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Monday, February 14, 2005


I know this story

I haven't made a big point of it, but I'm a lover of science fiction & fantasy. However, not all of it is equally good, and I'm running out of authors that have good stuff; they can't keep up with me. Lately, I've been frustrated with the quality of the stories I've been seing. They don't have enough depth to them.
For years I've been kicking around ideas for my own story, and have started a couple of versions, then set it aside to stew some more.

When I finished my story Friday, I decided it's time to check on the stew. One of the various authors I've read before suggested as a source, "The Hero of a Thousand Faces", by Joseph Campbell, and that suggestion has been sitting in the back of my mind for some time now. I finally went to the library to look it up. I was amazed.
I KNOW this story. I think I can tell a heroic fantasy as well as any of the big names in the field and better than some. But it won't be an overnight thing: small, daily steps is the key, just as the work on my knowledge base.

I have a sketch of a resume, but I need to take half a day at a word processor and craft it so it looks satisfactory. I had an appointment to do just that, but it fell through. It's on the list, though.

Yep. Just like any genre, there's good stuff and there's trash. Most people can't go wrong by sticking to award winners although, personally, my own track record with award winners is no so great. Better might be to pick a science fiction theme (hard SF, space opera, military SF, AI, Robots) and find the popular books that explore them.

Also, Rudy Rucker makes note of how he used Campbell's "The Hero of a Thousand Faces" when writing his widely praised book Frek and the Elixir, even to the point of chapter/section naming. So, that title might be worth a look.

John @ SF Signal
I'm familiar with quite a few authors in various different sub-genres of SF&F, though not all with the award winners. One of these days I'll get around to mentioning a few of my favorites and commenting on their work.
But I don't want to slavishly imitate Joseph Campbell. It's just that he describes some important elements in general terms that I think would help structure and strengthen my own tale.
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