Robin Hobb (penname for Megan Lindholm) is a globally recognized, acclaimed writer. Her tales of Fitzchivalry Farseer are some of the most beloved fantasies on the shelves. She’s written two trilogies about the Royal Bastard and has begun a third trilogy which is being called “Fitz and the Fool.” Here at the Completist, I’ve tried to feature authors who may have flown under the radar but this time around, I’m featuring a series that doesn’t necessarily feature the author’s best known character. Admittedly, Robin Hobb is far from such an “under the radar” author. (At one point in time, there was talk of her outselling George R.R. Martin in Europe). With that, let me introduce you to Bingtown, a port/trading city south of the Six Duchies (the primary location of the novels featuring FitzChivalry Farseer) and the primary setting for “The Liveship Traders” trilog. Like some previous installments of this column, it has been quite a while since I read these books (I read them as each book was published 1998, 1999, 2000), but much of the emotional impact of the novels remains very strongly with me.
[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]
On episode 224 of the SF Signal Podcast, a discussion began about how epic fantasy can sometimes be too long, too detailed, too sprawling, often getting weighed down by its own epicness, and running the risk of losing the reader. With that podcast and the comments it generated in mind, I asked our panelists this question:
Q: Is something Wrong With Epic Fantasy? If yes, how might it be fixed?
Here’s what they said…
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Worldbuilders, a non-profit organization founded by Patrick Rothfuss, is raising money for their cause by offering a 2013 Fantasy Pin-Up Calendar. All proceeds from the sale of the calendar will go to Worldbuilders in support of Heifer International.
Robin Hobb was born in California in 1952, but was raised in Alaska. Marrying at eighteen, she moved to Kodiak, an island off the coast of Alaska. It was at this time that she sold her first short story, and began a career writing for children’s magazines. “Bones for Dulath” in Amazons!, published by DAW, was the first piece of fantasy that she published as Megan Lindholm, and that anthology won a World Fantasy Award for Year’s Best Anthology. From 1983 to 1992, she wrote exclusively under the pseudonym Megan Lindholm. Fiction under that pseudonym tends to be contemporary fantasy. In 1995, she began use of the pseudonym Robin Hobb for works of epic traditional European Medieval and American Frontier Fantasy. She currently publishes under both names and lives in Tacoma, Washington. As of 2003 she had sold over 1 million copies of her first nine Robin Hobb novels. She has recently finished writing a third volume in The Rain Wild Chronicles. The volumes are named The Dragon Keeper, Dragon Haven and City of Dragons. Her latest release, The Inheritance, is a collection of short fiction by both Robin Hobb and Megan Lindholm. She can be found on Facebook and at her websites: http://www.robinhobb.com/ or http://www.meganlindholm.com/
SFFWRTCHT: Let’s start with the basics: Where did your interest in Science Fiction and Fantasy come from?
Robin Hobb: My mom. When we lived in Fairbanks when I was about 11, she patronized the second-hand stores there, and often would come home with the digest sized magazines and SF paperbacks. Amazing. Fantastic. Those are the titles of the magazines, but, yes they lived up to their names. I would get them after her and read all the contents in order from shortest stories to longest. From those, I graduated to the paperbacks. Never regretted it!
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Curl up with your kittens, folks! It’s time for another Book Cover Smackdown!
Here are the contenders…
Your Mission (should you choose to accept it): Tell us which cover you like best and why.
Books shown here:
- Blackveil by Kristen Britain (Artist: Donato Giancola)
- The Inheritance by Robin Hobb/Megan Lindholm (Artist: Unknown)
- The Floating Islands by Rachel Neumeier (Artist: Unknown)
NOTE: Bigger, better cover art images are available by clicking the images or title links.