Personal blog - and temporary home page until new website is finished - of writer, editor and graphic artist Christopher Mills

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Wednesday Cover: The Black Star

I make no apologies for being a fan of Lin Carter. In recent years, it has become fashionable to deride his fiction for its derivative nature and ignore his contributions to the fantasy and science fiction genres as an author, anthologist and editor. True, his work was "inspired" by the stories of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, Jack Vance, Lester Dent and many others, to the point of pastiche - and, to his credit, he gleefully made no secret about it; but it doesn't mean that his stories weren't good fantasies in their own right. He was a prolific, skilled wordsmith with a fertile, unbounded imagination, and an exemplary editor, and I've enjoyed reading and re-reading his adventures since I was a teenager.

The way I see it, he was simply a man who loved heroic fantasy, and when he had read everything that was available in the genre, he wrote his own. Since that's pretty much what I do, who am I to criticize?

Here is Frank Frazetta's dynamic cover painting to Carter's The Black Star, the first volume in a proposed trilogy of sword & sorcery novels set in ancient Atlantis. Unfortunately, the second and third Atlantean books never materialized; two more among the many unfinished projects left unrealized upon Carter's death in 1988. Despite that, The Black Star is still an entertaining and engaging fantasy adventure.

I've had Lin Carter on the mind of late because I recently acquired several "new" Carter paperbacks - finally completing the Jandar of Callisto and Thongor of Lemuria cycles, and picking up all five of his Zanthodon novels (his "take" on Burroughs' Pellucidar). There's still a couple of dozen Carter books I need to get to complete my collection, but I will... someday....


Rip Jagger said...

Count me in as a Lin Carter fan. As you say, it seems that many like to dismiss him these days, especially Conan purists.

Back in the early 70's Carter was critical in making fantasy marketable and for bringing new readers into the mix. The Ballantine Fantasy series was amazing, and his antholgies were crucial to the genre.

He was a damn good pulp writer pure and simple, and an editor of some significant skill.

Rip Off

BrittReid said...

I loved his Callisto novels (especially Lankar of Callisto, where Lin himself is a character.)
The Thongor books are curiously hard to find, but I've read, and enjoyed the Creatures on the Loose comics adaptations.

Charles Gramlich said...

Definitely my favorite Lin Carter cover. As for Carter himself, I've read most all he's written and have enjoyed it, though I never thought any of it really achieved a masterful level. His Green STar series was probably my favorite.