Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Jack Vance still lives!

Supposedly, John Adams on his deathbed proclaimed, "Thomas Jefferson still lives!" unaware that his friend had died only hours earlier.

Anyway, with Ray Bradbury passing, we are nearing the end of the Golden Age of science fiction authors. Our Forefathers, if you will, our Founding Fathers. I looked up the list under "Golden Age" in Wiki, and only two are left: Jack Vance and Fred Pohl.

I like both of these authors, but I think Vance is a genius, whose fame is likely to grow like Philip K. Dick, after he's gone. Or maybe not. His books can be challenging. But I love them.

Was talking to employee, Matt, who mentioned that he'll be pissed if he doesn't meet Stan Lee before he dies. Comics Golden Age ranges just a little behind the science-fiction era, the writers and artists were probably just a little younger -- but, yeah, the end of that generation is fast approaching. Steve Ditko still lives, too. Jack Kirby is gone.

(Update -- I'm wrong. These are Silver Age comics guys, who came into prominence in the 60's... The Golden Age guys (Siegel and Shuster) are long gone. What was I thinking?)

What's interesting to me is that -- in my opinion -- the templates they created are still going strong, while the actual writing and art -- in my opinion -- of today's authors and artists is much more sophisticated and polished. Could today's authors have created the same templates if they had had the chance? Interesting question. Like the 60's rock and rollers. Like the novel writers of the 20's and 30's.

The fact that there are so many more books, movies, comics and music being created means that no template can really take hold, except once in a blue moon. A Harry Potter spawns a million stories, a Gone with the Wind, a Lord of the Rings. But it's as if the template has been established, and everyone who tries to break away just seems -- gimmicky, somehow.

Were they geniuses? Or just first? What are the odds that they were both?

I've never quite understood how that happens.

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