Five or six years ago, I read The Worm Ouroboros by E. R. Eddison and, like so many others, I was blown away by it. Eddison, for the unenlightened, was among the first great fantasy authors. He wrote a generation before Tolkien first produced The Hobbit, at a time when little epic fantasy existed and there were no rules for the genre. And he wrote well. The Worm Ouroboros is a triumph of action and adventure, larger-than-life personalities in equally large landscapes, magic, mystery, romance, and pure writing skill. For his style and subject, Eddison looked back towards ancient epics and fairy tales, but blended them with a plot and characters worthy of a 500-page novel.
Given its greatness, you’d expect me to start immediately on Eddison’s other fantasy work: The Zimiamvia Trilogy, wouldn’t you? I’d expect me to do so too. Strange things happen in my reading career, however. Since I first became a voracious science fiction and fantasy geek, I’ve discovered scores of excellent authors. I don’t have time to finish the oeuvre of one before I discover the next. In fact, I don’t think there’s a single author out there for whom I’ve read the complete published works. I will, of course, pick up Eddison’s trilogy someday. Just don’t ask me which day.