Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Fantasy Magazine's Gateway Books

Over at Fantasy Magazine they're conducting a survey.

They've a list of books people suggested as possible gateway books, titles that might be good ones to introduce people to the genre. Somebody was nice enough to make sure Acacia: The War with the Mein got on the list. That's nice. I've no thoughts that I'll make it to the next round - of twenty. There are just too many beloved books to choose from, many of them great choices, I think. But it's nice to be on the longlist!

If you want to take a look and vote click Over To Here. Have a say!

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Anonymous Steven Till said...

Congrats on making the list. Did you vote?

For me, it's tough to narrow it down to three choices. I think my selections would vary based on the reader I was recommending them to. If, for example, I was recommending fantasy for a middle-school aged student, I would likely suggest Lloyd Alexander's The Prydain Chronicles. I grew up reading those and loved them. It was definitely one of the series that got me hooked on fantasy.

If I was suggesting fantasy to an adult, I think my selections would vary based on that particular person's interests. Where I might suggest George R.R. Martin to one person, another person might simply find his material too complex as a beginning read (and too graphic). Where one person may enjoy all the complexity, another person may think it's too much, and it would turn them off from fantasy all together.

Even Lord of the Rings -- and I think every fantasy fan should read it as a foundation of the genre -- even as great as it is, I can see how novice readers could become bogged down in all the Elvish history and put it down out of boredom. My wife was one of those people. She just couldn't get through all the back story.

What do you think?

10:59 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...


No, I didn't vote. I'm not sure if I'll get a chance as I'm heading off to Worldcon tomorrow and packing and stuff right now. When I thought about voting I went through exactly the same process you just outlined. It's complex and very much based on what individual you're recommending to. My wife, for example, isn't much of a fantasy reader either. She reads it to the kids all the time, but it's basically never on her personal list. As much as I like, say, GRRM, Dan Simmons, Neal Stephenson, I wouldn't recommend them to her. She just wouldn't get into them. On the other hand, I might convince her to read Stardust (though she's seen the film) or some Ursula K LeGuin... but I'm not sure she'd bite.

Fortunately, she seems to have no problem reading Acacia related stuff. So... Gateway, perhaps? Or just personal connection?...

11:35 AM  
Anonymous Steven Till said...

Gateway, definitely. At least you can get her to read Acacia and she enjoys it. That's all that really matters isn't it? Does she enjoy reading historical fiction (e.g., The Pride of Carthage)?

Have fun at Worldcon!

6:52 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Yes, she loves historical fiction! She likes all my work - and makes me work to make her like it. She is my first reader after all.

Pride of Carthage was good for her, but I think she'd say her favorite novels of mine are my first two, Gabriel's Story or Walk Through Darkness.

10:55 PM  

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