Edward: “Hello everyone! We’re back! If you missed the first entry in this series you can find it right Here. Now um… where were we?”
Scott: “Oh yes, our hopefuls. These are a few of the books that we’ve admired over the years, but doubt they’ll meet the cut.
Edward: “Yes indeed. This is our time to name works that sit in the Canon of our hearts, though not, perhaps, one day in the Literary Canon as a whole.
My first pick is easy –
Edward’s Pick That We Aren’t Holding Our Breath For #1:
Till We Have Faces, by C.S. Lewis
“Don’t get me wrong, I think that Till We Have Faces is easily of a high enough quality to be considered for the Canon. Lewis’ fantasy work, a new take on the story of Eros and Psyche through the eyes of Psyche’s sister (a character compiled from Psyche’s sisters in the original tale), is Lewis’ best fictional work. It is a masterpiece of storytelling, with compelling and strong, but deeply flawed, female characters that is a must read for any fan of fantasy, Greek myth, or C.S. Lewis. What will ultimately keep this choice from entry into the Canon is its obscurity. You never hear it mentioned whenever anyone talks about Lewis and his work, and that is an utter shame. I do not know how many can lay claim to having read it, but I assure you, it is not nearly enough.
“Now I’m intrigued, Scott. What is your choice going to be?”
Scott: “I truly haven’t read your first choice, but this back-and-forth has given me a lot of great recommendations.”
Edward: “Good recommendations are half the fun of lists like these!”
Scott: “And here is mine:”
Scott’s Pick That We Aren’t Holding Our Breath For #1:
The Discworld Series, by Terry Pratchett
Scott: “The Discworld series is a vast collection of books written about a world laced with myth, legend, and fun all rolled into one. Personally, I’d love to see these wonderful books in the canon, especially Nightwatch, which is a personal favorite of mine. Pratchett is really able to not only access a large variety of myths: trolls, dwarves, ogres, vampires, zombies, Egypt, and really anything you can think of. However, he stacks them together in a world where myth meets the day to day life of cities and there aren’t enough hills for mad scientists to build castles. One of the reasons I doubt this will be added is because of its humor, it is masterfully done, but the canon tends not to lean towards the comic.”
Edward: “Another tragedy, in my book, Scott; I completely agree that it faces a steep climb to Canon-hood. It’s strange for a Canon that includes such humorous entries as Gulliver’s Travels and A Midsummer Night’s Dream to snub modern humor. Another unfortunate sign of the Canon’s dwindling relevance.
“My second pick was hard, deciding between my final choice and The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss (which I ultimately decided against because I think it does have a shot at Canon-hood.)
Edward’s Pick That We Aren’t Holding Our Breath For #2:
The Mistborn Trilogy, by Brandon Sanderson
“The Mistborn trilogy is excellent in a number of ways. First is its impeccable world building. Sanderson knows how to create a unique and immediately identifiable landscape, culture and mythos, not to mention a very inventive magical system that is as tactically interesting as it is cinematically described. Secondly, it has very well drawn characters that, while occasionally bordering on stereotypes, land more firmly on the archetype side of the fence, with the important characters especially going through interesting growth and changes. Thirdly, Sanderson does a marvelous job of undercutting some of the foundations of the fantasy genre. One of the major influences on the story was the simple question, “What if the hero lost?” This sets up a fascinating plot that is unique in the genre.
“What will keep this out of the Canon is ultimately the fact that as interesting as the series is, it doesn’t have nearly the impact or weight of the heavy-hitters in the genre, and outside of some interesting musings on religion, it has little commentary or importance outside of itself. The events and plot are great, but they also feel somewhat remote from the reader, and don’t have much relevance in real life. This is not a knock at the story’s quality, but it is a problem when it comes to inclusion in the Canon.”
Scott: “Sanderson has been truly impressive with the additions to the Wheel of Time, but I personally haven’t read the Mistborn trilogy. Even though these books aren’t exactly our primary choices for the canon, they are all fantastic books with many others out there.”
Scott’s Pick That We Aren’t Holding Our Breath For #2:
The Crown of Stars, by Kate Elliot
“Elliot’s series examines a world reminiscent of our dark ages; a land controlled by religious paranoia and the fear of war with an unknown force. Though this work will not be familiar to a large group, Elliot’s introduction of magic into a medieval world makes it a highly philosophical series, but not without a dramatic story of war and feudal honor. Those with historical training will be able to understand the full extent in which the series mimics the Church’s overwhelming influence over Europe. Unfortunately, I doubt it’s inclusion in the canon because, although Elliot creates a vivid and complex world, the story sometimes becomes bogged down with too much complexity and extensive desciption. Even so, I would recommend this as this has been one of my favorite fantasy series.”
Edward: “Yeah, that’s another one that I’ve never really heard of before. The middle ages have been a source for fantasy inspiration for a long time, and the politics of the Catholic Church is full of material for plots and world scenarios. It’s always good to see it when somebody does it right.
“Well, I’m sure we could go on and on about specific works in the Fantasy Genre, but it’s time we turned our gaze elsewhere. To the stars!
“… Next time!”