A Changing of the Guard, Part I
By Aidan Moher (2007-07-22)
In my very first post on my Web log A Dribble of Ink, I mentioned the fact that one of the main purposes of my blog was to be a platform for exposing readers to some new fantasy authors that they may not have heard of yet. There's actually a pretty good reason why I'm doing this and why I decided to choose to start A Dribble of Ink now as opposed to later.
You see, there are a lot of neat things going on right now within the fantasy field. In fact, it seems as though the stars have aligned for upcoming fantasy authors and fans alike. It seems like we've seen a bigger deluge of new, exciting authors entering the field than we ever have before. What's incredible is that these new authors have quickly overtaken a lot of the mainstays in regards to online message board discussion. Visiting a popular online web site such as SFFWorld you'll find authors such as Scott Lynch, Patrick Rothfuss and Joe Abercrombie being mentioned and talked about as much as, if not more, than authors such as Terry Brooks, Robert Jordan and Raymond E. Feist.
This is important for the industry. As much as it pains me to say it, a lot of the pioneers that made fantasy what it is today are getting old. Their writing is slowing down and... well, they're dying. So, as time rolls ever on and on, new folks are going to have to come and fill the shoes left by J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula K. LeGuin, Mervyn Peake, Terry Brooks, etc.... It's great to see that this is finally happening.
Writers like Joe Abercrombie, Patrick Rothfuss, Hal Duncan are willing to take up that mantle and move the fantasy genre in new and exciting directions while still staying true to their roots.
To that effect, I wanted to introduce you to some of these authors who are becoming the new faces of fantasy and give you a little direction if you're interested in checking them out!
Scott Lynch (interviewed here at SFFWorld)
In 2006, seemingly the year for fantasy debuts, Scotty Lynch was the king of the hill. His debut, The Lies of Locke Lamora was hailed by many to be the fantasy debut of the year, if not even the Fantasy book of the year. The Lies of Locke Lamora is a tale revolving around the young, charming and charismatic thief by the name of Locke Lamora. Alongside the main series, which is slated to be several standalone stories with on over-arcing storyline subtly weaved in, Lynch is also slated to write a handful of short stories filling in some of the adventures from Locke's past. Early reviews of this year's Red Seas Under Red Skies have been favourable and if Lynch is able to continue to write books of the same quality as The Lies of Locke Lamora, we're sure to see a long, healthy career for Mr. Lynch.
Patrick Rothfuss (interviewed here at SFFWorld)
Pat, it seems, is this years new "it" boy. His novel, The Name of the Wind is getting a lot of praise similar to that of Scott Lynch's debut. The Name of the Wind is the story of young Kvothe, and orhpan and musician, and follows his rise to become the world's greatest sorcerer, assassin and a slayer of kings. Sounds a little cliche, right? Well, the amazing thing that Rothfuss does is take these typical stereotypical fantasy tropes and manages to make them feel fresh, exiciting and new again. Rothfuss has already written the concluding two novels to his trilogy, so it's safe to assume that they will be at least as strong as The Name of the Wind, if not even stronger!
You can check out my review of The Name of the Wind here and make sure to check back later this week for my two part interview with Mr. Rothfuss, I promise it's an interview you don't want to miss!
Joe Abercrombie (Interviewed here at SFFWorld)
Joe Abercrombie first emerged in 2006, the same year as Scott Lynch, and was, in the minds of many, the main challenger to Lynch's title as "Debut Author of the Year". His first novel, The Blade Itself was received very strongly by fantasy readers and set a place in the genre for itself by mixing charismatic anti-heroes, dark humour and heroism in a way that caught the attentions and minds of many. Its sequel, Before They Are Hanged was recently published to similar acclaim that has left early adopters of Abercrombie's books waiting eagerly for the concluding book of the trilogy, Last Argument of Kings.
David Anthony Durham
David is another of 2007's buzz authors. His fantasy debut, Acacia: The War with the Mein, is getting a lot of buzz and is already being mentioned in the same breath as some authors such as George R.R. Martin and Steven Erikson. This is a lot for an author to live up to, but what Durham has going for him is the fact that he already has a couple of acclaimed Historical Fiction novels under his belt.
You can find my interview with Mr. Durham HERE and be sure to keep on the look out for my official review as soon as it's ready!
Brian's success and buzz has been much quieter than the others on this list, but he deserves to be here nonetheless. Thus far he's published only one novel, Winterbirth, but he has already established himself as someone to be mentioned alongside other debut fantasy novelists as Patrick Rothfuss and Scott Lynch. The novel he's written is said to appeal to fans of other authors such as George R.R. Martin, the late David Gemmell and J.V. Jones. Winterbirth is the first book in The Godless World trilogy, so we can expect more goodness from Mr. Ruckley!
Naomi Novik (Interviewed here at SFFWorld)
Novik originally burst onto the scene with the first three novels in her Temeraire novels. The most significant thing about Novik's success was the fact that Peter Jackson, of The Lord of the Rings fame, was a huge fan of her novels and reportedly optioned the series in a bigtime movie deal. She also garnered a lot of praise from industry heavyweight, Stephen King. With backers like that it seems like Naomi Novik is here to stay! The fourth book of the Temeraire series, Empire of Ivory, will be released this fall.
The Temeraire series is currently made up of His Majesty's Dragon, Throne of Jade and Black Powder War.
Now, we can only hope that these authors can continue to write with the same high quality that they've put into their debuts! Some of them (Novik, Durham) have already proven that they have what it takes to write multiple novels of high quality, but it is one thing being able to spend several years putting together your debut novel and refining it to perfection, and quite another to have a deadline set upon you by a publishing company and having to writer under that! In any case, it's safe to say that these authors, and many others, are going to make the fantasy field exciting for many years to come.
Of course, this is just a small sampling of some of the new and great authors who have just entered the field, I haven't even had the chance to mention authors such as Alan Campbell, R. Scott Bakker or Hal Duncan or many of the others! Just remember that sometimes it's really good just to take a chance on some of the new authors out there. Even Jordan, Goodkind and Martin started off as a new author somewhere back when the dinosaurs still roamed the earth!
These articles are also posted simultaneously at Aidan's blog, A Dribble of Ink
© 2007 Aidan Moher