by Linda Robertson
by Jennifer Roberson
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.
THE DRAGONS of AUTUMN TWILIGHT
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?