November 23, 2014

An Observation: Small Works by Big Authors

There is something I have noticed lately - some big (as in famous, high profile) authors that I follow have been writing smaller works lately.

No, this is not a complaint but a trend I have noticed recently, which is most likely coincidence. I am most likely (literally) reading too much into it. 

Some of these works are a part of the world of their more famous writings, other times it is unrelated. Here are some examples.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Great book. My paperback copy clocks in at...178 pages of story, and it begins on page 3.

The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King

This is basically The Dark Tower Book 4.5, but it was written after the seventh book, which is where the story ends. Making this book the 8th one published. my paperback begins on page 3, and is 384 pages. This title is longer than The Gunslinger, though that one is the first book in the series. The rest of the Dark Tower books have are longer than 385 pages. Keyhole is also a 'side story' of sorts - not essential to reading and finishing the 7 main books. But provides more information and 'links' books 4 and 5. Interesting that King wrote a story set in his universe after the main story has already finished and placed it as neither a prelude or follow-up, chronology wise. As far as I can C.S. Lewis did that also, perhaps. 

The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

The next book in Pat's fantasy trilogy is the third and final one, with the possible title of The Doors of Stone. The Slow Regard is a short story (or novella, I forget which is the proper term that Pat gave it) which takes place in his world - a kind of side story. It is by far his shortest work, and to my knowledge the only title that is not a 'big' (main) book to have its own separate release. Some of his other works have appeared in anthologies, but not individually yet. As I am waiting for the paperback release I do not own it yet. 

The Ice Dragon by George R.R. Martin

This one kind of counts, kind of doesn't. According to the 2014 re-release by Harper Voyager, it takes place in the same world as A Song of Ice and Fire. Written by George R.R. in 1980, this predates A Game of Thrones, the first book in Ice and Fire series; which was published in 1996. It has been released a few times since. the latest version, is fully illustrated and contains around 130 pages. Since this reissue came out during the Ice and Fire series, it gets a mention. 

The Fall of Arthur by J.R.R. Tolkien 

The Fall of Arthur is an unfinished poem by Tolkien. The book which came out not too long ago presents what Tolkien wrote of the poem, as well as other contents (Foreword, Note on the Text, Evolution of the Poem, and an Appendix on Old English Verse) however the poem itself is only about 45 pages in length.
Poems are vastly different than 'fiction' or 'fantasy', so this is to be expected. However, with the recent releases of The Children of Hurin, and The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun, the Arthur poem is physically quite a small book. Also, the recently released Beowulf is much longer than it. 

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