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The Loss of a Fantasy Legend

June 3, 2009

It is fitting that the day dawned overcast and a bit rainy here in Dallas today.  The news I read this morning brought that same gloom to my heart.

David Eddings is dead.  Torak’s teeth!  Eddings is dead.  He was 77.

My first serious attempts at writing were in the fantasy genre.  This was because of the authors I read and admired at the time (junior high and high school).  Terry Brooks for his ability to bring a Dungeons and Dragons type of sword and sorcery world to life in epic proportions in The Sword of Shannara and its follow-ups. Piers Anthony had the sort of humor in the Xanth series that appealed to my early teen self.

Then there was David Eddings.  I’m convinced that the reason I hold the view of characterization that I do today is because of the characters I met in The Belgariad and The Mallorean.  He wrote that first purely for money.  Tolkien was riding high with his series (I didn’t list him as an early influence because I never could finish his books until later.) and Eddings saw fantasy as a way to, for want of a better term, make some “easy” cash.

Most books written just for the pay have that stink about them.  The stink of greed killing the artistic process.  Not so with Eddings’ books.  The world was thought out so fully and the characters so well developed that these books were destined for greatness.  In fact, Lester Del Rey told Eddings that he had written a classic.  I would have to agree with that assessment.  It wasn’t until years after I read Pawn of Prophecy that I learned that Eddings’ wife, Leigh, had just as much to do with my beloved series as David did.

I came across this interview with Eddings conducted in 2006.  Of course, the interview was handwritten and faxed since Eddings didn’t use a typewriter, let alone a computer.

David, you are now rejoined with Leigh.  Know that I would not have the view of crafting all fiction I have today without your influence.  For that, and the many wonderful hours questing from the farms of Sendaria to the exotic lands of Mallorea, I thank you.  You will both be sorely missed as we vainly attempt to fill the fantastic void left by your departure from the world of active writing.

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