(urth) SRD on obscurity

pthwndxrclzp aquastor at gmail.com
Sat Jun 10 09:44:01 PDT 2006

I gather that what is giving you the most trouble with my statement is the
word "most," and I concede that I have not read every extant work of
fantasy; thus, such that a categorical statement is inappropriate.

It's probably time to drop it, but I really am surprised at the intersection
of Wolfe and Donaldson fandom. To my mind, it's like someone championing, I
dunno, Cezanne and Jeff Koons in the same breath. Not that it's
unacceptible, just seemingly unaccountable.

I tried to say this earlier and may not have managed to convey what I feel.
*I* had an extreme reaction to Donaldson's early work. I'm not even sure why
I found it so offensive, but I did, and the opinion, admittedly founded upon
a minimum of his work, really stuck with me. And yes, the way I presented my
opinion in here was definitely over the top, and in retrospect served no
purpose but to let me grind away on a very old axe and to annoy most of the
audience in here to no useful end. So I apologize to the group for letting
my passions get ahead of my good-citizenship. I will certainly aim at
greater circumspection in future when rendering off-charter literary

All *that* said, I do think there's a utility in conveying extreme literary
opinions, if only to present a more complete range of evaluation so that
people who haven't yet read a given author might make the best-informed
decision as to whether they should. Or should ahead of alternate, perhaps
more rewarding, writers.

Nevertheless, vitriol aside, there is a natural tendency to shoot for breezy
readibility rather than exhaustive, if more precise, prose. So I'm
definitely guilty of writing "the guy's work sucks" instead of something
like, "relative to the excellent examples of fantasy at what most readers
would consider the top of the genre, there are writers like, say, Stephen R.
Donaldson, certainly not the worst of the bunch, but whose work just leaves
me cold in such an extreme fashion that it's hard for me to refrain from
unfairly bashing it, though of course your exegetical mileage may well

Again, I'm still a bit stunned at the intersection of Wolfe/Donaldson fans.
For my money, Wolfe's stuff is erudite, layered, compelling, subtle, clever,
rich, masterful. Whereas I find what little I've read of Donaldson to be
nothing of the kind. But hey, I'm also sure I love some writers who'd
provoke nothing short of giggles from lots of people (and not in a good

S'probably not a great place to stick a plug, but if you haven't read Sean
McMullen's Moonworlds stuff you are missing out on some superbly
entertaining fantasy. And ironically, I suspect it will appeal to readers at
both the Donaldson and Wolfe ends of the spectrum. The Voyage of the
Shadowmoon is the single most enjoyable book I've read in the last 10 years,

Though your mileage may vary <grin>.


P.S. Why isn't just avoiding a writer's books "sufficient"? Well, I think
'cause sometimes you gotta let your passions fly. Makes for a more lively
discussion...at least some of the time. And we are a literary discussion
forum, after all. Or so it seems to me.

On 6/10/06, Daniel D Jones <ddjones at riddlemaster.org> wrote:
> On Friday 09 June 2006 18:50, pthwndxrclzp wrote:
> > Probably because he's the most egregiously untalented fantasy hack ever
> to
> > (unaccountably) get published?
> I fail to understand this.
> Certainly, I have no problem with you not liking Donaldson.  The world
> would
> be a boring place indeed if we all had the same tastes and opinions.  But
> this isn't a statement that his works don't appeal to you.  It's an ad
> hominem attack that is clearly not factually true.  (That is, however much
> you dislike Donaldson, I find it extremely hard to believe that you think
> he
> has less talent than, say, Gary Gygax.)
> There are lots of writers I don't care for.  I read all but the last two
> chapters of the first book of Brooks _Shanara_ series, laid it down and
> haven't read a single word by him since.  I can't stand reading Weis and
> Hickman.  Alan Dean Foster leaves me cold.  I never cared for Philip Jose
> Farmer, although I know others who swear he's a god in human form.  But I
> don't find it necessary to despise any of these people or their
> writings.  I
> express my opinion by not devoting my money and time to their efforts.  I
> don't understand why that isn't sufficient.
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