Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Imitation - the Hallmark of a Great Book?

As much as I rail against the swarm of Tolkien imitators that has been attempting to devour the fantasy genre like so many locusts in the years since Lord of the Rings hit the shelves, I find that when I'm reading a book that really speaks to me, my first impulse is to formulate something similar.

One of the first times I can remember consciously doing this was after I read the first four Dark Tower books and was waiting for the series to be completed. Van Owen, my horribly disfigured gunfighter in black, was born of Roland's quest and my impatience in waiting for it to be completed.

Next up was Trickter's Eve, the story of Loki and Coyote roaming the world looking for Pan. It was a stew of ideas scraped from various Neil Gaimain books. If Gaimain could write about gods in the modern world, why couldn't I?

After devouring Philip Jose Farmer's World of Tiers and assorted Roger Zelazny works, I immediately started work on The Warp Weaver's Legacy, the story of a world-hopping trickster and the hapless Earthling that gets entangled with him.

So what's that all have to do with current events? Since I started reading Hyperion over the weekend, I've been dying to use the same structure; seven people telling their stories while traveling toward a common destination, one of whom is a liar and a traitor. I keep thinking about the Dyson Sphere world I developed for Warp Weaver and throwing Van Owen into it. Among other projects.

One of these days, the thinking has to slow down and the writing has to resume.

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