Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tolkien has nothing on this guy

If I may be permitted to geek out for a moment, I have become a huge fan of George R.R. Martin's series A Song of Ice and Fire. I'm about 2/3 through the second book, A Clash of Kings, which is followed by two more books and will eventually comprise a seven-part series. Time Magazine proclaimed him the "American Tolkien," but I really only give Tolkien credit for creating the genre and archetypes that other authors have put to better use. If you actually try reading The Lord of the Rings, it's not the easiest thing in the world--Tolkien was always more of an academian than an author. In my opinion, it took Peter Jackson to really breathe life into those characters.

A Song of Ice and Fire has its own extensive backstory, along with multiple languages, religions, and ideologies, that, much like Tolkien's work, make you believe there is really a huge body of research behind the novels. The books are much more readable, though, especially considering Martin's background as a screenwriter.

One thing the books really touch on that I like is the "ordinary" people--it's not all about lords and kings and all that. And even when it is, the characters are shown in full, with all their flaws, fears, and bodily functions. I remember reading Frank Herbert's Dune series and wondering, above all else, when his characters ever had time to eat and go to the bathroom. Then again, Martin's books don't have anything as cool as sandworms.

There is now talk of an HBO series based on the books. If cast correctly and given enough time (i.e. several seasons), that could seriously kick ass.

Here are some other scifi/fantasy/historical fiction sagas that I recommend, if you happen to have a lot of time for reading:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've been reading these books. Fucking bad ass. When the red witch gives birth to the shadow i about pissed myself.