Today’s reader topic comes from QSFer Dan Ackerman:
Can we talk about the sci-fi/fantasy divide that came up between Tolkien type stuff and Moorcock type stuff?
I’m getting into Moorcock and living for it. Back in The Day there were two directions that antasy stuff branched into, and for a while it wasn’t clear which would become mainstream and which wouldn’t.
One of them was Tolkien, who was very academic and sort of lofty and pure in his writing, and drew a lot from folklore and his experience in war. High brow stuff – what we now call high fantasy. It has become ubiquitous – all elves and dwarves are Tolkien based, for the most part. The look and vibe of LOTR became the look of all fantasy.
About a decade later, there was also a sort of weird, more avant garde thing happening in the pulp circles, where spec fic was more gritty and Weird, which is where Michael Moorcock comes into play. He wrote 70ish books in this sexed-up multiverse, but he also used very morose, languid and emotional anti-heros. Not at all what mainstream fantasy is today, although you get strong echoes of it in books like Gaiman’s Sandman.
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