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Ellen Kushner

PostPosted: Tuesday, 23 September 2008, 11:54 pm
by DavidTate
Are you familiar with Ellen Kushner's work? I'm thinking specifically of the novel Swordspoint (which I suppose might be considered merely Ruritanian, as opposed to fantasy) and the novel Thomas the Rhymer, based on the traditional ballad.

Re: Ellen Kushner

PostPosted: Wednesday, 24 September 2008, 5:42 am
by owlcroft
I read Swordspoint donkey's ears ago. "Ruritanian" pins it quite neatly. In general, I don't deal here with pure[1] alternate history, the third class of speculative fiction (I just can't bring myself to include horror under the umbrella, Randy Money's admittedly eloquent pleadings notwithstanding), though I suppose I'm thus being hypocritical by allowing Islandia.

Swordspoint seemed to me then a decent enough book, but nothing like so overwhelming as to break a rule for it--a +1 at best, maybe a zero. Islandia, I must say, strikes me as a rather towering book, so I cheated a bit on categorical definition.[2]

(Well, one could also argue over some of Keith Roberts[3], but that's even farther off point.)

[1] "Pure" in the sense that the world presented is utterly mundane, just possessed of a different history, which may be ours gone off at an angle somewhere, or a wholly invented one.

[2] Though, as I make the case elsewhere, the social and moral systems evolved there are so strikingly different from our own as to arguably remove Islandia from the "utterly mundane" category.

[3] There is, as you doubtless know, also a counter-case to be made there, but even to discuss it is a major spoiler.