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Great Science-Fiction & Fantasy Works

  Science-fiction & fantasy literature: a critical list with discussions.

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A. A. Attanasio

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Standard Disclaimer:

This is a brief discussion of A. A. Attanasio and, of course, of some speculative-fiction books by Attanasio.

This discussion and list does not necessarily include every book by Attanasio: it includes only those books that I both know and like. Just as with the author list itself, omission of a particular item may mean I didn’t think highly enough of the omitted item, or it may simply mean that I have not yet sufficient familiarity with it. (In a very few cases, I have listed some books merely on the strength of my opinion of the author: all such books are clearly marked below, as throughout these lists, with a hash mark (#) before the title so you know what’s what.)

I don’t pretend that this discussion is a deep analysis. My intent is no more than to give you a rough idea of what kinds of tales Attanasio tells, how those tales are usually told, and what makes them and Attanasio worthy; in sum, to help you rank A. A. Attanasio (and the works by Attanasio listed here) on your personal literary “to do” list.

A Few Words About A. A. Attanasio

Regrettably, I have not yet had an opportunity to write an essay on this author, but the “Other Resources” section below will lead you to some information about the “Notable Books” listed farther down this page.

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Other A. A. Attanasio Resources

A. A. Attanasio Resources on the Web

First off, there is A. A. Attanasio - the official website (Attanasio also has a separate blog, Snakewalk, but it has not been updated in over a decade.) There is also an Attanasio page at the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. And there is also the “Rabbit Hole”, an online ’zine to which Attanasio is a major contributor. That seems to be it for significant pages.

There are, of course, various one-off individual-book reviews. As I began sorting through those, I was at first simply disappointed by by them; but after a while, the whole thing became remarkable. To put this in perspective, so it doesn’t seem as if Attanasio is just a wildly idiosyncratic taste of mine, works by Attanasio have been nominated in the category “Best Novel” of the year for the Nebula (Radix, 1982), the World Fantasy Award (Hunting the Ghost Dancer, 1992), and the British Fantasy Award (Arthor, 1995); yet a great number of reviews available on line express not merely dislike but almost rabid revulsion for the works they purport to review. Obviously, there is a major dichotomy between what, for want of better terms, we might call serious and amateur reviewers of Attanasio’s works. (That dichotomy springs, I reckon, from the complexity and depth of Attanasio’s works: neither the successful ones nor the less-successful ones are quick, easy “sci-fi reads”.)

The few reviews that seemed to have at least some critical utility—which does not mean that I agree fully with any or all of them—included those of Kingdom of the Grail at eNotes; of The Dragon and the Unicorn, Arthor, and The Perilous Order (the first three of the four-book “Arthor” series) by Simon McLeish at Simon’s Page [links are to archived copies]; of The Dark Shore and The Shadow Eater (Books 1 and 2 of the “Dominions of Irth” trilogy, not yet read here, written as by “Adam Lee”) by Robert Francis at The SF Site [links are to archived copies]; and of The Last Legends of Earth by Eric Raymond at Raymond’s Reviews.

Though normally I hate like poison to say it, here you may have to fall back on reader reviews at one or another Amazon division if you want to get a sample of opinions on Attanasio’s works (they seem generally quite positive, unlike most of the one-off amateur reviews elsewhere). Beyond those things, Google Is Your Friend.

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A. A. Attanasio Resources in Print

I could find none.

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Notable Science-Fiction and Fantasy Books by A. A. Attanasio **

(For more possible titles by this author, see the “Unrated Books by Rated Authors” page.)

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