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melannen ([personal profile] melannen) wrote2017-02-20 09:33 am
Entry tags:

FMK#1: Arthuriana

OK! I should have all the fiction sorted and reshelved by tonight, so WE'RE DOING THIS. If I manage to do this weekly we should be done in only a year!

Here's how it will go: I will post a list of 10-20 unread books that I own. Sometimes it will be themed, sometimes it will just be random. It will be a poll, and you folks will get to vote F, M, or K for each book.

F means "melannen should have a single night of ill-considered passion with it and then decide whether to turn that into a long-term thing or dump it with prejudice."
M means "melannen should commit long-term and continue to keep the book in her bedroom indefinitely."
K means "melannen should dispose of it posthaste."

This may remind people of a certain familiar game. Unfortunately I don't think DW polls have any way to force a three-way choice like in the game, so it's a free vote for each title. (Also I don't think I could agree to give up 1/3 of my books anyway.)

I will read the book with the most F votes, hopefully within the next week, and then post about it here.
I will dispose of the book with the most K votes, *if* there are enough total K votes on all titles to make a quorum (i.e., if only one person votes K in the whole poll, I don't consider myself bound to their vote.)
All other titles, I will think about very hard and take your votes into consideration!

Feel free to vote even if you only have a vague idea about the book or author. Or even if you've never heard of it but think the title is cool. That's why I bought most of these, after all.
Feel free to vote F on terrible books just because you want to make me read them.
Please leave comments with more information on the book or justifying your votes if you do have things to say!

Anon/no account votes and comments are on. Some background on me and my library if you wander here from far away: I am an SF fan and aspiring SF writer (emphasis on "aspiring" rather than "writing" rn). I would like to keep books that are a) good and/or b) important or foundational texts in the genre and/or c) help balance the proportion of books not by/about white dudes in my library.

Got that?

Poll #18011 FMK #1: Arthuriana
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 30


The Eagle and the Sword, A. A. Attanasio (1978)

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F
9 (90.0%)

M
0 (0.0%)

K
1 (10.0%)

The Merlin Effect, T. A. Barron (1994)

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F
10 (76.9%)

M
3 (23.1%)

K
0 (0.0%)

The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley (1982)

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F
7 (30.4%)

M
4 (17.4%)

K
12 (52.2%)

Ass't'd Prince Valiant Hardcovers, Hal Foster (1978)

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F
6 (46.2%)

M
2 (15.4%)

K
5 (38.5%)

King Arthur and His Knights, Henry Frith (1884)

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F
9 (69.2%)

M
3 (23.1%)

K
1 (7.7%)

The Merlin Conspiracy, Diana Wynne Jones (2003)

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F
10 (47.6%)

M
10 (47.6%)

K
1 (4.8%)

King Arthur and His Knights, Sir James Knowles (1860)

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F
7 (58.3%)

M
4 (33.3%)

K
1 (8.3%)

The Pendragon Cycle, Stephen R. Lawhead (1987-1989)

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F
10 (62.5%)

M
1 (6.2%)

K
5 (31.2%)

Merlin's Godson Trilogy, H. Warner Munn (1974)

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F
6 (66.7%)

M
0 (0.0%)

K
3 (33.3%)

The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights, John Steinbeck (1976)

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F
9 (56.2%)

M
2 (12.5%)

K
5 (31.2%)

The Merlin Trilogy, Mary Stewart (1970-1979)

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F
12 (57.1%)

M
7 (33.3%)

K
2 (9.5%)

The Sunbird, Elizabeth Wein (2004)

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F
13 (72.2%)

M
5 (27.8%)

K
0 (0.0%)

The Book of Merlyn, T. H. White (1977)

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F
10 (47.6%)

M
9 (42.9%)

K
2 (9.5%)

Merlin's Booke, Jane Yolen (1986)

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F
10 (66.7%)

M
4 (26.7%)

K
1 (6.7%)

The Last Defender of Camelot, Roger Zelazny (1980)

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F
9 (52.9%)

M
4 (23.5%)

K
4 (23.5%)



(Books on the topic I have read and am definitely keeping: the Mike Ashley anthologies, Parke Godwin's Firelord, a mysterly Goldsmith "King Arthur" that is hilariously bowdlerized, Sutcliff's Arthur books, Twain's Connecticut Yankee, White's the Once and Future King, lots of pre-1860 retellings and sources, lots of "nonfiction".)
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)

[personal profile] alexseanchai 2017-02-20 03:41 pm (UTC)(link)
I am voting "kill" for the only one of those I've read, Mists of Avalon (I did not vote in the other questions, because that wouldn't be fair), because its author was a terrible person. Like, if you want to investigate why, the trigger warnings and the things to insert in the [] in the Google phrase "Marion Zimmer Bradley []" are "child sexual abuse" and "rape".

That said, when I read Mists of Avalon years before finding out about all of that, I liked it well enough to read the whole series. (I'm not sure that means it's good, though. I was a lot younger then.) And I'm pretty sure it has the status of "important text in the genre" of feminist SFF. So you may want to discard my vote. Just. Now you have the context, and also understand why I got rid of every book in my library Bradley ever had anything to do with. (I'm still sad about Tiger Burning Bright, as that cooperation with Andre Norton and Mercedes Lackey was phenomenal.)
rymenhild: Manuscript page from British Library MS Harley 913 (Default)

[personal profile] rymenhild 2017-02-20 04:16 pm (UTC)(link)
I agree with alexseanchai here because The Mists of Avalon, besides being extremely anachronistic on modern Wicca in sixth-century Britain, is really, really rapey. Contextualizing the book with Bradley's history is beyond unpleasant.

(Anonymous) 2017-02-20 05:58 pm (UTC)(link)
I remember reading it when I was a teen because so many of my friends LOVED it both for the feminist slant and the poly story, and just finding everyone weird and unlikable, and the sex... pretty sketchy.

I also voted kill on it, because it seems like it might be time to dig out this foundation and lay something else down.
muccamukk: Spiral staircase decending multiple levels inside a tower.. (Default)

[personal profile] muccamukk 2017-02-20 05:59 pm (UTC)(link)
That was me.

Dreamwidth still logging me out.

ETA: I voted F on a couple that I've been interested in though haven't read or haven't read recently, but you're already keeping the M ones for me.

My reaction to Darkover was the same as to TMA, incidentally.
Edited 2017-02-20 18:16 (UTC)
egret: egret in Harlem Meer (Default)

[personal profile] egret 2017-02-21 07:24 am (UTC)(link)
I voted F because it is so influential but it does have all the issues discussed above. Also, the poly as I recall is not really that great but I remember thinking it was homophobic. It has been years since I've read it, but I remembered the poly presentation bothered me as unnecessarily negative. So maybe just kill it!
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[personal profile] recessional 2017-02-20 10:52 pm (UTC)(link)
I voted "K" but that's because I dislike the book and have no particular need or interest in grounding myself in modern traditions Arthuriana, as if/when I fuck around with Arthuriana I go back to the mediaeval stuff to start with.

So for me it really comes down to why you'd want to read it? I mean if one's interest is actually modern SF, and modern reinventions of the tradition, etc, it's probably indispensible, and see below: re Horrific People and their Art.
recessional: a small blue-paisley teapot with a blue mug (Default)

[personal profile] recessional 2017-02-21 06:03 am (UTC)(link)
I think you could probably serve that end with a good Cliff Notes type read and tagging for an alpha or beta reader who knows it well, too! So.
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[personal profile] watersword 2017-02-20 04:37 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh my god I had forgotten MZB was involved with Tiger Burning Bright and now I retroactively have to scrub my brain I loved that book when I was a teenager.
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)

[personal profile] alexseanchai 2017-02-20 04:43 pm (UTC)(link)

:(

recessional: a small blue-paisley teapot with a blue mug (Default)

[personal profile] recessional 2017-02-20 10:46 pm (UTC)(link)
FWIW: if we were to actually feel horrible for enjoying all art ever created by Hideously Awful People, we'd be consigning most art in history to the furnaces. (My favourite example being Beethoven, who utilized his position to steal his nephew from said nephew's mother and then drove said nephew to the brink of suicide, and who was basically emotionally abusive to everyone in his life ever, so.)

Horrific people can, in spite of themselves, make good art. The art doesn't justify their horrificness, but their horrificness also doesn't automatically remove their art. *hands*
recessional: a small blue-paisley teapot with a blue mug (Default)

[personal profile] recessional 2017-02-21 06:02 am (UTC)(link)
I also think that there's a certain amount of . . . *grasps* like I found MYSELF stamping very hard on a not particularly admirable impulse, post-finding-out, which is that I just don't LIKE MoA and never have, and never liked any of her other stuff, and everyone else did and I always felt Pressured or Judged. So finding out she was a Terrible Person hit this really strong inclination to a more violent rejection and labelling all of her stuff as TAINTED OMG!! (I had the same impulse with Card, mind.)

Which I personally feel is bullshit, and I know a lot of women, especially either older women or women who were raised in particularly repressed backgrounds, where it really was the first thing they came across that gave them a feeling of identification/etc, and that's a shitty way to treat THEM, so I did stamp on that impulse.

Like I think you're right too - I think there's a lot of stuff contributing to the reactions I've seen. But when it comes down to it, I strongly feel that judging art by the moral failures or successes of the artist is a mug's game. Lots of horrible people make good art, and lots of wonderful people make terrible art, and the art remains, and all we can do is use the art to make US better, regardless of the person who made it. /rambling

Which may be self-justification because my favourite example is actually very germane to me, because on the one hand I find everything he did REPREHENSIBLE and that's just the stuff we have confirmation of (we have no idea what he actually DID to end up with his nephew deciding death was better . . . ), and then on the other you will take the 9th out of my cold dead hands. SO.
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[personal profile] alatefeline 2017-02-20 05:53 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you; I was unaware of this, and now need to process.