Monday, 4 May 2009

Wot's it all about?

Liz de Jager runs a great fantasy-orientated blog and has very kindly interviewed me this week. She's also running a competition to win a copy of my book, which gives you another reason to visit her site, doesn't it? It's pretty cool to be added amongst her 'proper writers' as I still struggle to imagine myself as a one of them, with ruffled shirts and everything.

Actually, since first chatting with Liz it has re-awoken my old love for heroic fantasy. I've dusty off my old copy of Elric and am busy re-reading Sailor on the Sea of Fate, which is perhaps the coolest title ever.

So, here's my list of top five fictional heroes (in no particular order):

1. Elric. Michael Moorcock's anti-hero extreme has probably had a biggest influence in my writing career. Partially because reading his works made me write my own roleplaying adventures back in the 1980's. That was the beginning of my storytelling training and up in the loft I've still got my epic Dragon Warriors' campaign (War of the Magi) that was, truth be told, a blatant rip off of Elric and the entire Conjunction of a Million Spheres. Since a good idea can be ripped off more than once I've persuaded my neighbours we're going to set up a roleplaying group. The 1st edition AD&D stuff is out of storage and back on the shelves!

2. Bilbo Baggins. I've gone for the OG Rings hero. Let's face it, Aragorn and the fellowship are pretty two dimensional (I might have discussed this earlier) but not Bilbo.

3. Conan. He's great. No deconstruction required. Beyond the Black River is one of the best stories I've ever read, EVER. It's about a pictish assault on the border country and has Conan just as hardcore as can be. I have the old 80s Frazetta covers and even now, they just drip testosterone. I think tehre was a quote about Conan which said "it's not as the world was, but as it should have been". Too right.

4. Sharpe. I've talked about him a lot on this blog but bascially he's Conan during the Napoleonic Wars. Okay, I know he's not fantasy, but he's definately heroic.

5. Hester out of the Mortal Engines series. A truly tragic heroine who, when given happiness, is too damaged to accept it. If you haven't read Philip's Reeve's amazing series, you are missing out. IMHO the best children's series in the last decade. While I love Phillip Pullman's Northern Lights saga, the Mortal Engines just doesn't flag and the world setting is awesome as is the cast of characters. It's the strength of the second string players that really brings Reeves' stories to the heights of greatness. Plus there's a visual flare than does just take your breath away. Cannot praise this man enough. That said I didn't like Here Lies Arthur.
There are others, but I've already discussed Dorothy last week so won't repeat her. Others in the top ten would be Bond, Harry Potter, Roland (out of The Dark Tower), Lyra, and Toad out of Wind and the Willows.


Welshcake said...

Oh, Hester is an amazing character. And Mortal Engines is incredibly good. I thought the way he wrapped up the series was beautiful.

Good luck with the book. I've already heard good things about it. Looking forward to reading Billie's adventures.

Jon M said...

Loved Elric and all the other of Moorcock's champions, same with Conan. Did you ever read Fritz Leiber's Grey Mouser series, I loved them.

James Wallis said...

Why go back to D&D? The Dragon Warriors RPG is back in print, in a new single-book edition published by Magnum Opus Press.

SarwatC said...

Dear James,
Yes, I've seen the new Dragon Warriors but prefer my old books (I leant book 5 to a friend and never got it back. Thank God for Amazon!)but do prefer the setting of Legend. Trouble is I've gone a bit mad recently on buying a lot of the old 1st Edition AD&D stuff (god knows why) and feel the need to play it.

Liz said...

I am very fond of Elric, one of my firsts. But I do have a soft spot for old Conan too.

Sarwat - if you are ever in the area of Crystal Palace / Beckenham again, you have to let us know and we'll set up a D&D game for you, no problems!