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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Rite by Tad Williams

Rite by Tad Williams. Burton, Missouri: Subterranean Press, 2006. ISBN: 978-1-59606-066-1

Tad Williams is most notably and justifiably famous for his massively complicated series: the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn fantasy series, a classic trilogy, then the incredibly even more massive Otherland series (FOUR massive volumes) which reads like fantasy, but is technically science fiction, since much of it takes place in an incredibly complex virtual reality that is computer generated. And then there was the massive stand-alone fairy tale story, The War of the Flowers.

I see that I'm getting quite carried away with the use of the word “massive,” but to be honest, I don't know a better one. All of Tad's books are enormous tomes, immensely satisfying to the serious reader, who loves nothing better than to sink his or her teeth into something that won't be finished in a day or two, or even in a week, unless you've got nothing else to do but read, read, read, 12 hours a day.

And now I see that Tad is in the middle of another fantasy series, titled Shadowmarch, the first volume of which came out in 2004, and I hadn't even heard of it until I looked him up on Wikipedia, via the eponymous Google. Tad's own web site is remarkably unhelpful when it comes to finding out what all he's written, and when, etc.

But I really ought to get back to Rite, which is what I'm supposed to be riteing (make that “writing”) about. All of Tad's books that I listed above are HIGHLY recommended for anyone who enjoys fantasy (as I mentioned, even Tad's SciFi often reads like fantasy). They are immensely satisfying reads (there, I'm repeating myself again.)

But Rite, I have to admit, is primarily for the Tad Williams aficionado, the fanatic, who just has to read, devour and inwardly digest everything Tad has written. Unless you're one of those people, I can't recommend Rite as a starting place for Tad. I just wasn't that impressed with most of the stories. Short stories don't seem to be Tad's forte, somehow.

But if you ARE a fan, you will at the very least, want to read the introductory pieces, “Why I Write What I Write,” and it's reflexive introduction, which explains “Why I Write Things Like 'Why I Write What I Write' (And Why I Wrote the Other Things in Rite) Right?” And you'll most definitely want to read “The Happiest Dead Boy in the World,” a sort of “how he lived happily ever after” (or did he?) sequel to the Otherland books. Unless, of course, you've already read it in the Robert Silverberg Legends II anthology for which it was written.

So there, I've said my piece. Go and do likewise. Or at least, go read something.

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