Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Silmarilion (Top Fantasy Novels of the 1970s)

Working down the list of the best fantasy novels of the 1970s, I begin, or rather don't begin, with the Silmarilion.

So, how exactly does that work?

Despite being published in the 1970's, the Silmarilion was not written in the 70's. It is the product of another time that happened to be published at a later date. So in terms of getting me in touch with that 70's vibe, reading the Silmarilion would be rather a failure. True Tolkienism isn't like anything else, even among its derivatives. It's sort of a well-loved literary dead-end. It worked out well for him. Those who followed, imitating aspects of this writing style or subject matter, veered off into their own direction called Tolkienesque, (Unless it's called something different now, because I'm slow that way.) That veering is quite acceptable for my reading list as those books were written in the 70s.

A somewhat confessional reason that I am skipping this book is that I just can't bring myself to read the Silmarilion again.

Literarily, I do not think that Tolkien is a good match for my own prose style, so I do not want to be influenced by him. More than any other work, the Silmarilion does not represent a novel in any modern sense. It is an amalgam of world building that occurred over a series of years. To imitate its habits would be to imitate the wrong things. Better, I think, to nod respectfully at this book and move on.

Next on the list is Ursula LeGuin with her Earthsea novels.