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Saltheart

Bitter Giant
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#1
I managed to get my hands on the first of the Earthsea books, and I am stunned by her marvelous prose: it's the most captivating, most magical prose I've read so far. It is the tone that epics should be written in, and it's so amazing the way it flows so smoothly.

Is there any author who writes as brilliantly as she does? Is there any other author that has a similar prose?

I would appreciate it if you guys could reccommend a few.
 

Thadlerian

Riftsound resident
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#2
Saltheart said:
I managed to get my hands on the first of the Earthsea books, and I am stunned by her marvelous prose: it's the most captivating, most magical prose I've read so far. It is the tone that epics should be written in, and it's so amazing the way it flows so smoothly.
Congratulations on that! That's your first Le Guin novel, right? There are loads of others, every bit as good as Wizard. I think it's the minimalist style that does it. Shows that you can do excellent stories without spending aeons on descriptions and forced dialogues.
Is there any author who writes as brilliantly as she does?
No. :D
Is there any other author that has a similar prose?
I know of only a few.

First there's Doris Lessing. Mostly known as a mainstream author, she has written at least five science fiction novels in the series Canopus in Argos - Archives, effectively depriving herself of any chance of ever winning the Nobel Prize. Her science fiction, though, is most excellent. It's quite unlike anything else you'll find in the genre, but for some reasons she reminds me of Le Guin. Something about deep understanding of human beings, of writing epic tales in poetic prose.

Then there's the Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren, known all over Scandinavia for her haunting children's literature. Most of it mainstream, but a handful of fantasy novels as well. Ronia the Robber's Daughter is her ultimate work, the very antithesis to a genre that usually means thousands of pages about nothing, about artificial people and their artificial choices and conflicts. A most real story; a father and daughter relationship, set in a fantasy environment. I don't know how well available her books are outside of Europe, but she's most definitely a name to look out for!

And then there's the Finnish writer Tove Jansson, and her Moomintroll series. You've probably heard about the Moomins; they're quite some commercial franchise, what's with the anime and the comic and all that stuff. But the original books, also primarily children's literature, are profoundly beautiful and original. Jansson's style is quite different from Le Guin, more whimsical, takes less for granted, but they converge when it comes to essence.

Those are the closest to Ursula Le Guin that I can think of. Remember the names: Doris Lessing, Astrid Lindgren and Tove Jansson.
 

The Wanderer

Zelazny's Worlds
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#5
Is there any author who writes as brilliantly as she does? Is there any other author that has a similar prose?
there aren't many, epscially combining it with abundant human feeling, which is so lacking in any kind of literature these days
 

Teresa Edgerton

Goblin Princess
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#7
In my opinion, LeGuin and Crowley are about as far apart as two very fine writers could possibly be.

If you are looking for the same kind of magical prose you found in the Earthsea books, Saltheart, I would say that Patricia McKillip's The Riddlemaster of Hed and its two sequels come as close as anything I've read.
 

lon gallamour

Active Member
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#8
yes i have to agree. Le Guin and McKillip have the same comprehension of magic too, a shapeshifter sort of view, you have to wonder did McKillip ever read Le Guin's work growing up?
 

Connavar

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#9
About Le Guin which book would be perfect for someone that havent read her yet?


I like alot when i see human feeling in books one of the biggest reasons i read books. People hail her for that and i wonder which book i should read to see what she is about?
 

Thadlerian

Riftsound resident
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#10
It depends on who's going to start reading her.

My first Le Guin was Orsinian Tales, an underdog Alternative History short story collection. It is blindingly beautiful, and should be a sure start-up for anyone not really into SF/F. For an impression of her human feeling, see if you can dig this one up.

For a SF fan, The Left Hand of Darkness is a great introduction.

For a Fantasy fan, A Wizard of Earthsea. Alternatively, Gifts. But Gifts is so great, it feels like the quintessence of everything she's written to date, you should really save that one for later. Even though it as well would have been a good starting point, especially human feeling considered.
 
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#11
Le Guin writes wonderfully well. I've loved her books since I first read the Wizard of Earthsea. I've since read everything else of hers that I could find. She has some wonderful short stories as well as novels Saltheart and you might want to give them a try as well.

I was going to say Patricia McKillip as well for someone similar in style. I can't really think of anyone else off hand. Maybe Alice Hoffman too.
 

Nikitta

Silly Person
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Nov 3, 2006
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#12
For a SF fan, The Left Hand of Darkness is a great introduction.
I recently discovered The Dispossesed. That was my introduction to her work and it completely swept me off my feet.

I'd really like to read more of her; it's just very hard to decide which one. I'm considering The Left Hand of Darkness (partly because I've heard so many people recommend it), though looking at her work at amazon, there are just so many that all sound good!
 
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#13
For an SF fan I'd go with Left Hand Of Darkness as a start.

If you are more inclined towards fantasy then it'd be The Wizard of Earthsea.

Alternatively, you might want to start with a book of her short stories where there's a good mix of SF and fantasy. It's called The Wind's Twelve Quarters and has my favourite short story by her ... The Ones Who Left Omelas, which is similar to Shirley Jackson's Lottery.
 

Connavar

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#14
Me i am huge fan of both Sci fi and fantasy so it doesnt matter which genre of her you recommend.

The short story book sounds like a good idea since it contains both genres.


When its about fantasy i hear much her Eartsea book or books.
 
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#15
The Earthsea books were a trilogy for a long time and then she wrote a fourth and a fifth book.

The books are:
A Wizard Of Earthsea
The Tombs Of Atuan
The Farthest Shore
Tehanu
Other Wind

The first four can be bought as a quartet.

Earthsea gave me Orm Embar dragon of the West Reach, one of my favourite dragons. I love the sound of his name.
 

Thadlerian

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#18
Yeah, it would go between Tehanu and The Other Wind. Do not confuse the title with the story of Studio Ghibli's recent Tales from Earthsea/Gedo Senki. There's one short story in there (Dragonfly) connecting the two books, and several other that are more or less relevant to the series. The Finder is my personal favourite in Tales.

"Tinaral, fall!"
 

Connavar

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#19
Thanks for the help people.

The library has huge amount of her books i will try her after i finish Hyperion and Starship Troopers.
 

Brian G Turner

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#20
I think GRRM's prose is excellent. The man is so crisp with detail, concise yet descriptive, and he can build pace and tension within a few sentences. He can also create extremely believable characters, and his internal narratives manage to avoid info-dumping while still providing a clear and perceptive insights into their motivations - again, in a concise way.

I think this is his great strength.

While I think he's allowed the overall story to wander off in an undisciplined way, the writing style I think is a great vehicle for epic fantasy, and the best I've read.

Guy Gavriel Kay is alright, but I think his omniscient view can be disorientating at times, and because he purposefully tries to hide information from readers, it can leave his characters looking shallow and undeveloped - plot devices, rather than real people (ie, Vargo and Kasia in the Sarantine books).

Fritz Lieber - am trying hard to read him, but again the omniscient POV tends to wander and meander from the point of the story.

Peter F Hamilton and Tad Williams I also remember as having good concise third person limited writing styles, but like GRRM, can inflate a simple story into an unnecessarily monstrous bloat.

Perhaps modern readers tend to be less patient these days - which is I think where GRRM really comes into his own - a concise and punchy delivery, very much like what Stephen King does for horror, but with added depth and decoration without interrupting pace.

When I think of omniscient POV, I think of Frank Herbert's Dune as a prime example of how it's done best - he uses that POV to describe each character's internal conflicts - and only when in the present of opposing character motivations - which really drives the story and tension. The early chapters with Dr Yueh and the Harkonnen invasion are excellent. Although you don't actually see the invasion, you feel every part of it through the internalised character conflicts away from the action.
 

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