Monday, November 22, 2010

100 Days of Fantasy: Day 99

This is an ongoing series looking at books that have influenced me as a fantasy author.

Wizard's First Rule
by Terry Goodkind

Wizard's First Rule (The Sword of Truth)Let me say right up front, Terry Goodkind is not my favorite author. He's not even my favorite fantasy author. He's a decent writer, but his prose doesn't blow my mind or anything. His plotting, as well, doesn't do much that's not already been done, nor are his characters all that unfamiliar.

But, admittedly, I say that having only read this one novel written by the man.

And I did, indeed, like the novel.

So, with all my seemingly less-than-stellar evaluation of the author, why do I like Wizard's First Rule.

One reason. The themes behind the tale.

I don't want to go into a whole philosophical history, and I'm definitely not interested in a debate, but Goodkind's writing is based around objectivism, a philosophy of the individual that's sort of a meant to be an atheistic super capitalism (my apologies for objectivists who find this description lacking ... but I'm not going to go on for thousands of words trying to explain objectivism, especially when the reader can check it out at elsewhere). Objectivism originally became somewhat influential through the writings of author Ayn Rand, a favorite author of mine.

One would think that with all my mushy goodness about objectivism that I would be a fan of the philosophy. I'm not. Or, at least, not in whole. I believe it is quite seriously lacking on a lot of philosophical fronts. But, that being said, I do believe objectivism offers a lot of positive aspects, the main one being a strong belief in the individual.

Ayn Rand, being the originator of the philosophy, is still the best writing on the subject matter. Also, she's about the only fiction author of whom I'm aware who has written objectivist literature.

With the exception of Goodkind.

One of the thing's I liked so well about Goodkind's Wizard's First Rule was that I was nearly three-fourths of the way through the novel before I realized, "Hey, this guy's writing objectivist fiction!" I was quite surprised, pleasantly, actually. Not only had I discovered another objectivist fiction author, but I'd found one who actually writes fantasy, one of my two favorite genres (the other being horror).

Now, allow me to backtrack just a little. I realize what I wrote at the beginning of this short article was less than flattering about Terry Goodkind's writing. I do not mean to imply he is an awful writer. No, not at all. But by comparison, he's no Rand.

Besides, he must know what he's doing. He's a best-selling author, after all.

Up next: War and Peace

1 comment:

Gustavo said...

Good call there. I've seen Goodkind hammered by the left for being a republican and by other writers for his prose. But you're the first - including myself - to note that he's doing objectivism (he does get into a bit of a pro-war groove later in the series, but is always at odds with the church).

As for that book in particular, I found it disturbing that the clunky writing picked up and became nearly excellent during the lengthy S&M bit. From that point till the end, the novel was actually gripping, and I've been following the series since.