I’m a latecomer to the works of Ursula K Le Guin, finally getting around to the Earthsea books.
It’s been interesting to read “classic high fantasy,” written before the Dungeons & Dragons tipping point into genre: where the antecedents are folk tales not Tolkien; where the magic is ambiguous not formularised and disposable; and most of all where the prose is formal, poetic and epic.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Tolkien, and realistically it is the benchmark, but it cast a long elf/dwarf/dragon shadow over fantasy writing. Some of those cliches are easing off, but the return-of-the-ancient-bad-guy-in-the-east remains!
Funny how at a time when reading and publishing are meant to be waning, that there seem to be more books and authors. I have no theory for why franchise style series have taken off, whether the change is driven by risk averse publishing or readers seeking familiarity. It has certainly been entertaining to see the proliferation of vampire romance novels in the wake of the Twilight series, and now the sub-genre of bondage books inspired by the Fifty Shades series! Black covers and shiny details replacing the bodice ripping hunks of last century…
Even stranger how is how much “Robert Ludlum” titled work is being published despite him being dead. Surely you read a work because you like the author’s style, not because it’s a brand on the cover, but that probably seems a little quaint as a concept!
(One for the subscribers!)