Monday, July 25, 2005

Piers Anthony

Ramesh over at The Corner in discussing novels he read as a young adult mentions a blast from the past for me: Piers Anthony. I was a huge fan of Mr. Anthony when I was younger, and one bonus of being his fan was that, as Ramesh alludes to, there was a lot to read. I also agree that it would be hard to recommend that an adult should read all of Mr. Anthony's novels. Still, they made quite an impression on me at the time. So I checked out Amazon to see if I could refresh my memory on any of Mr. Anthony's novels that might be worth recommending.

What did I find? First, Mr. Anthony has apparently gone downhill a little, as evidenced by two of his more recent works: Pornucopia and The Magic Fart. Now, he always did have a bit of a preoccupation with sex, so I can understand the first title, but I have no explanation for the book about farts.

I did see a couple of the old favorites: A Spell for Chameleon and On a Pale Horse. Chameleon was one of the first "grown up" books I ever read, and my memories of it are happy. It certainly opened my eyes to certain things, such as when Bink, the main character, gets caught by his parents growing a nymph for his own sexual gratification. On a Pale Horse had a cool concept: a guy accidentally kills death and then has to take over as the new Grim Reaper.

Next I saw a book called Pet Peeve, which is the 29th book in the Xanth series, of which A Spell for Chameleon was the first. This is kind of sad, much like the fart book. The Xanth books were getting formulaic and dull in the teens when I stopped. I dread thinking about what they've devolved to now.

Thinking about the decline of one of my old favorites is sad, like having a high school friend in jail. However, I am going to tentatively recommend one book (tentatively, because I haven't read it in a long time and it could be crappy. I remember the story as being pretty intense and different, though): Refugee, the first volume of the Bio of a Space Tyrant series. It might be good.

If not, I hear things about The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.


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