught the dread Tie-It-All-Together disease, though.
kitmizkit on August 29th, 2007 07:51 am (UTC)
I'm not sure he so much as caught it as--I get the idea there was a lot of intent to have the Void books tie in, ultimately, with the Shannara books. That there were hints right from the start of RUNNING WITH THE DEMON that this could be the same world that the Shannara books had sprung from. So not so much a Heinlein-esque brute-forcing things together as a deliberate crafting of a very long history. (Yes, very Tolkien, I suppose, she said, looking at rfrancis's comment above. :))
kitmizkit on August 29th, 2007 07:45 am (UTC)
Nah, I know plenty of people who've done that. But I never read Tolkien, which is, I gather, what causes people to throw the Shannara books across the room, so I don't have that particular sullen reaction. :)
desperancedesperance on August 29th, 2007 09:48 am (UTC)
I never read Tolkien

Still not? And for why?
kitmizkit on August 29th, 2007 10:03 am (UTC)
It appears the only way I can stomach Tolkien is abridged. I loved the BBC radio version, I loved the movies, and I read THE HOBBIT and THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RINGS, but got halfway through THE TWO TOWERS and could not take another loving, intimate description of the ten thousandth blade of grass as they ran endlessly through the plains of Rohan. I put it down and in the intervening twenty-some years have never had more than a vague guilty feeling that I really should try to finish reading those someday, which is not at all the same as an actual desire to do so.
desperancedesperance on August 29th, 2007 10:28 am (UTC)
Indeed, it is not at all the same. As are not two readers' reactions to the same text. Me, I really connected with that loving intimacy you describe, but I do see how others might not.

It's just the notion of picking Shannara over Tolkien that makes me stumble - but I did approach them in the opposite order, which does make if not define the difference.
kitmizkit on August 29th, 2007 11:22 am (UTC)
Actually, I said, digging myself deeper, I'm pretty sure I tried Tolkien a year or so before I read Shannara. I know it's sacrelige, but it just didn't work for me. Maybe if I'd skipped the middle half of TWO TOWERS, but I just gave up instead. :)
Al Pettersoneyelessgame on August 29th, 2007 05:52 pm (UTC)
yah, me too. All I remember is a pastoral setting, where the protagonist gets suddenly accosted by Christopher Lloyd playing Gandalf, who lectures him obscurely (flinging him about a bit in the process) and then abruptly leaves to be imprisoned by Saruman. And nothing else seemed to happen for many many pages.

But I think it's all in the formative years we read these things. I was in my mid-20s when I tried to read Shannara, whereas I read LotR when I was six.
Michellemsagara on August 29th, 2007 06:42 am (UTC)
The first Shannara novel was the first fiction my father had ever read. I mean ever. Although I was a bookworm, his general feeling about fiction in my childhood was that it was a waste of time -- there was so much to learn, if you were reading, you should be reading non-fiction. But... he loved that book. And I have an unreasonable fondness for it because of that, although by the time I read it, I think I was too old for it.

And thanks for the pointer to the pbray piece about life after trilogies. I posted there. It was, of course, long, lol.
kitmizkit on August 29th, 2007 10:05 am (UTC)
I'm staggered by the revelation that the SUN SWORD books get an off-page character halfway through her story arc. *laughs* So! Much! Story!