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Favorite fantasy authors: Guy Gavriel Kay

Canadian native Guy Gavriel Kay is a relative newcomer to fantasy, but I'm very taken with his work. Like R.A. MacAvoy, he doesn't hit you over the head with magical pyrotechnics---the people and their changes are the center of the story.

The supernatural elements in his work are generally very subtle when they show up at all, considerably less than the average Stephen King novel. So why is Kay banned to the F&SF ghetto?

Kay's first notable achievement was working on the posthumous publication of J.R.R. Tolkien's Silmarillion in collaboration with Tolkien's son Christopher. Despite this deep immersion in the Tolkien mythos, I give Kay a very low ``Tolkien Number'' of 2. Kay's work resembles Tolkien's work very little in atmosphere. The style is not the ponderous, mythic style of Tolkien but a very natural, unobtrusive modern fiction style. The scenery is well-painted, and his characters really breathe (and sweat).

Here is his entire output as of this writing, with the most recent works first.

Next: Favorite fantasy authors: Gene Wolfe
See also: Shipman's reading list: fantasy and ``soft SF''
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John W. Shipman,
Last updated: 2005/10/14 05:00:20