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Great Science-Fiction & Fantasy Works

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

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Richard Adams

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Standard Disclaimer:

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

This discussion and list does not necessarily include every book by Adams: 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 Adams tells, how those tales are usually told, and what makes them and Adams worthy; in sum, to help you rank Richard Adams (and the works by Adams listed here) on your personal literary “to do” list.

A Few Words About Richard Adams

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 Richard Adams Resources

Richard Adams Resources on the Web

It is a great shame that Watership Down is so accessible to children, albeit on an altogether different level than a civilized adult will access it; it is a shame because the consequence is that what there is on the net about Adams and his several works is almost entirely a flood of icky, jejune Wabbit sites; merely skimming a few is enough to give one tooth decay. (It’s ironic that, at least by report, one of Adams’s motivations in writing the book was that he was “irritated by sentimental rabbit tales”; the gods look down and laugh.)

About all there is of perceptive substance—but it is quite perceptive and useful—about Adams’s general career is “Richard Adams at 80” [archived copy], a lengthy retrospective article by Joan Bridgman. There is at least one civilized review of Watership Down, that by Neil Walsh at the SF Site, and a decent appreciation from the Telegraph.

There is little else of value about Adams in general, or the Wabbit book in particular, but there are some useful resources for some of his other works. About Adams’s own preferred work, Shardik, the ever-interesting Jeff VanderMeer offered some comments at his blog; the reader responses are also noteworthy. Other Shardik reviews include those by: Alex Clark in The Guardian; Paul Zweig in The New York Times; “confusedkangaroo” at Deviant Art; and Alison Lurie at The New York Review. Of amateur work, a good specimen is the Shardik essay at The Recovering Hopper blog.

There was also a rather uncomplimentary review [archived copy] of Shardik by John Skow at Time (they just don’t like Adams—Paul Gray on The Plague Dogs [archived copy] was equally unkind to Adams.)

There’s a more than decent review of Maia at zymph’s “booktalk” pages; it seems the only meaningful piece around.

The Girl in a Swing is decently served by Bill Sheehan’s “Curiosities” review at Fantasy and Science Fiction’s pages. There’s also a useful thread about the book, with several helpful posts, at the Palimpsest forum [archived copy]. And the Blue-Hearted Bookworm blog has a useful entry.

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Richard Adams Resources in Print

There is his autobiography, The Day Gone By. I could find no others.

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Notable Science-Fiction and Fantasy Books by Richard Adams ***

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

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