Tuesday, February 24, 2009

They Dream for Us

There are certain authors that are primal, and are in some cases best suited to being discovered by young readers. They have a kind of magic that is impossible to define in literary terms. These writers, imagining on paper deep dreams of power and sex and survival, tap into those roots that are closer to the reptilian brain than the more developed part of our gray matter that deals with culture and society and maintaining good manners.

These writers not only dream, they dream for us.

--Joe R. Lansdale, "Otis Adelbert Kline: Swords and Planets and Adventure, Oh My"
That's from the introduction to latest Planet Stories release, The Outlaws of Mars, which is next up on my reading list. The entire line of books has kept me happily occupied over the last year and shows no signs of letting up anytime soon. It really is one of the most exciting things happening in fantasy publishing these days. Fans of pulp fantasy owe a big debt of gratitude to the Paizo crew for their work on Planet Stories. Thumbs up.

11 comments:

  1. Could Pazio have captured the magic Lin Carter did with the Ballentine Adult Fantasy series in the 70s?

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  2. That's what they seem to be attempting, in any case. Obviously, there are always going to be titles that appeal to some and not others, but they seem to be laying the Mars theme on a bit heavy. Don't get me wrong, it's great to have some (all, really, even if I personally don't appreciate it) of this in back in print, but there are some clunkers in the mix... you be the judge.

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  3. I don't know. Why do deepest dreams have to appeal to the reptilian brain? When I was little, I was inspired by Piers Anthony and Ray Bradbury. Tolkien never did anything for me. Terry Pratchett was cute. Later in life I discovered Book Of Five Rings and and songs of history and experience, but as years go by it amazes me how way back then I was able to zero in on beauty and innocence of those two, whose vision of life is so absent from our mortal and mundane world.

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  4. Hrm. Nifty.

    On an unrelated note, James, Labyrinth Lord is basically compatible with BECMI, right?

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  5. I agree with done, above, who mentioned the clunkers. I subscribe to this series, and as a writer I love that Paizo is casting raise dead on these not-quite-classics. But it's a mixed bag, to be sure. Still, I'll happily keep reading.

    Word verification: unforra. Now that has got to be a magic item.

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  6. I love Lansdale, and gotta agree. The subjects there are primal. Not to say that's the only thing that will appeal to the young, or that only the young can appreciate such topics. Only that the young, who straddle the worlds of the primal and civilized uneasily, still learning the rules of both, are most likely to appreciate that sort of work.

    And I'm not that James, Rach, but yes, mostly. LL is compatible with BECMI, the original Monster Manual, and Moldvay/Cook basic without much tweaking at all.

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  7. Sad news today: Phillip Jose Farmer passed away...

    http://www.pjfarmer.com/

    http://www.avclub.com/articles/rip-philip-jose-farmer,24338/

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  8. It is to my mind an empty clarion to be a great world-builder with no player-characters remarkable enough to mar the confection.

    Even is his fictions, Farmer had a lot of dynamic tension.

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  9. That was meant to be in, but maybe it's a productive "Freudian slip."

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  10. Could Pazio have captured the magic Lin Carter did with the Ballentine Adult Fantasy series in the 70s?

    I'm sure they hope to do just as well. Even if they don't, this is still an invaluable series of books and it certainly makes my attempts to familiarize myself with the less-traveled parts of D&D's literary influences that much easier.

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  11. Don't get me wrong, it's great to have some (all, really, even if I personally don't appreciate it) of this in back in print, but there are some clunkers in the mix... you be the judge.

    The quality of the material varies, it's true, but I guess I'm so in love with the stuff that I can't say that any of them qualify as "clunkers," even if some stand out as far superior to the others.

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