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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Fantasy Book Critic’s 2008 Review/2009 Preview — Eldon Thompson


I usually hate this question because it forces me to think back farther than a week or two, which, quite frankly, hurts my head. As if the hamster running my brain isn't working hard enough just turning his wheel, now he has to get down and go sift through the archives. Nevertheless, I do have a first impression, and those are usually the best. So, a pair of memorable reads from 2008 would be
Jess Walter'sThe Zero” and James Clemens'Shadowfall”.

Walter'sThe Zero” was a finalist for the National Book Award. It deals with the aftermath of 9/11 and a hero cop on the trail of... well, problem is, he has trouble remembering. With memory gaps a part of his daily life, he can't seem to figure out if he is hunting terrorists, or if he himself is working for them. It's an engaging, sometimes bizarre tale from an author who, with a single phrase, can cut deeply profound insights into the nature of man and his modern society.

Clemens'Shadowfall” is an epic fantasy that I'd place somewhere in the area between
Terry Brooks' Shannara and George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice & Fire. It's high adventure such as Brooks likes to tell, but with some of the more mature themes and imagery that Martin has been known to traffic in. I give it the highest possible marks in terms of imaginative world-building, with details both gritty and fanciful, delivered in such a way that never bog down the story. At its heart is the tale of a fallen knight wrongfully dubbed “godslayer” after witnessing the murder of an immortal god. Blessed (some might call it cursed) by the god's touch, the knight ventures forth to clear his name and to stop the terrible evil that actually perpetrated the deed. The second book in this series, “Hinterland”, has already been released. The remainder of the tale is said to be forthcoming.


I've not yet reached the level of professional recognition at which authors or their marketing departments are begging me for praise that can be printed as jacket quotes on their newest releases. As such, I'm not in the best position to offer an insider's look at what readers should be salivating over for the near future. What I have had the pleasure of doing, while attending various writers conferences, is catching a sneak peak of emerging talents whose work has not yet found a publisher but is in the process of doing so. From the “you heard it here first” column, be on lookout for names like
Shawn Speakman, J. Scott Nelson, Steven Booth, Heather McCorkle, Michaela Renee, and Lynnette Baum. I've also read work recently from Mike Ness, Luke Ganje, and Johnathan Creech. Hopefully one or two of them will remember us little people as they make their way to the top of the publishing world. Oh, and so that I don't veer completely off topic, I will add that I've heard nothing but praise for Robert V. S. Reddick'sThe Red Wolf Conspiracy”, which Del Rey will be bringing stateside in 2009.


Keeping me busy at the moment are a number of screenwriting projects in various stages of development. But I'm gradually forcing my focus back to the book world and some of the stories I want to tell now that my Legend of Asahiel trilogy is complete. While there are a number of directions I could turn, fan interest seems to be pressuring me to pick up the adventures of the young assassin, Kylac Kronus, who, true to his wandering nature, ventured off on his own after the events of “The Crimson Sword”. I've invited readers to use their own imaginations as to his whereabouts, but that doesn't seem sufficient to satisfy anyone, so I guess I should go ahead and tell the tale. Beyond that . . . well, let's just see if I survive 2009 before I think too much about what might be in store for 2010.


Eldon Thompson is a professional author and screenwriter best known for his screenplay of
Terry Brooks’The Elfstones of Shannara” which was optioned for film adaptation by Warner Bros. Eldon is also the author of The Legend of Asahiel epic fantasy trilogy. For more information, please visit the author’s Official Website.

NOTE: For more author responses, please visit Fantasy Book Critic's 2008 Review/2009 Preview index


michaela renee said...

Hard to believe 2010 is sneaking up on us...well, at least we have the Chargers at the Super Bowl to look forward to :-)

Heather said...

I must thank Eldon for the shout out. But jeez man, you could have told a girl! You're the best, and far too humble ;)

Luke said...

I second Heather's thanks! Thanks for the shoutout, Eldon! and thanks for the help and advice you've given!


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