The Bears and I have been going through a period when everything seems to have been crumbling around us. Or rather, this morning, within us, as just to add insult to injury I seem to have chipped a back tooth. I’m sure you all know what I mean because most of us go through patches like this at some time or another. Anyway, I am feeling very ashamed because I have let it disrupt my routine and I have been neither writing here nor visiting you all to leave comments on your posts. I’m also feeling very stupid because I know that when things start to go awry there is actually nothing better than a good routine for keeping me steady and nothing more important than writing for sorting my head out. So, this week, even though life is nothing like returned to an even keel, I am going to try and settle myself back in front of the computer for at least part of the day.
Where books are concerned I have got no further than re-reading the Garth Nix trilogy, Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorson in preparation for the forthcoming Clariel, which is due out in October. I loved this series when it was first published and introduced it to many children and students of varying ages. For me, at least, Nix has done nothing to touch it in the intervening years and so I hope this prelude to the earlier trilogy will see him back on form. I am a little wary in as much as it is set six hundred years prior to Sabriel and I always thought that one of that book’s strengths was that it read as if it was set now, just in a world rather different to our own. Nevertheless, Clariel is high up on my list of must reads for the autumn, when the nights begin to draw in and reading around a fire is a cheery way of spending an evening.
I think it’s interesting just how many fantasy writers have difficulty breaking away from the fictional world that has made their name and with which their readers have probably identified very strongly. Robin Hobb, for example, tried to create a new setting in her Soldier Son trilogy but soon came back to the world of Fitz and the Fool that established her (in that persona at least) in the minds of the reading public. I love her work but I managed to read only as far as half way through the second book in that trilogy before giving up on it.
Trudi Canavan had what I thought was a very interesting second stab at world building in Priestess of the White but the series eventually petered out before she too went back to her original creation, the world of The Magician’s Guild with which she made her name.
I know that some authors do manage to establish a second or even a third fantasy world, but even when that is the case you almost invariably find that readers identify with one in particular to the exclusion of the others. How would J K Rowling’s fans take it, I wonder, if instead of changing genres she had tried her hand at a different form of fantasy? I think I might have cried, “Treason!” and had her incarcerated in Azkaban forthwith.