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Changes in Blaylock's writing over the years (Read 15482 times)
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Changes in Blaylock's writing over the years
14. Nov 2003 at 17:50
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I'm curious about readers' preferences for various phases of Blaylock's writing. Since it has changed, most obviously in subject matter, over the years, I wonder how many people favour particular periods or series over others. Broadly speaking the stories seem to fall into categories such as:
-Balumnia
-Steampunk
-California fantasy
The last category is pretty broad of course, and earlier works - Land of Dreams, Digging Leviathan, Paper Grail, and Last Coin -seem different in character from more recent novels, with earlier ones tending to be more exuberantly eccentric, and later ones more subdued and melancholy.
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Patrick
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Re: Changes in Blaylock's writing over the years
Reply #1 - 14. Nov 2003 at 19:29
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I favor the early (eccentric) California fantasies, especially Digging Leviathan and Last Coin.  Land of Dreams almost needs it's own sub-category, since it's setting is non-contemporary and a bit more (blatantly) magical.  Also enjoyed the heck out of the Bulumnia books.

Interesting how often artists renowned for stylistic idiosyncrasies tend to jettison (or at least mute) their own defining characteristics in later works.  

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Jeff M.
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Re: Changes in Blaylock's writing over the years
Reply #2 - 14. Nov 2003 at 19:44
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The Balumnia series will always be my favorite, probably because it was my first introduction to Mr. Blaylock's work. I read it back in the 80's while in highschool, and didn't read anything else of his until my early college years.  Although The Last Coin is probably my single favorite book, I would have to say that the two "steampunk" books are a close second to the Balumnia series.

I really can't say what it is about the Balumnia books that appeals to me so.  I could list pages and pages of unique little moments in the story, but this is certainly a case where the end product is greater than the sum of its parts.

Jeff
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Re: Changes in Blaylock's writing over the years
Reply #3 - 15. Nov 2003 at 07:12
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I definitely prefer the more eccentric stories, Last Coin being my favorite.  However, I can't say that I haven't liked any of the books he's written.  Different styles, but all good.

 -Neil
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Heather
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Re: Changes in Blaylock's writing over the years
Reply #4 - 15. Nov 2003 at 17:29
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Itís clear Iím not in the majority on this one, but Iíd have to say my favorite phase of Blaylock writing style is his later years in California Fantasy.  The first book of his I ever read was All the Bells on Earth, and probably for that reason it remains my favorite.  Winter Tides, Night Relics, The Rainy Season, all of these books I am deeply in love with.  Iíve been starting to read Blaylockís earlier stuff, Digging Leviathan and Last Coin, as well as his collected short stories both on the internet and in Thirteen Phantasms.  I love all of his work, but the work he did in the 90ís remains my most treasured stories.
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Re: Changes in Blaylock's writing over the years
Reply #5 - 15. Nov 2003 at 17:48
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It's interesting to see how readers' preferences are affected by their introduction to Blaylock's writing. Certainly the villains have become more complex and engaging, but I wonder if anyone else has found that the heroes are sometimes less appealing. In All the Bells on Earth, for example, Walt Stebbins seemed to me to be a vestigial sort of Andrew Vanbergen: one lacking the enthusiasm needed to changed the course of events.
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Re: Changes in Blaylock's writing over the years
Reply #6 - 15. Nov 2003 at 18:49
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Heather,  you'd probably like the latest short story collection IN FOR A PENNY.  

As for the heros, I think they've become more complex and real.  They aren't your typical good guy hero and I really like that.  Their flaws make the character more interesting.

 -Neil
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Patrick
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Re: Changes in Blaylock's writing over the years
Reply #7 - 15. Nov 2003 at 20:14
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[quote author=Forum Administrator  link=1068828636/0#5 date=1068929291]It's interesting to see how readers' preferences are affected by their introduction to Blaylock's writing. [/quote]

Yep, my preferences conform to the "first taste" model, too, Leviathan and Last Coin being my first Blaylock books.  

I also agree that there is no such thing as bad Blaylock.
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Heather
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Re: Changes in Blaylock's writing over the years
Reply #8 - 15. Nov 2003 at 23:09
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[quote author=Forum Administrator  link=1068828636/0#5 date=1068929291] ...I wonder if anyone else has found that the heroes are sometimes less appealing. [/quote]

Actually I found Walt Stebbins to be a very intriguing character, as well as Dave Quinn from Winter Tides. Perhaps enthusiasm wasn't an attribute these characters obtained but I definitely felt they had a quiet curiosity and an underlying strength that essentially drove them down the path of their quest. †I felt like I could relate to them more, maybe that is part of their appeal.

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Peter Brander
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Re: Changes in Blaylock's writing over the years
Reply #9 - 21. Nov 2003 at 13:16
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The latest bunch of short stories was dominated by old people and the theme of coming to terms with life and/or death. (With a few hilarious pieces like 'The Other Side')

While I enjoyed them a lot (especially 'His own back yard' and 'Fifty cents'), it still saddens me, that my hero (Mr. Blaylock) can't be young forever (like Superman).

Just because I'm getting older, there's no need for everybody else to be as well!!
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Lance Nutter
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Re: Changes in Blaylock's writing over the years
Reply #10 - 22. Nov 2003 at 06:42
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I first read 'The Elfin Ship', and have always used that as a standard. (it's one of the few books I can read over and over again...) It has such a great 'created' world, and such whimsical humor.  It instills in me the same feeling 'The Hobbit' does, by Tolkein.  I think I like 'The Digging Leviathan' second best, for the same reasons.  It seems like Mr. Blaylock is getting grittier; maybe leaving the magical more innocent 'worlds' behind. I guess it's maturity in his writing.  I hope it's not due to the commercialism that seems to drive the the media industry...  I still think people (at least I do... there's enough 'grit' in my real life...) need the innocent childlike wonder of his earlier books brought to them in this increasingly violent world.
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B. Pulley
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Re: Changes in Blaylock's writing over the years
Reply #11 - 22. Nov 2003 at 11:23
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[quote author=Forum Administrator  link=1068828636/0#5 date=1068929291]It's interesting to see how readers' preferences are affected by their introduction to Blaylock's writing... [/quote]

My introduction to Mr. Blaylock's writing was in the 80's with the Disappearing Dwarf, and yes...  It is my favorite.   Smiley   I was quickly enchanted with the author's ability to tell the story and the characters he had created.  Sometime later I read the Stone Giant and the Elfin Ship, which being Balumnia stories are also favorites.  Next were Land of Dreams and the Digging Leviathan.  Having read these wonderful tales, I think I made the mistake of assuming all of Mr. Blaylock's books would continue to hold the endearing qualities that I had enjoyed and had come to expect while reading his earlier works.

[quote author=Forum Administrator  link=1068828636/0#5 date=1068929291]Certainly the villains have become more complex and engaging, but I wonder if anyone else has found that the heroes are sometimes less appealing... [/quote]

The next book that I read was Winter Tides.  In my opinion, the book was a decent read, but I have to admit (and hate doing so) that I was almost forcing myself to like the characters and to empathize with them more than I would have if it had been any other author.  I have also had the chance to read Mr. Blaylockís short stories when they have appeared online, and have enjoyed most of them.  I do plan on reading the Man in the Moon, and 13 Phantasms, but I'm not sure if I'm going to read anything of Mr. Blaylock's beyond that for fear of another experience such as Winter Tides.  

I hope this doesn't get me banned from the forum.  Smiley

B.
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Re: Changes in Blaylock's writing over the years
Reply #12 - 22. Nov 2003 at 13:49
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[quote author=B. Pulley  link=1068828636/0#11 date=1069511022]
I hope this doesn't get me banned from the forum. †Smiley
[/quote]

Don't worry - that won't happen while I'm enlightened despot of the forum. It would probably be a dull discussion if we only talked about how much we loved everything.
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Swan
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Re: Changes in Blaylock's writing over the years
Reply #13 - 10. Dec 2003 at 19:05
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My first Blaylock was the Elfin Ship, and I've snapped up everything I've been able to find ever since.  His subject matter has changed over time, and I feel that his writing style has adapted to the subject matter at hand.  And while I adored the Balumnia tales, I also enjoyed the progression of his work through works such as The Paper Grail, and then on to the more traditionally-rooted stuff, like Winter Tides and The Rainy Season.  Sometimes I yearn for the atmosphere of his earlier work, like Land of Dreams or the Digging Leviathan, but what I really yearn for is a novel.  Any novel.  I like the pulse and flow of his work, and while I can always enjoy another doughnut shop story (really!), I miss the breadth and development of his novels.  Waaaa.
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Mike
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Re: Changes in Blaylock's writing over the years
Reply #14 - 24. Dec 2003 at 15:42
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Hello,
 I hope I'm not offending anyone, but as a monotheist I must ask... When did Blaylock become a potty-mouth?

 I love his early work, my first book was "The Stone Giant", and I've enjoyed everything I've read from him, although not with the same level of enthusiasm as the Bulamnia series.  However, somewhere around the "Paper Grail", things changed.  I'm now wary of purchasing anything after 1988.  Is there a Blaylock rating system anywhere?

Mike
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