Monday, June 1, 2015

Sellar matter-of-factly among the big names in speculative fiction

I've never actually met Gord Sellar but we both live in South Korea and know the same people.  If and when we cross paths, I'll probably end up starstruck.  I knew he was a skilled writer and have enjoyed the few stories of his that I've read but, well, I guess because I almost know him I didn't expect him to be in the writing big leagues.  Clearly, that means I've been thinking small and need to pump up my ambitions and goals.

Anyway, a blog post at Back Gate discusses fantasy cliches and how competent authors tear them apart and rebuild them in unique ways.  My favorite author ever, Tim Powers, offers his wisdom as does Sellar.
Well, there’s the “mysterious magical artifact,” which has variously been a sword, a ring, a model ship, an ornament broken from a railing in an alien world — and of course it proves to be much more significant than it initially appears to be.
James Branch Cabell turned this idea on its head in his novel The Cream of the Jest (1917),...
In the past half-year or so I’ve just sort of discovered the brilliant Paul Meloy’s work, especially in the short stories collected in Islington Crocodiles (2008) and the follow-up novella Dogs with Their Eyes Shut (2013). It’s work that crosses countless genre and subgenre boundaries: it’s not exactly fantasy or horror or SF, just brilliant speculative fiction, and there are plenty of familiar fantasy tropes, if you look under the surface, but Meloy consistently does amazingly fresh, stunning things with them.

No comments: