Tuesday, February 08, 2011

RIP Brian Jacques

We seem to mostly reserve our Rest in Peace posts for composers born in the 20th century, but I think Brian Jacques deserves a shout out, upon his death. So, rest in peace, Brian Jacques. I think this one is more particular to me than to the twins or Mike, but I read, quite rabidly, the first six or seven of the books in Jacques's Redwall series, a probably more-muddled-than-I-realized-at-the-time account of heroic mice fighting evil weasels (and snakes and shit!) in a medieval castles-and-monasteries setting (I eventually graduated to Narcissus and Goldmund (right after wasting several years of my reading life in the Dungeons-and-Dragons novelized spin-off waste-web of the Dragonlance books (and then quitting fantasy novels forever (right after reading a bunch of Orson Scott Card's non-Ender's Game American pioneer-era fantasy novels--I think I made it through the first four of these (and being excited to go to Northland Library when that fourth book in the series came out in 1995))))).

Unlike Ender's Game, which I re-read back in October, when my hosts in Helsinki (who happened to have a copy of the book (in English, not Finnish)) went to bed early before my flight pretty early the next morning and I had a night to kill, and I figured re-reading Ender's Game was as good a way as any to do that (some of the ideas still hold up, but the writing is quite shit, and there's way less to the book than I thought there was back when I was 12 (surprise, surprise)), there's very little chance that I decide to re-read the Redwall books. Mostly because, come on, there's no way they're gonna hold up, seriously... and I'm simply not that nostalgic for them. Books 4 through 7 (by publication date (I'm looking at the Wikipedia list of books)), I think I read as they came out. I recognize the title of The Bellmaker, so that's probably the last one I read, right before making the leap over to those damn Dragonlance books and, like, Dune.

But Brian Jacques kept right on writing. I like the title of one of the newer ones, Loamhedge. But, on behalf of the fragile emotions of my 8-12 year old self, so sucked into those worlds, thanks for the books, Mr. Jacques.


Blogger Jack said...

I read at least three of those Redwall books, after you'd gotten them, and I liked them a lot too. I don't remember reading any other fantasy books as a kid, so something about the Redwall books must have stood out. Rest in peace.

2/08/2011 10:31 PM  
Blogger nate said...

I must have read at least two or three of them, too, though I don't remember anything but the mice-against-weasels mythology and the general atmosphere of fantasy-adventure plotting. I'm not sure why my fantasy and sci-fi reading stopped in the middle of high school. Probably some combination of aging out of the true children's fare, being completely put off by the foreword to The Fellowship of the Ring, and deciding for a while that I was only going to read Really Great Classic Literature. Redwall would have been among the last fantasy series I read until finally making it through the Lord of the Rings in time for the movies, and more recently picking up some Ursula Le Guin; as with Orson Scott Card I have fond memories of it.

2/10/2011 7:38 PM  
Blogger Pete said...

What Le Guin you been reading?

2/11/2011 10:49 AM  
Blogger nate said...

So far, just The Left Hand of Darkness and A Wizard of Earthsea, both within the past two years or so. I enjoyed both tremendously; Left Hand is one of the best books I've read in the past few years. Wizard of Earthsea should be a prerequisite for kids who want to read Harry Potter. I want to read something more of Le Guin's soon; she writes with an economy and assured narrative voice that I just love, and she's good at making her wise and intelligent characters actually seem so, all of which I remember lacking from most fantasy books I read early in life.

2/11/2011 11:11 AM  

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