An interview with John R Fultz
John R. Fultz lives in the North Bay Area of California but grew up in Kentucky. John's Books of the Shaper trilogy includes SEVEN PRINCES, SEVEN KINGS, and SEVEN SORCERERS (Orbit Books). His short story collection, THE REVELATIONS OF ZANG, is a series of interrelated tales born in the pages of WEIRD TALES and BLACK GATE. John's work has also appeared in YEAR'S BEST WEIRD FICTION (Vol. 1), THAT IS NOT DEAD, SHATTERED SHIELDS, LIGHTSPEED: YEAR ONE, WAY OF THE WIZARD, CTHULHU'S REIGN, THE BOOK OF CTHULHU II, and other fine publications.
For more information on John, visit www.johnrfultz.com.
Is there a book you own which can put a smile on your face and make you feel happy simply by holding it in your hand?
Oh, yes. I am in love with quite a few books. One that puts a smile on my face and makes me feel happy simply from holding it in my hand is my old hardcover copy of J.R.R. Tolkien's THE SILMARILLION (which is also my favourite Tolkien book). Another one that does the same thing to me is my softcover Necronomicon Press edition of Clark Ashton Smith's TALES OF ZOTHIQUE. Both of these books are inexhaustible fonts of fantastical inspiration.
Which book or series makes you feel most nostalgic, remembering the period in your life you first read it?
I'd have to say Michael Moorcock's ELRIC saga. I read it as a teenager in the 80s, and it completely blew my mind. There is still very little in fantasy today that can compare with the journeys of Moorcock's doomed albino prince. I'm currently re-reading the saga in the form of European graphic novels which are adapting the series volume by volume. I'm also a fan of the Marvel Comics ELRIC adaptations that came out in the 70s/80s. There's nothing like those original ELRIC novels and collections.
Which book or series makes your blood pump and your palms sweaty?
Tanith Lee's TALES FROM THE FLAT EARTH. I discovered this series in my early 20s (i.e. the early 1990s), and it inspired me more than almost any other series. There are five volumes: NIGHT'S MASTER, DEATH'S MASTER, DELIRIUM'S MASTER, followed by DELIRIUM'S MISTRESS and NIGHT'S SORCERIES. I just heard the news today that Tanith passed away, so she's been on my mind. I've been singing the praises of her FLAT EARTH books for over two decades now, but she has many other great works. The FLAT EARTH is the most pure and magical fantasy since the original ARABIAN NIGHTS. Here was a Storyteller - when comes such another?
Are there any authors in particular that have been inspirational to you and influential upon your work?
I already mentioned Tolkien, Smith, Moorcock, and Lee, so in the interest of balance let me talk about a modern author who really influenced me: R. Scott Bakker. I started reading his PRINCE OF NOTHING series, which begins with THE DARKNESS THAT COMES BEFORE, back in '05. It was exactly what I had been waiting for - a sprawling epic of high fantasy that features believable, complex characters, a unique take on sorcery, mythic overtones delivered in stunning detail, and an undercurrent of philosophy that is quite mind-expanding. All of these things and more make Bakker's work stand out, and it inspires the hell out of me. I can't wait for his next book, THE UNHOLY CONSULT. Other modern writers who have influenced me in a big way include Darrell Schweitzer, Gene Wolfe, Robert Silverberg, and George R.R. Martin.
And finally, Fantasy Book Review is all about recommending the best reads the genre has to offer. Could you please offer our readers a fantasy recommendation of your own?
You can't go wrong with any of the above authors and/or books, but I'll add one more: A lot of people seem to have missed Tanith Lee's last great series, THE LIONWOLF TRILOGY. It consists of CAST A BRIGHT SHADOW, HERE IN COLD HELL, and NO FLAME BUT MINE. This series was a blatant defiance of those who say you have to keep the magic "small." This was Big Magic, Big Adventure, the way only Tanith Lee could do it.
About THE TESTAMENT OF TALL EAGLE:
A young warrior's vision-quest unveils an alien city full of magic and mystery. As a tribal rift threatens to destroy Tall Eagle's people, night-crawling devils stalk and devour them, so he seeks the wisdom of the high-flying Myktu. These fantastic beings offer him hope, a chance for rebirth and prosperity, as two separate realities converge. Yet first Tall Eagle must find White Fawn - the girl he was born to love - and steal her back from the camp of his savage enemies. His best friend has become his deadliest rival, and now he must outwit an invading army of conquerors to lead his people into the Land Beyond the Sun.