Friday, November 23, 2007

Just thought I'd share this

I just started on The Year's Best Fantasy Stories edited by Lin Carter, which was published in 1975 (but covers the year 1974). He writes a bit of what have happened on the fantasy front during 1974, and as part of this, he writes this paragraph.

A modest number of new fantasy novels came out during the year, mostly from familiar authors of reliable abilities, such as Michael Moorcock, Poul Anderson and Andre Norton. But for most readers, and the great big wide and wonderful world of Real Books out there beyond the limited confines of our small genre, 1974 was the year of an explosive blockbuster of a book called Watership Down by a hitherto unknown writer with the uninspired name of Richard Adams. This odd item is being billed by the biggies of Criticdom as the Iliad and the Odyssey of the rabbits - you heard me, rabbits: it's about rabbits; yes I said rabbits. Anyway, it's the first time I can remember when a fantasy novel got to the top of the New York Times' bestseller list (something neither Tolkien nor C. S. Lewis ever did, although I'm not sure T. H. White didn't), and it shows every sign of turning into a Big Book on Campus and a cult classic just like Tolkien.

While he overestimated the future impact of the book somewhat (though it is still around, and read), I love his description of the book ("you heard me, rabbits", "yes I said rabbits").

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's an unfortunate tendency of the fantasy and science fiction genres. The reviewers always over-sell them as "the next great novel" or "the Tolkien/Asimov of our time".

November 26, 2007 3:03 PM  

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