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The wizard under the hill
March 16, 2012 1:49 PM   Subscribe

Alan Garner's Weirdstone of Brisingamen trilogy is to be concluded with Boneland, over 50 years after it started.
posted by Artw (30 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is fantastic news. Garner is a spectacular writer.

Garner, described by Philip Pullman as "better than Tolkien"

Well, that's not difficult. Tolkien may have had imagination and a huge degree of tenacity but he's no prose master.
posted by jokeefe at 2:14 PM on March 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


Wow. that's a blast from my childhood. The Wierdstone was my 'Hobbit' -having discovered it long before Tolkien or any other of the fantasy or sci-fi greats. At this point, the only thing i remember about them is the name, which is almost impossible to forget. Looks like now i've got an excuse to dig them up again.
posted by jadayne at 2:15 PM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Loved his work as a kid, especially Red Shift. I grew up not too far from where most of them were set, in another bit of Cheshire, which added to the imaginative possibilities. Was it on another MeFi post I saw a good documentary where they visit him in his salvaged/restored Tudor house and talk about his work and other passions (drystone walling IIRC).
posted by Abiezer at 2:19 PM on March 16, 2012


Yes, I recall we had a thread where we all drooled over the Owl Service and Garner in general - not that I'm complaining, mind you
posted by infini at 2:25 PM on March 16, 2012


Artw you may wish to add Garner as a tag since right now it says Gardner
posted by infini at 2:26 PM on March 16, 2012


I was gonna lament about the Robert Asprin books I've been waiting like 15 years for, but I look and find that not only did he start the MYTH series again in 2001, but he's fucking dead! God damn it! And more Phule's Company? I guess I just assumed I'd just telepathically know if any of that happened.
posted by cmoj at 2:33 PM on March 16, 2012


The documentary was the one mentioned in this comment on a previous Garner thread; I found it via BitTorrent and if you search for 'Garner Granada 1980' so will you, should you be so inclined.
posted by Abiezer at 2:54 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Heh. I totally missed that thread, and looks like I accidentally omitted the Wikipedia link that it would have shared with this one, so thanks for pointing it out.Wiki links can be a bit meh but it's a good and very detailed article.
posted by Artw at 3:00 PM on March 16, 2012


Ooh, I remember reading this as a kid and really, really liking it, but nothing other than that. Sadly, there don't seem to be any legit e-book versions available. :(
posted by Malor at 3:02 PM on March 16, 2012


(I mean, the first two, obviously, not the one that isn't out yet. :) )
posted by Malor at 3:02 PM on March 16, 2012


Wow, this is so cool. A friend of mine edited the reissues of several of his books, and he invited us to stay with him at his place near Cheshire. He took us all over the Edge and we got to see the actual Golden Stone. Then we spent the night at his 600-year old house, Toad Hall. It was truly a magical couple of days.
posted by capnsue at 3:07 PM on March 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


Fantastic.

Re-read The Owl Service earlier this year, and it was as mysterious and powerful as I remembered it being. Maybe even more so.

If any of you read Garner when you were younger, but not not more recently, you've probably missed Thursbitch. Stunning book.
posted by reynir at 3:12 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I loved that book when I was young. Loved it. Looooved it. It made me a fan of fantasy, and I think it did the mixing of fantastic and mundane elements better than, well, anyone. And the mixture of fantastic menace and geographical horror was just right.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:50 PM on March 16, 2012


I managed to get a similar, if not quite as creepy vibe when I discovered Mythago Wood a few years back.
posted by Artw at 3:55 PM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Not that i don't imagine Mythago Wood couldn't properly get it's hooks into you if you read it at an impressionable age...
posted by Artw at 3:57 PM on March 16, 2012


All I remember from the first book is the extended "crawling through a tunnel the approximate width and height of your body." When they got to the hairpin turn, I had a panic attack.
posted by Scattercat at 3:57 PM on March 16, 2012


crawling through a tunnel the approximate width and height of your body

The Earldelving.

"They lay full length, walls, floor, and roof fitting them like a second skin. Their heads turned to one side, for in any other position the roof pressed their mouths into the sand and they could not breathe."

Alan Garner's description of the children's journey through the tunnel horrified me at age 8 and still horrifies me today. Fantastic books though.
posted by antiwiggle at 4:42 PM on March 16, 2012


If you find a person-shaped hole carved into a cliff side, do not go in there.
posted by Artw at 4:46 PM on March 16, 2012


Oh wow! I remember imagining the mysterious blue light in the middle of the stone as the most beautiful thing ever. And thinking about it when I saw a glacier for the first (and only) time.
posted by Cocodrillo at 4:46 PM on March 16, 2012


All I remember from the first book is the extended "crawling through a tunnel the approximate width and height of your body." When they got to the hairpin turn, I had a panic attack.

Oh lord, that bit with the tunnel. I got to go on a trip through those mines a couple of years ago, and there was a tunnel like that - not quite hairpin-bend, but really narrow and dipping down to the point where you have to do some awkward gymnastics while crawling on your stomach. Worth it, totally (if only to put the nightmares of that scene in the book to rest), but you really do feel like you're in an old, old place with the weight of a hill pressing down on you.

Like Abiezer, I grew up around that part of the world (Alan Garner's wife Griselda, who is wonderful in her own right, taught my dad English at school) and it felt like absolute magic to discover his books as a child. I heartily second reynir's recommendation of Thursbitch for those equally enthralled by his books, or this article about the book for anyone mildly curious.
posted by Catseye at 4:47 PM on March 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


I thought the Demon Princes interval (12 years between books 3 and 4) was a long one. I'm glad I wasn't a Jack Vance Fan in the late 60's. I've always wanted to find and read these books. Now I'm glad I didn't start earlier.

On the other hand, I kind of like "open" endings.
posted by wobh at 4:49 PM on March 16, 2012


cmoj: ... but I look and find that not only did he start the MYTH series again in 2001

I have a suggestion that's going to be very difficult to follow, but believe me, it's very important.

Don't read any of the newer Myth books.
posted by gurple at 4:57 PM on March 16, 2012


Don't read any of the newer Myth books.

This is very very true, and don't make the mistake of thinking it might somehow be enjoyably awful, either.
posted by Wolfdog at 5:36 PM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


That lecture about Thursbitch is just marvelous, Catseye.
posted by jamjam at 5:48 PM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


:(

Is any of the newer stuff any good?
posted by cmoj at 5:48 PM on March 16, 2012


I'm so glad I'm not the only one scarred for life by that tunnel in Weirdstone.
posted by Lebannen at 6:19 PM on March 16, 2012


It is the reason I'm claustrophobic. I'm hoping that I forget it in the five minutes before I go to bed or I won't be able to get to sleep. When I read about the hairpin bend above, I began to hyperventilate.

Weirdstone, Elidor, The Owl Service and Red Shift are superb books, though, where the modern world and the mythological world mingle and interpenetrate. And Garner's use of mythology is never twee or sentimental.

The Moon of Gomrath always felt like the second part of a trilogy, and I'm looking forward to finding out what he does with the story (though Colin and Susan would be in their sixties, now, wouldn't they?)
posted by Grangousier at 6:35 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Geez, and fans give George R. R. Martin shit with "when's the next book?"...
posted by Runes at 8:01 PM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wow!

I read these not so long after they came out, when I was very small. When I saw this headline, I imagined that they had gotten someone else to write the third one - but no!

I'm so there.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:23 AM on March 17, 2012


Are these available as ebooks anywhere?
posted by Runes at 8:17 PM on March 18, 2012


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