The redemption of fantasy


Okay, so fantasy hasn’t technically died. As far as I know, it is still alive and kicking and I’ve actually heard somewhere that there are more people writing fantasy than ever before. I can’t remember where I heard that little snippet but I recall hearing it. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that great books like Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia have been made into movies. Or perhaps it has something to do with that teenage wizard, Harry Potter.

The beginning of the love

I think my love of fantasy had the same start as many, many other people. Mine started with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (bet you thought that I would say The Lord of the Rings). I think I first picked it up when I was in the second grade and finished it and slowly worked my way through the whole series (my favourite in the entire series was Prince Caspian and it always felt as though all of the other books picked up and picked up until Caspian and after that they all slowly tapered off). But being in a country which was subject to sanctions and on the other side of the world from where all of the interesting fantasy books were being brought out, it was difficult to find any similar books. Of course, the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit existed but I hadn’t heard of them by that time. But come the sixth grade and one of our comprehension tests in English made use of a small section from The Hobbit, where Bilbo was rushing to try and escape after having found the one ring. I remember reading the last sentence where he barely escapes and the buttons of his vest are ripped off by the closing door and wishing I could walk away from the test and find the rest of the book. Funny thing was that my Gran had had a copy of The Hobbit all along and when I told her about the section I read she disappeared and came back with The Hobbit. Which I then devoured and had to wait for my Great-Gran to give me The Lord of the Rings as a birthday present the next year. That copy of Lord of the Rings must have been the most ‘abused’ book I have ever owned. I have read that copy twelve times personally and lent it out to all of my friends who also wanted to read it. I think in total, that copy was read more than twenty times. I think I now have three copies of Lord of the Rings on my bookshelf and will not part with any of them. And it seemed as though after the Lord of the Rings, I discovered a whole treasure trove of fantasy. Although my favourite was Dragonlance. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that apartheid was over and the sanctions had been dropped but there seemed to be more fantasy than ever. I just couldn’t get enough.

The fall of fantasy (at least in my eyes)

And then came The Wheel of Time. The first three books were fantastic and I couldn’t put them down. And then it seems as though the publishing house realised that they had found a money maker and the Wheel of Time started to drag and frustrate and torture. I finished the first three books in less than a month (all of them combined) but for the fourth book it took me a year and a half. For me and my reading style, that is an eternity. It felt as though it became a bottomless pit which sucked all of the enjoyment out of reading and made it more of a chore than for enjoyment. I couldn’t take it and kept shifting between different books to try and keep myself entertained. But I forced myself through book four and book five and by the time I reached the end of each book I enjoyed the end so much I wanted to see what happened in the next book. But the first seven hundred pages are always a drag. I have realised that I can’t take it anymore. Call me a quitter but I have put down Book Six, The Lord of Chaos and that is where the Wheel of Time ends for me. I’ll read the synopses on Wikipedia for the rest. It feels as though it has become the Days of our Lives of the Fantasy world and I cannot take it. Unfortunately Robert Jordan was unable to get to the end of the series before he lost his battle with amyliodiosis (the spelling of which is probably horribly wrong) and for that it is a shame. It would have been nice for him to have been able to finish the series which he started. I found that I detested more characters than I enjoyed and that is a shame. I have officially put down The Wheel of Time and will not spend my hard earned money on another one of its books (may it rest in peace).

The redemption of fantasy

And then along came Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of The Wind. Admittedly, I haven’t finished it yet, but so far I have enjoyed it a hell of a lot more than the last two and a half books of Wheel of Time that I’ve read. And I ‘discovered’ Raymond E Feist’s Riftwar saga and Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth. And I have Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy waiting for me once I have finished The Name of the Wind. I actually can’t wait for him to finish up the revisions to the sequel and send the next one through to be published. Really can’t wait.

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Rugby player movements and my other interests


Monty Dumond
Monty Dumond

Rugby

Well, the end of the domestic season has arrived and there is only the final international games left before the southern hemisphere rugby season closes and the time has started for player movements between unions and to clubs overseas.  I suppose the important ones are the transfers which affect my team, The Sharks.  Skipper Badenhorst and Monty Dumond are both making the move to the Free State Cheetahs.  Dumond will be making the move temporarily and will only be used during the Super 14 before he comes back to the Sharks for the Currie Cup.

Skipper Badenhorst
Skipper Badenhorst

To be honest, Skipper Badenhorst in my opinion is welcome to move along.  He has been a servant for the Sharks but is a true journeyman having played at so many other unions before coming to the Sharks and to be honest he is our third choice hooker behind Springbok incumbent Bismark Du Plessis and converted wing, Craig Burden.  He will be better used by the Cheetahs as their second choice hooker.  Good luck to him.

The Springboks, or should I say South Africa, played a game against the Leicester Tigers and it was very embarrassing.  Admittedly, these guys were our second string team with our first choice resting after a very long and successful season and hadn’t played together at all before the game.  But to be so destroyed is humiliating for the players.  Chilliboy Ralapelle was the captain for the evening and only played twenty minutes before being subbed out.  It’s a pity because I rate Chilliboy and he really isn’t getting enough game time.

I heard during the week he was linked to a move from the Bulls to the Lions where he would be both first choice and captain and I actually hoped that it was true because it would finally allow him to get the game time and experience needed.  But both sides have denied that he will be moving, which is a real pity.  But I can hope it’s all smoke and mirrors, like the Heinrich Brussouw incident – he isn’t coming to the Sharks by the way.

Books and writing

As always I have been doing quite a bit of reading and the book that I have finished last was Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol.   I did enjoy it for a while but when I reached the final hundred pages my interest waned and I really had to push myself to get through it.  My favorite book of his was Angels and Demons and it seems as though he has followed the same formula in the books he has written since (Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol).

Robert Jordan’s The Gathering Storm has been released lately.  One of the books I’m reading at the moment is Robert Jordan’s Lord of Chaos.  It’s the sixth book in his Wheel of Time series and it’s become a drag, a chore, to get through it.  I loved the first book in the series, The Eye of the World, but it feels as though the publishing house wanted more and more and he had to drag it out more and more for revenue purposes.  I really wondering if I should even try to get to the end of the series.  Robert Jordan has passed on, unfortunately, before he could finish his work but had stated that book 12 would be the last book in the series and would be called A Memory of Light.  Brandon Sanderson was tipped to complete it and I’m sure he did his best to ensure it was up to the same standard as the rest of the standard.  But the problem is that the final book has been stretched to three books.  Is it something which Brandon Sanderson could have avoided?  I doubt it.  He has said that he tried to finish all of the story threads which had been left hanging at the end of the last book.  But I can’t help but wonder if maybe some of those threads weren’t meant to be tied off?  Just a thought.

Pecan Hill and Spoil the Child

Still no movement on Pecan Hill, but I have to honest and say that I haven’t sent through any more queries for it.  I’m trying to perfect my query before I send it on to other agents.

My work is still going on with Spoil the Child.  I reached a point where I was stuck as to where I wanted to go with the story but it was while I was driving home the other day and listening to the beginning of Stephen King’s Just After Sunset when he was reading from Arthur Mocken’s The Great God Pan (I’m not sure if I got the spelling right) that I had a flash of inspiration.  I know which direction I want to head, but now I just have to get there.