Many years ago I read the initial volumes in the Dragonlance series. They weren’t bad. With the early books in the modern fantasy movement it’s kind of easy to predict how they will end. My problem with the Dragonlance novels was that the authors seemed to make every type of story they wrote revolve around “Dragons,” which after a while did not interest me. Fast-forward ten years…
At the end of college I read Terry Brooks’ Shannara series. They were fun. I later realized just how thoroughly he plagiarized Tolkien, which made me lose a little respect for Brooks. After Brooks, though, I had trouble finding a good fantasy author. And by good I mean an epic-engrossing novel spanning many volumes filled with awe and glory.
Other writers were decent, such as Tad Williams. The problem is that Williams made his protagonists wimpy heroes and heroines. One hero would be fighting in ice caverns in the North on behalf of his lover, all the while she eventually starts banging a real sleezeball. Hey, I understand we often fall in temptation, but she didn’t even resist that hard.
Then you have George RR Martin. Admittedly, he is probably the best storyteller today (Terry Goodkind is a distant second). He does everything objectively well, but his novels are so sordid I eventually had to stop. I’ve never read torture porn, but I am pretty sure Martin was close.
Which brings us backto Weis and Hickman. Maybe formulaic plot stories aren’t that bad after all.