After the King edited by Martin H. Greenberg
No figure looms larger in fantasy than J. R. R. Tolkien. One hundred and twenty-one (or eleventy-eleven) years after his birth and fifty-nine years after the publication of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings still functions as the baseline for the entire genre of high fantasy. (There’s a very valid argument to be made that we need to move forward from that baseline, but that’s another post for another time.) But a lot of Tolkien-inspired fantasy only mimics the most obvious trappings of the good Professor’s legendarium. That’s not necessarily a judgment on the quality of those works—Blizzard Entertainment used those trappings as a stepping stone to create their own interesting, engaging world for the Warcraft franchise, and Eragon… well, Eragon exists. It can go either way. Continue reading
Remember last summer, when NPR hosted that poll about the best science fiction and fantasy novels? Well, this summer NPR had another poll—this one aimed at generating the best ever teen novels, according to NPR listeners. While I rushed to last summer’s, if only to fulfill my obligations as a Tolkien fanatic and devotee of Jacqueline Carey, I didn’t to this one. Why? Because of the rather thin criteria. Whereas last summer’s poll focused on two genres that, at the very least, can be defined in broad strokes, this poll focuses on an audience instead—an audience we’ve only recently invented, and have only recently started catering to.
I have some pretty bad gaps in my education. For instance, I have never seen The Wizard of Oz or Casablanca. I like to think that my gaps don’t apply to books, since I read so much, but they do. Today, we’re looking at two children’s fantasy classics (that made for classic eighties) films that I should really feel worse about not having read as a kid.