I hold Saladin Ahmed largely … hmm, entirely responsible for my current fantasy reading. Well, I’m responsible for the whittling down of the choices, but nonetheless, I read his Throne of the Crescent Moon, thought it was brilliant, plundered the internet for what else he’d wrote, which caused me to read the Fearsome Journeys anthology, where I found several delightful authors, and lalala off to the bookshop! Anthologies, the best way to find new authors.
K. J. Parker, then. Gender non-denominational. A pseudonym even. Possibly living in England, just read an interview with them and there was something of the Banks (that’d be Iain) in the smart, quiet, droll intelligence. Fantasy, also. -ish. Well, obviously, given the anthology I first read them in. Knows how to wield semi-colons and blacksmith hammers.
There were a few stories in Fearsome Journeys I liked enough to look up the authors, and of those four or so I thought would be worth reading more of. KJP’s story, The Dragonslayer of Merebarton somehow got me through the writing. The story also, but the writing and the person behind the words. When The Folding Knife arrived, I had no recollection of who they were or why I decided to buy it (not so unusual), and writing this, a quick return to the Dragonslayer wasn’t enough for me to conjure up the story in its entirety, but I did remember the feeling of it, smart (that word again), also melancholic, tragic even.
Now I’m a few chapters in and ooh yes, expect if it keeps on at this rate I’ll be doing my “Collect the Whole Set!” routine on Parker. (Though I do have four other fiction works to get through, as well as a reading list that is heavily skewed towards gender stuff for the next couple of months, and several other fiction pieces after that which fall into the filling in the gaps category, so I might not be returning to Parker until spring.)