Now Reading: Crypto, by Steven Levy
Just Finished: Magic Kingdom For Sale– Sold!, by Terry Brooks.
Written in 1986, this book seemed to me to typify a specific subgenre of Fantasy that seemed to be popular at the time: a subset of High Fantasy that included a character that managed to travel to or from the modern world. A well-known example of this subgenre is the Xanth series, with which this book (coincidentally?) happens to share a publisher and cover artist. Other works which could be considered part of this subgenre are C.S. Lewis’ Narnia, L. Frank Baum’s Oz, and even Twain’s Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Of course, there’s always that one guy who just has to ruin everything for everybody else, and so this subgenre reached its nadir with the 1989 release of Lords of Magick, widely regarded by those who have been made to watch it as the worst movie ever.
But, back to the book. In reading it, elements of the story and setting seemed oddly familiar. In fact, it sounds almost as though it might have been a large inspiration for the 1990 Ravenloft Campaign Setting. Just find and replace each with its opposite: An
ordinary man evil being is selected by a mysterious individual the Dark Powers to become king Dark Lord of a wondrous, magical Gothic, horror-filled realm that exists outside the boundaries of any known world, bounded by a misty void filled with mysterious and inscrutable fairies horrors.
In my opinion, this book was really a bit better than quite a few of the Xanth novels, though the protagonist did spend quite a bit of time just agonizing over his personal predicament, but of course overcame his doubts and fears in the end to become the king.