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FantasyReader

Traditional Fantasy

Reviews of books traditionally from the Fantasy genre, not Romance, and some science fiction.

Not enough detail

The Dragon Masters - Jack Vance

I read this because I kept hearing Vance was so good and I thought maybe I missed one of the great Fantasy writers of a bygone era.

 

However, when I began reading, I saw it as very much a thing of its time. It was very dialogue heavy to the exclusion of description. I often wasn't sure who was who as it all had to be worked out from the conversation. here was a big information dump at the beginning of chapter two, but by then I didn't care. The book read like many of the newer amateur self-published books written by white males. all about war, enslaving dragons for the purpose and juggling for leadership or conquering.

 

It did make me think, but more about the evolution of fiction writing over time. These Fantasy books from the 1950s-1960s are very different from say, literature from the Victorians. But something that was considered great back then wouldn't pass muster today. We've become more sophisticated and maybe even arrogant, expecting certain conventions from our writers.

 

The information dumps for example. It was common in the books of that era. Now somebody has taught us that it's wrong, so to get the kind of detailed world building that Traditional Fantasy fans love, writers have to write huge books to work details in that might have been more easily communicated with a couple of pages of info dumping.

 

Vance gets this right. The info dump wouldn't feel like an info dump if I hadn't been conditioned to recognize it as such. He actually didn't do enough of it. It would have been nice to have more background information to the story to keep every thing in context.

 

Anyway, I've satisfied my curiosity about this writer and will move on to newer writers, leaving this in the historical SFF category.