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Elizabeth Hand

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So much fantasy relies on the author's having read Fraser's The Golden Bough or Robert Graves' The White Goddess and nothing else. The White Goddess is a crank book, a crank book of genius of course, but all the same... Mind you, I found Waking the Moon cited in an article in a pagan magazine as an authority for the idea that there was a patriarchal brotherhood, the Benandanti, that have been running things since antiquity, with no mention of the fact that it is a novel, and a fantasy at that. People want to believe something, and so they swallow anything.
--
"Intense Ornate" interview with Amazon.co.uk (1999)

 
Elizabeth Hand

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There are many words and phrases that should be forever kept out of the hands of book reviewers. It's sad, but true. And one of these is "self-indulgent." And this is one of those things that strikes me very odd, like reviewers accusing an author of writing in a way that seems "artificial" or "self-conscious." It is, of course, a necessary prerequisite of fiction that one employ the artifice of language and that one exist in an intensely self-conscious state. Same with "self-indulgent." What could possibly be more self-indulgent than the act of writing fantastic fiction? The author is indulging her- or himself in the expression of the fantasy, and, likewise, the readers are indulging themselves in the luxury of someone else's fantasy. I've never written a story that wasn't self-indulgent. Neither has any other fantasy or sf author. We indulge our interests, our obsessions, and assume that someone out there will feel as passionately about X as we do.

 
Caitlin R. Kiernan
 

[A]s we discern a fine line between crank and genius, so also (and unfortunately) we must acknowledge an equally graded trajectory from crank to demagogue. When people learn no tools of judgment and merely follow their hopes, the seeds of political manipulation are sown.

 
Stephen Jay Gould
 

I was heavily influenced by my first attempt at a novel. I started a fantasy novel back in high school, and.... well... it really sucked. It was a plotless, clichéd mess. When I sat down to write this book, I wanted to make something much, much better. I wanted to write something that was pretty much the opposite of that first novel.
Also, I read Cyrano De Bergerac, right before I started writing the book. Cyrano's character reminded me of some important things, namely, what it really means to be a tragic hero. You don't need a lot of the cliché fantasy trappings to have that cool character.
I also read Giacomo Casanova's memoirs soon after starting this project. That opened my eyes to how interesting an autobiography could be, provided the person telling it has a way with words and has lived a sufficiently adventurous life....

 
Patrick Rothfuss
 

I don't find fantasy to be more or less suited to philosophical questions than any other genre, really. I think that the soul of fantasy—or second-world fantasy at least—is our problematic relationship with nostalgia. The impulse to return to a golden age seems to be pretty close to the bone, at least in western cultures, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if it's a human universal. For me, it's tied up with the experience of aging and the impulse to recapture youth. Epic fantasy, I think, takes its power from that. We create golden eras and either celebrate them or—more often—mourn their loss.

 
Daniel Abraham
 

"Found the short story collection, PIGEONS FROM HELL by Robert E. Howard the creator of Conan the Barbarian when I was thirteen, or fourteen. It was the first dark fantasy and heroic fantasy I’d ever read. In that moment I knew not only did I want to be a writer, but this is what I wanted to write." ~ Laurel K. Hamilton, About Laurel K. Hamilton, LaurelKHamilton.com

 
Robert E. Howard
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