I have to admit: it’s been thirty years since I read Martin’s Wild Card novels. I haven’t jumped on A Song of Ice And Fire even though I adore the intrigue of the HBO series. The characters are transparent, yet completely human and therefore unpredictable in their actions.
You see, I have a long and checkered history with the fantasy novel.. Gene Wolfe’s multi-volume Book of The New Sun- a collection of works whose characters introduced me to a certain lucidity of style and complexity of meaning- have been with me for about 30 years. Before that, there was Jack Vance, with his wizards at the end of the world. Wolfe’s Books of The New Sun were inspired by Vance. In turn, George R.R. Martin was a contributor to Songs of a Dying Earth, a collection of stories written as tribute to Jack Vance. And I cannot help but know, in my heart, that Martin must have learned a thing or two about the ability of a character to salt his narrative with lies and misperceptions from the Great Gene Wolfe.
Martin is a fine writer within a great tradition of literature which transcends preconceived notions of Fantasy and Speculative Fiction. And now you know. And now you can explore Martin’s great and venerable roots. I know some people are calling him the Tolkien of the 21st century. That’s just one more root. There are worlds, and there are worlds…
For Your Consideration:
This contains the two main books of the Books of The New Sun; Shadow of the Torturer and Claw of the Conciliator. Read the reviews on Google Books. Never less than 4 stars Most are 5 stars.
This collection contains all four of the Dying Earth books:The Dying Earth, The Eyes of the Overworld, Cugel’s Saga, and Rialto the Magnificent. Most reviews 5 stars.