Sunday, September 5, 2010

Discovering Lin Carter

I've been discovering Lin Carter's work for the first time. I've read some of his short stories in the past and also his Conan pastiches but I've been reading The Gondwane Epic and feel like I'm discovering him for the first time. He was quite a prolific writer in the field of Swords & Sorcery fiction, and was the editor of the popular Flashing Swords anthologies. He's now more of a forgotten favorite to some and a maligned writer credited with hurting the Conan series (I disagree with this).

The Gondwane series is more of a Swords and Planet or Dying Earth story which used to be commonplace in the 60's and 70's but now it's too uncommon. It's kind of a mixture of post-apocalyptic/swords & sorcery/science fiction world of high adventure. Although criticized as being heavily influenced by Jack Vance's Dying Earth series, Carter made it his own wonderful fantasy realm. Set on the super continent "Gondawane",think Pangea reforming and you'll have the right idea.

"Millions upon millions of years hence, when all the ancient continents of Old Earth have come together to form the immensity of Gondwane, the Last Continent, in The Twilight of Time, there shall come a Savior of Galendil to wrestle with the Doom of the World: They shall call him Silvermane." - Oth Kangmir (The Book Imperishable)

The main character is Ganelon Silvermane, a human bio-mechanical construct of considerable size and strength, created by the scientists and alchemists of Gondwane as the ultimate hero of mankind. Joined by the Illusionist of Nerelon, Xarda the Knightrix of Jemmerdy, and the Bazonga, a giant sentient robot bird/vehicle, they travel the world of Gondwane to finally bring peace to a troubled world.

Currently I'm reading the second book "The Enchantress Of World's End" and it's as good, if not better than the first. I really like the Death Dwarves! Horrible, mutated form of anti-life!

If you get the opportunity to read the series you should, it's a fun read!


cussedness said...

He was also quite a character himself. I met him in 1979 at a convention in Fort Worth. I had just made my first professional sale and was very intimidated by the hoopla that comprises a convention (my first). He went out of his way to be nice to me.

Atom Kid said...

Thanks for sharing! I would've liked to have met him. He's partially responsible for bringing the Conan stories to the forefront. Plus, a guy who started a Swords & Sorcery writer's group (SAGA), has got to be someone worth talking to!

cussedness said...

You would have liked him. The Ballantine Adult Fantasy series that he created and edited was outstanding. There's a very rare little book called Imaginary Worlds in which he goes into detail about what he believed made sword and sorcery great. I re-read it once a year.

Atom Kid said...

Thanks for the recommendation, I'll see if I can find a copy. I've been finding it hard to find any Lin Carter books in general.

Brian Murphy said...

Carter was an average writer, in my opinion, but a great editor. He had an eye for talent and a peerless passion for swords and sorcery and was at the helm of some great anthologies. In particular his contribution as editor of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series cannot be overestimated. He helped to keep some great old works alive and re-introduced them to the reading public.

Atom Kid said...

Brian, the Flashing Swords series were a great way to introduce people to Swords & Sorcery fiction. I agree that he was average as far as writing, but I'm enjoying some of his fiction.