Monday, October 28, 2019

Tanith Lee Tribute: Wonder and Imagination


The Wonder of Tanith lee

 The wonder of writing. The reason most of us stubborn authors stick to it is because we love the craft. It is an under appreciated craft.  Fantasy and science fiction, despite immense popularity, is also under appreciated. Without wonder and imagination, our lives would be bleak indeed.

One of the great treats for an author or reader alike is finding an author to cling to and reread over and over. One of those authors for me (among many I worship at the alter of literature) was Tanith Lee.

A long time ago, in a bookstore far away, I discovered Tanith Lee when I was browsing in a used bookstore in Omaha. It was the 90's and used bookstores were all the rage. Now they are hard to find. The comfort of bookstores has vanished in our culture. It is sad, though I know some are thriving, not enough. I love hard copies of books. The texture and feel of the book in my hand. The E book is fine, but it will never give me the joy of a worn beat up paperback with a great cover.

I came across all five of her Tales of the Flat Earth Series and the Birthgrave novel. I picked them up, curious, but not expecting much. Her writing changed that. I was hooked and could not get enough. What I loved about Tanith Lee was her vast imagination and strong use of female characters. Since then I've gathered up almost all of her novels and short stories, enjoying her rich variety of dark fantasy, epic fantasy, horror, science fiction, young adult, fairy tales, and more. Tanith Lee had no constrictions about being confined to in a certain genre. Her voice was vivid. I loved her books. As I was working and learning to become an author myself, it was wonderful to find an author who was a woman, who featured female heroines, and was respected by her peers. She won many awards, including the World Fantasy Award.

Sadly, Tanith Lee passed away in 2015. To be she is a foundation for which both fantasy authors and female writers of the future should aspire. I wish I had met her.  My hope is others continue to discover her works for their own enjoyment.

More later. Until then, read Tanith Lee!


Verna McKinnon