Friday, August 30, 2013

Lisa Tuttle's fantasy top 10

The Guardian ran Lisa Tuttle's list of the top ten "mould-breaking fantasy novels" and I duly noted that one of my favorite books, Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, made the list at No. 2.

One of Robert Anton Wilson's favorites also made the list: The Magus by John Fowles. (Wilson mentions it, for example, near the beginning of this interview.)

But I'm also posting about here because I noticed that another book Tuttle mentioned, John Crowley's Aegypt, sounded like a book RAW fans would be interested in. Tuttle's description: "A fantasy of history, concerned with occult practices, memory palaces, John Dee, etc, yet utterly grounded in real places and times in our world. Pierce Moffett, a child of the 60s in New York, investigates his suspicion that the world might have split at some point in the past, creating more than one true history."

(I should note for clarity that The Book Formerly Known as Aegypt is now known as The Solitudes and is the first book in the Aegypt tetralogy.)

Since I've never gotten around to trying Crowley, I turned for help to two literary mavens (and RAW fans) on Twitter, Ted Hand and Roman Tsivkin. (Sorry about some of the repetition below. Twitter makes it extremely difficult to copy conversations.)

@t3dy @Zenjew Have you guys read John Crowley's "Aegypt" novels? If so, what did you think of them?


@jacksontom @t3dy Crowley's hard to pin down as a writer. Sometimes superb, but sometimes the reader--this reader, in any case--nods off.

             — Roman Tsivkin (@Zenjew) August 29, 2013


I just have trouble reading novels. Most of my reading time is spent sampling from hundreds of nonfictions. @Zenjew @jacksontom

            — Ted Hand (@t3dy) August 30, 2013

@zenjew @t3dy Feels like I should try him -- he sounds like someone I would like.

           — Tom Jackson (@jacksontom) August 30, 2013

Think of it as a prequel to "Historical illuminatus" @jacksontom @Zenjew

@jacksontom @t3dy Do give Crowley a spin, Tom. Very PKD-ish gnostic themes in the Aegypt novels. I keep meaning to finish reading them.

Speaking of RAW-related, I read Antoine Faivre, "Theosophy, Imagination, Tradition" great one on illuminati esotericism. @jacksontom @Zenjew

            — Ted Hand (@t3dy) August 30, 2013

2 comments:

Eric Wagner said...

Thanks for the link to the list. I found it interesting that she started with a book by Jonathan Carroll. I read a bunch of his books after Neil Gaiman recommended him in Sandman. I found them fascinating, but I agree with Tuttle's comment about Carroll's sinister storytelling. I found Carroll's books more and more disturbing and I stopped reading them. I think I liked Sleeping in Flame best, but I didn't have success trying to reread it.

I also loved The Haunting of Hill House which made Tuttle's list.

Jesse said...

The Solitudes is one of my favorite novels, and the second and third books in the quartet are also excellent. The fourth didn't impress me as much.

Crowley in general is a great writer.