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A Bad Year Gets Worse

Death, death, and more death... this year just keeps getting worse and worse.

There is not much I can say about the death of Carrie Fisher that a thousand other people have not said already. She was way too young. A bright, beautiful, talented actress, and a strong, witty, outspoken woman. Princess Leia will live as long as STAR WARS does... probably forever...

And the world lost one of its great fantasists today as well: Richard Adams, the author of WATERSHIP DOWN. Gardner Dozois ranks WATERSHIP DOWN as one of the three great fantasy novels of the twentienth century, right up there with LORD OF THE RINGS and THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING, and I agree. A truly amazing book... and one that somehow always seems to get forgotten when fans discuss the great fantasies. Maybe because of the talking rabbits? No idea...

Adams was a wonderful writer. Yes, WATERSHIP DOWN was his masterpiece, but it was by no means his only great book. He wrote two terrific epic fantasies with human characters, SHARDIK and MAIA, both of which are criminally underrated, as well as an erotic ghost story, THE GIRL ON A SWING. His other "animal book," THE PLAGUE DOGS, also has some wonderful sections... though it is such a dark, depressing, angry, gut-punch of a novel that I can't say I 'enjoyed' it.

Adams was not 'one of us,' in the sense that he was never a convention-goer or part of our genre fantasy community, which may be why he was never honored with a life achievement award by the World Fantasy Convention. Nonetheless, he deserved one. I've been suggesting him for that honor for at least twenty years... in part because I wanted to meet him. Now I never will. That's sad (though not as sad as PLAGUE DOGS).

A wonderful actress, a great writer. The world is poorer tonight.

Please, let this wretched year come to an end.


Jimmy Potter
Dec. 28th, 2016 02:59 am (UTC)
This is where I learned of Richard Adams's death... I'm so sad right now!!! Watership Down is my favorite book and the one most responsible for my lifelong love of reading.

I was not as moved by Carrie Fisher's death not because I'm cold hearted but rather simply I usually reserve my emotions for family, friends and only those celebrities who have had a substantial influence on who I became as a person- which I consider Richard Adams to be one because without his books I might not be the avid reader that I am and that has shaped my outlook on the world.

I've been fortunate this year in that no family or friends of mine have died(knock on wood)but I understand that for a lot of people these celebrities have been a surrogate family. I don't believe death is the end. I believe we journey onwards, whether it is Heaven, Hell, or Valhalla, or somewhere else I do not know; but may their journeys be joyous and full of love!


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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