I went on an interesting journey last night.
It started because of my father. He just got a Kindle and is having way too much fun with it. He said he was looking for some books from the past and was interested to hear which authors and books I remembered reading when I was in high school — my prime reading time — so he could look at getting them.
Well, it sent me back. Back to a time when I would hardly look at a book if it wasn’t fantasy and was less than 300 pages in paperback. This was my time of Lord of the Rings and Dune, Anne McCaffrey’s Pern books and David Eddings’ Belgariad) and Malloreon series. Piers Anthony and Mercedes Lackey took me into the worlds of Xanth and Valdemar and I was loathe for any book to end because that meant I had to leave such fantastic, marvelous worlds. Melanie Rawn blew my mind with the Dragon Prince series and I have never been the same since.
So, as I’m strolling down memory lane, I remember this one book. I remember loving it because it was so different. It was sort of sci-fi because it took place on a different planet but it was much more fantasy because of an element of the planet made “magic” possible. Wasn’t magic in the true sense but it was close enough. One of the main characters was simply enchanting. He was a bad man, nearly evil incarnate. But he was likable. He actually became one of the heros of the story. Sort of. He was absolutely enthralling and he’s one of the key characters I remember each time I craft a true villian. He was the best lesson for me that the villian considers himself to be the hero of his own story.
Okay, cool. But I couldn’t remember the title. I couldn’t remember the author’s name. If I’d been in a bookstore, I could have found it. I know this because I’ve seen it a few times in the last ten or fifteen years. I was reasonably certain that the author’s last name started with a “C”, or at least there was a capital C in there somewhere and I was pretty sure the publisher was either DAW or Del Rey (because those were pretty much the only publishers I bought from at the time and I made note of them because I wanted to write for them someday). But I didn’t have enough information to go on for an Amazon search.
I should have given up. I intended to give up. But the more I thought of the book, the more obsessed I became. It was nonsensical to me that I couldn’t think of the title of one of my very favorite books. Also, I reasoned, that I should buy the damn thing if it was available for Kindle so I could read it again sometime. I now know a lot more about Amazon’s advanced search options.
I finally found it. Black Sun Rising by CS Friedman.
So, anyone else have books that shaped their world?