High praise indeed from Jeffro’s Space Gaming Blog
(a) I’m not necessarily right in the sweet spot of his target audience and (b) I’m not one to just flat out gush over every single thing that he writes.
With that out of the way, let’s talk about his Hugo nominated short story, “The Parliament of Beasts and Birds”.
This story… first it intrigued me, then it amused me, then it gripped me… then I laughed out loud. Once complete immersed into the world of the story, I next shared the creatures’ curiosity, their fear, and finally… their awe. I relished every transition, every change in tempo, every interaction, the precision in each characterization. And in the end when I finally understood just what was happening and what it meant… I experienced that rare joy that only the best science fiction stories seem to offer: that feeling of a gradually increasing cognitive dissonance due to my assumptions not quite matching up with where the story is going– and then the “aha” moment when I finally understood that the scope of this subcreation is larger and more nuanced than I first anticipated. It’s positively rapturous when all the parts that seem out of place just suddenly fall together.
In other words, John C. Wright played me like a fiddle.
I don’t expect everyone to have quite the same experience when they read it. I mean, there are people that will tell you straight up that they preferred “If You Were a Dinosaur My Love” to “The Queen of the Tyrant Lizards”. That’s fine. To each his own and all that.
But I have to say… I have just been calling for people to attempt to be more mythic in their fantasy gaming, to go back to the parts of Tolkien’s work that we have passed over in recent decades and see what can be resuscitated and translated into new contexts. I really did not expect to see anyone writing quite in that vein– and certainly not at this caliber. I thought that sort of thing was done for, but really… this is about the only thing I’ve seen recently that I can honestly say is even close to being on par with with best work of Lord Dunsany, Jack Vance, and Robert E. Howard.
Read the whole thing here.
I suspect that I could not find a finer compliment if I paid a man to give it me in coins of yellow gold, massive, bright and round as the sun.
Thank the reviewer for the exaggerated praise, but my tongue would be pinned to an oak with a stormbolt hurled by a wrathful muse justly punishing the hubris if I claimed to be on par with those three immortals.
All I can gently suggest is one reread Blagdaross, then ‘The Last Castle‘ and then ‘Red Nails‘ to see the comparison.
But there is not much real, old school speculative fiction being promoted these days, I will admit. Even a modest hill can seem a mountain when found in the middle of the salt flats.
You may purchase the book here: http://www.castaliahouse.com/downloads/the-book-of-feasts-seasons/