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2-5

[page 2] "On Fantasy-Adventure" was quite absorbing, mainly because before this I hadn't realized that f-a is a separate, special area of fantasy. By the way, I must give my vote to "fantasy- adventure" as a name for this literary division; I can't imagine [page 3] what possible name the Hyborian Legion could have thought they would find. A few bone-pickings concerning your article, however. First, I don't think you have defined f-a at all in your article; you have merely described those things that characterize it, and as you certainly know, definition and description of something are two clearly separate things. A definition of f-a would include all the necessary qualities which comprise it, and it would exclude everything else. I am not going to define f-a because I don't think that I can, but I would like to question some of the qualities, which you think add up to this literary form. For one thing, must the culture level be pre-gunpowder? I @woudn't@ think so. For instance, if the the Orcs in _The Lord of the Rings_ had happened to be equipped with metal rods which shot pellets through the air through the application of fire to a special "secret powder" at the bottom of the rods, would this make the LOTR something other than fantasy- adventure? (I describe guns in this manner because that is probably the way Tolkien would have done it if he had introduced guns into his epic.) I think not. The fact that if this had been true, it would have been merely an incidental fact to the whole fabric of the story, would seem to indicate that the LOTR would still fit the f-a classification. In other words, if a post-gunpowder manifestation is incorporated into the imaginary culture, but is explained in non-scientific terms, then I think the story could still be called a fantasy adventure. All fantasy adventures must necessarily be placed in a world, variant on our own, I'll agree essentially with your statement. I wouldn't @except@ _The Broken Sword_, either, although , the story takes place in a definite historic era in an environment which once existed on earth, the inclusion of the profuse supernatural elements makes it a definite variant world. (Using this criterion as a basis, I wonder if some of the @Scandanavian@ myths could be classified as f-a, dealing as they do with external conditions which we know could not have existed, like Valhalla.) I was also wondering that if an author were to create a new background culture which contained fantastic elements and was non-scientifically explained (all fitting the requirements for a f-a), but did not include the true elements of adventure, could it still be classified as a f-a? [page 4] For example, if Tolkien had used Middle-earth purely as a setting for a story about Hobbit life in the Shire, showing the inter-relationships of a particular Hobbit family with their neighbors and such, but containing no action in the sense of adventure. In other words, a variant culture slice-of-life story, pure and simple. This has never been done before in imaginative literature, to the best of my knowledge, probably because after an author goes to the great trouble of creating a social mileau, he's not going to use it as the basis for a domestic story. Still, I think such a story would be absorbing, if only because of its uniqueness, and I still wonder if it could be classified as f-a, providing the background culture fits the requirements otherwise. (Damn! After all that, I see that I err in the statement: "never done before in imaginative literature." Heinlein, of course, has created a future human relations _sans_-adventure-tale in "The Menace From Earth" in _F&SF_ a few years back. A few others of his Future History series fit this grouping too. Still haven't thought of anything by anyone in that sense that would fit the fantasy-adventure requirement though, have you?) After all that digression, I would like to differ with your article regarding the quality level of f-a. I don't feel that this field (now that you have pointed it out to me) could be called particularily distinctive in terms of . quality of writing. With the exception of Tolkien, Leiber, Pratt, and Kuttner, I would call the level rather low as regards literary merit. The fact that the ideas and background of such stories are so rich may color your opinion of their value otherwise. For example, I think Robert E. Howard was an abominable @write@ -/-Heresy!-/- in terms of his developement of plot and characterization, (Please, Hyborians. I'm too young!). -/-That, also, is _your_ opinion.-/- Aside from the mentioned exceptions, none of the authors would seem to have produced any fantastic literature which would be called exemplary writing: their backgrounds and heavy action content obscure this. I can't understand anyone not being able to identify with the Hobbits. To me, they are the most endearing creatures ever produced in all of fantasy-adventure. The fact of their physical differences @shoudn't@ interfere with full empathy; the very humanity of their actions (and that is _not_ a contradiction) should override their size and other differences from the human form. Tolkien deserves all the praise possible to bestow for the @the@ fact that he extended his creation of a new world to devising a new creature, and as his hero at that. [page 5] GARY DEINDORFER 11 De Cou Drive Morrisville, Penna.