Wednesday, March 28, 2012

You used to read what???

My Early Literary Influences

by Linda Robertson

What I recall best from those voraciously reading teen years of mine, is the Dragonlance books by Weiss and Hickman, the Sword Dancer series by Jennifer Roberson, and the Jhereg books by Steven Brust. Now, some of you may nit-pick the 'literary' qualities of genre fictions, and poo-poo my notion that these books qualify, but then I usually don't like the movies that win Oscars, either.

by Margaret Weiss & Tracy Hickman

Reading about a “Scooby-gang” in a fantasy world of swords, sorcery and dragons was better than having a Hershey bar and a Pepsi for breakfast. And, for that time period, that's saying something.

These were re-released in 2000 with updated covers, but I still like the old artwork. (Not knocking the newer, its great too, but this holds the magic of nostalgia for me.) I bought the "Art of Dragonlance" books as well.

Me = Geek.


by Jennifer Roberson

Follow up that powerful introduction to strong women characters like Laurana and Moongold—not to mention Kitiara—with Del from the Sword Dancer books. Though never first person her point of view, Del was my hero. I wanted to be Del because she was a Sword Dancer, just as good as the men in her world.

Perhaps this was so appealing because I was only sixteen or seventeen then and my band was playing in bars and getting paid just like the local boy-bands, only the “boys” were in their mid-to-late twenties and I could definitely hold my own.


by Steven Brust

And then there was Jhereg. The main character was a very cool assassin with a pet lizard/small dragon that rode on his shoulder. The critter was quite a character in himself, and he could speak to his cocky master--Vlad--in his mind. Did I mention that Vlad could perform some small time magic, but occasionally had to teleport, which made him sick as a dog.

He seemed more detective than assassin in my recollections, like he was new to it and he was growing into some kind of fantasy mob-boss. Guess I’ll have to re-read them now.

What these all have in common, is they are set in fantasy worlds nothing like Earth and they had beautiful artwork on the covers that reeled me in.

So…a “Scooby gang” fantasy adventure that saved a world, strong women characters I could identify with, and a smart-ass magical assassin who ends up doing a bit of sleuthing.

No surprise I cite these as my early influences, huh?


  1. OMG, I loved the Dragonlance books and the Vlad Taltos series. I never heard of the Sword Dancer series, though. Thanks. =o)

  2. Those 70s and 80s covers are such a gas! (that's just for Carolyn Crane)

  3. I remember those Sword-Dancer books! My aunt had the whole set, but for some reason I never read them and I have no idea why. I read just about everything else she had. Something else to put on my TBR on the Kindle, I think. :D I love an old school S&S book.

  4. Steven Brust rocks! I love his stuff. Even though I don't think you get the complete Brust experience unless you happen to be a Gypsy.