Comments on Alasdair Czyrnyj's No Exit from Fantasyland

Alasdair tries to come to grips with the Fencer Trilogy

Comments (go to latest)
Arthur B at 17:28 on 2010-02-22
This review is awesome, but I'm wondering whether Parker's philosophy is as unique in fantasy as you imply. The Vlad Taltos series by Steve Brust has always had a good line in the sort of materialism/absurdism and social/economic critique you talk about here. There's some bits of Erikson's Malazan series which seem informed by a "no meaning but what we impose ourselves" philosophy, and Jack Vance's books are almost all characterised by peculiar social constructs, raw economics and greed, and the necessity of people to find their own way in a world that doesn't make sense to them.

I will be looking into the Engineer trilogy though, if you feel it's genuinely better than the Fencer books. Does it need much knowledge of the earlier series to fully appreciate?
Andy G at 20:43 on 2010-02-22
Dare I also mention Ursula le Guin again? ;)
Arthur B at 23:01 on 2010-02-22
LeGuin is always worth a mention...
Alasdair Czyrnyj at 00:02 on 2010-02-23
Well, as I said Arthur, I'm still feeling my way around the fantasy genre (hell, I read literary criticism, for cripes sake), so my idea of "generic fantasy" is still a collection of broad stereotypes I've picked up from people bitching on the Internet. Still, I would say that Parker has a gift for taking those elements you mentioned above and making them as these great, terrible things that will consume all in the end.

As for which books to start, I'm biased towards the Engineer books because they're the ones I started with, and they're the ones I had the easiest time trying to figure out (Having a decent amount of sustained online criticism helped a bit too). Fortunately, all of her trilogies and her recent singletons are set in completely seperate worlds, so there's no risk of missing anything wherever you start.

Still, I would recommed waiting before you get to her Scavenger books. They're one of those trilogies you have to read twice just to figure out what the heck was going on.
Wardog at 09:18 on 2010-02-23
I read The Colours in the Steel and quite liked it ... but I had really trouble shifting from that to The Belly of the Bow. I think it was more a question of my expectations than the books though - this article inspires me to revisit and re-evaluate.
Alasdair Czyrnyj at 21:06 on 2010-08-08
Random K. J. Parker news!

If there's anyone out there who wants to sample her writing, she recently did a short story for Subterranean Press' seasonal magazine, which they have thoughtfully posted on their website.

She's also got another short story out in a sword and sorcery anthology, of all things, and a new book coming out next winter.
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