So Pratchet gets better, does he? I read the first discworld book and half of the second. It didn’t really take. I think I’m discovering that the meandering plot is only part of my concern.
The thing about so many authors is that they don’t just tell a story. They create a world with elaborate mythologies and histories. How many universes can a reader immerse himself in at the same time? Can I be in these worlds—at the edge of discworld, riding the plains of middle earth, moisture farming on Tattoine, in the mountain dwarves home of Thorbardin, on board the Heart of Gold, learning wizardry from Dumbledore, watching Ender save the last of the Buggers and the Pequinos—all at the same time without becoming mentally divergent?
When it comes to fantasy reading, I think readers pick and choose which worlds they will immerse themselves in. People choose, say, middle earth and read LOTR, its appendices, the Silmarillion, the forgetten lore, and everything else, specializing in that world. Having to learn whole new sets of mythologies is tiresome.
I think that’s why my reading of fantasy has waned while my reading of novels (a novel being a story that could actually happen)and non-fiction has increased. There are plenty of great stories to read that don’t require being immersed in another world but allow you to more fully understand your own.
I have a whole shelf of books that I am just aching to read from this genre: books like the Catcher in the Rye, Dubiners, Sherlock Holmes, Moby Dick, Bravo-Two-Zero (British SAS non-fiction), the Sound and the Fury, and a Farewell to Arms. I guess most of these sound like they are from some reading list for a Master of English course, but damn it, there is a reason that these books would be on that list. There is a reason they haven’t been forgotten in the last hundred years.
I’m not trying to be a literary snob here. I still read my Ender books. But I think that his is the only fantasy universe that I am going to continue to brave for the next few years. I have to be selective in the worlds I live in, so I can manage my time and my sanity.
P.S. This “Once and Future King” book sounds intriguing. I always like a good telling of the Arthur legend. Mallory’s Morte d’Arthur was really cool.