“If the bulk of American sf could be said to be written by robots, about robots, for robots, then the bulk of English fantasy seems to be written by rabbits, about rabbits and for rabbits. “
I’ve made the e-quaintance of a very interesting writer/reader named Jason Fisher. He’s one of the first people I’ve met who has read as much or more Lloyd Alexander as I have.
So I asked him to consider my post about Alexander using the same plot and characters over and over. Here’s his response:
And just a reminder before hate mail rolls in. I love Lloyd Alexander and put both the Prydain series and Prince Jen in my top tier of great books.
There’s apparently an official governement list of books for boys in the UK. (It came out last May, but I missed it.)
I haven’t read most of them, but I have to point out that the list contains two of the most over-rated books of all time:
Huck Finn and Robinson Crusoe
Ugh. Why not throw Pilgrim’s Progress on there while you’re at it?
(I just read Horowitz’s bit about not forcing classics on kids. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/education/article2796199.ece
I agree with that regarding good classics and doubly agree regarding stinky classics, like Huck Finn. (Actually, I think I like it even LESS now than I did when I was a kid.))
Luckily, there are 165 other books that boys can read first.
Since this is a UK list it is an OUTRAGE that Helen Cresswell and John Christopher are not on it. WHAT THE HECK PEOPLE??? In what world is the Tripods series not the ultimate boy book fest?
A few of the books I would add to the list:
Any Pinkwater novel, esp. Alan M.
Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain series and Prince Jen
The Westing Game
The Great Brain series
The Furious Flycycle
The Bagthorpe Series
Night of the Birds
The Lotus Caves
The White Mountains (Tripod series)
The Cyberiad, by Lem
and, of course,
The Qwikpick Adventure Society
I have to gloat a bit because I made this prediction back before Book 7 came out. I just didn’t know she would knock it out so fast.
Tolkien and Lucas (and Lloyd Alexander) had been unable to relinquish their imaginary worlds and had written prequels. As I predicted JK Rowling has now done the same with Tales of Beedle the Bard. (Very Dickensian name there. Dickens loved to pick on Beedles.)
From the sounds of it, this book is similar to the Simillrarllillionnion and Alexander’s “Foundling and Other Tales.” It’s not what Harry did just before book one. It’s more about adding to the mythology of Potter-world by telling a few fairy tales.
I’m certainly not complaining. If there was a market for it, I would certainly tell pre-Qwikpick stories about the days when Larry was calling it the Middle Earth Minimart & Subs.
I’ve been putting off this post, but after finishing Carlo Chuchio I’ve just got to let this out. So here goes:
First of all, as you know, I am a huge fan of Lloyd Alexander and include Prydain and Prince Jen amongst my all-time Great Books of any genre or age range.
He’s a great writer and I’ll fight anybody who says he aint…
I’m planning a big post about the “Lloyd Alexander Story” and to some degree this one barges in on that one. However, this one might actually be more interesting to more people….
Warning limited SPOILERS for Flushed Away and the Lloyd Alexander Story Archetype, as found in Iron Ring, Prince Jen, The Arkadians and The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio and to some extent the Taran / Prydain series…
We watched Flushed Away, the Dreamworks-Aardman movie about rats, last night.
Good movie with a good story. A very familiar story. In fact, it’s a story I’ve read many times in various Lloyd Alexander books.
Here’s the recipe:
Noble-hearted young man (or rat) on a quest
Meets hotheaded, sharp-tongued extremely capable, streetsmart girl (or rat)
And funny sidekick / problem creator
and wise sage. (note: Flushed Away seemed to be missing this ingredient.)
And runs into Bandit King/Usurper.
Using a unique mode of transportation (sewer boat)
They continue quest … however, the quest begins to seem less and less important. Misguided, in fact.
Young man gives up on quest, but does manage to overthrow Bandit King/Usurper.
It’s the realization that the quest was wrong-headed that often adds so much depth to an Alexander Story. In this regard, the end of Flushed Away seems particularly close to the end of Alexander’s last book, Carlo Chuchio. But I won’t directly spoil either of them here.
Whether the Alexanderarianess of Flushed Away was intentional or not, I’m sure we can all agree that it’s a better Lloyd Alexander movie than Disney’s The Black Cauldron.