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Re: Science Fantasy, the richest of all fiction genres
Posted by: Hespire (IP Logged)
Date: 20 August, 2020 01:38PM
That to me is a marvelous cover and an excellent example of well-blended sf and fantasy! The combined effect doesn't feel like a clutter of cliches, but a uniquely strange illustration of a wonderland, feeling at once like an old manuscript and a vision of an alien world. That spaceship doesn't intrude on the atmosphere in the least, even resembling the giant egg shells from Bosch's medieval paintings. I would enjoy more science fantasy along these lines, and not so much pointy-hatted wizards flinging fireballs at cyborgs with laser guns.

It's funny you thought of those wattled half-dragons from Smith's story, because last time I read "The Dark Eidolon" I also imagined them resembling dragons from medieval illustrations, with coiling tails and nearly human faces, brought to startling flesh and reality. If a thread like this doesn't exist, a discussion on Vance and Smith's differences and similarities would be very fun.

Re: Science Fantasy, the richest of all fiction genres
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 20 August, 2020 01:57PM
Yes! Hespire, you got it, I would sign under every one of your words!

Re: Science Fantasy, the richest of all fiction genres
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 21 August, 2020 04:27PM
Hespire Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> The best science fantasy, for me, are stories that
> don't try so hard to represent any genre, but
> rather use the tropes of science and sorcery
> seamlessly, so that neither genre sorely sticks
> out, creating a natural world ...
>
> ... doesn't feel like a clutter of
> cliches, but a uniquely strange illustration of a
> wonderland, feeling at once like an old manuscript
> and a vision of an alien world. ...
>
> ... I would enjoy more science
> fantasy along these lines, and not so much
> pointy-hatted wizards flinging fireballs at
> cyborgs with laser guns.
>

This so interesting. It concerns quality in art and literature. Which can be very evasive.

Are we really truly engaged by authors (painters and moviemakers) who show off their brilliant intelligence, convoluted plots and bombastic fireworks? No! WHO CARES about that?! IQ level is overrated, just like comparing biggest size, strongest super strength, and fastest speed, or the longest line of algebra. The rabble may be impressed by that, but not sensitive individuals. What we want is genuine art. Writers who use their intelligence and insights sensitively, to blend different parts and elements into something naturally organic, that transcends the sum of its parts. The smart-ass intelligence of the ego is no longer tied up in clich├ęs lined up on display, for it's separate effort observations have transmuted into a living creation.

The best Science Fantasy reminds me of old vintage wine, its cultivated parts and wafts of varied elements blown in by wind and sun and rain, the most subtle ingredients selected by divine mystical intervention (something inspired artists can tap into), having matured into something great, of genuine quality and age. Speaking to the soul and heart, intellect being secondary.

Re: Science Fantasy, the richest of all fiction genres
Posted by: Cathbad (IP Logged)
Date: 22 August, 2020 05:52AM
The Book of the New Sun typifies a certain type of fantasy published in the Sixties and Seventies, and which I always really liked - very vivid, if not very strong on plot. The Starbridge Chronicles by Paul Park and The Mask of the Sorcerer by Darrell Schweitzer would fall into the same category imo. Wolfe's books are science fantasy, being set at some (very) distant time in the future, but I genuinely did not pick this up when I was reading them.

Re Moorcock. I read the Corum books first, so they made much more of an impact. Oddly enough, I think I read all the eternal champion series but read the Elric books last. As is often the case, it was hard to see what made the Elric books so original in retrospect as I think Moorcock did more interesting things with the concept subsequently.

Re: Science Fantasy, the richest of all fiction genres
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 22 August, 2020 07:42AM
I did something similar with E. R. Burroughs, reading all the Venus books first. Two decades later I read the first trilogy of Mars books. But in this case the contrast was overwhelming, and I regretted my youthful mistake.

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