Wednesday, November 9, 2011

One Cheer for Misfits

My predilections for reading in fantasy tend toward the "antiquarian." Give me some battered old Ballantine Adult Fantasy paperbacks and perhaps a few other volumes here and there, and I’ll be happy. It isn’t that I haven’t read more recent work. I just find that much of it lacks the substance, the freshness, the vigor, and the strangeness of works like The Worm Ouroboros or The Time Machine or A Voyage to Arcturus or "The Tower of the Elephant." So much of it consists of trite and over-clever recombinations of things that have been done to death, the precise opposite of what fantasy should be.

Many of the writers I revere would never get published today. Publishing is simply too monolithic, too uniform; there is no room for drolleries or grotesques. Then again, even in their own time, writers like E. R. Eddison had to go through small publishers, and sold perhaps a few thousand copies at most. So perhaps the advent of indie publishing and contemporary small presses and online magazines and the leveling of the playing field through outlets like are the contemporary answer to the eccentric and the grotesque.

Let the reader decide if he wants to read my stories. That’s what I say.

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