If you try to find a replacement, you'll be sadly disappointed, I can't be replaced. I'm the only man in all the world who possesses the right combination of qualities for you.You can turn your Ballister stare upon me all you like, but you can't petrify me. You can knock me about to your heart's content without worrying about doing any damage. You can perpetrate any sort of outrage your wicked mind conceives and be sure I'll join in, with a will. You're a troublemaker, Lydia. A Ballister devil. Nothing less than a Mallory hellion would ever suit you." - Vere Mallory -
Mallory dropped her head to the steering wheel. "Look, I'm mad at you, okay? This isn't about me. I know my painful memories are relative. My life is good. I'm lucky. This isn't about how poor little Mallory has had it so hard. I'm not falling apart or anything." He stroked a hand down her back. "Of course you're not. You're just holding the steering wheel up with your head for a minute, that's all.
Many years ago the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want to climb it. He said Because it is there. Well, space is there, and were going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there.
John F. Kennedy
Her entire body quivered. "What is it about me that you're attracted to?" "For starters, the sexy underwear you put on beneath your clothes." "You've only seen my underwear once." "Twice," he said. "I looked down your top at the pier." "You did not." "Pink-and-white polka-dot bra." "Oh my God." "That's what I was thinking." -Mallory and Ty
Arthuriana has become a genre in itself, more like TV soap opera where people think they know the characters. All that's fair enough, but it does remove the mythic power of the feminine and masculine principles. So I prefer it in its original form, even if you have to wade through Mallory's 'Le Morte d'Arthur' - people smashing people for pages and pages! It still has the resonances of myth about it, which makes it work for me. I don't want to know if Mordred led an unhappy childhood or not.
Having to amuse myself during those earlier years, I read voraciously and widely. Mythic matter and folklore made up much of that reading-retellings of the old stories (Mallory, White, Briggs), anecdotal collections and historical investigations of the stories' backgrounds-and then I stumbled upon the Tolkien books which took me back to Lord Dunsany, William Morris, James Branch Cabell, E.R. Eddison, Mervyn Peake and the like. I was in heaven when Lin Carter began the Unicorn imprint for Ballantine and scoured the other publishers for similar good finds, delighting when I discovered someone like Thomas Burnett Swann, who still remains a favourite. This was before there was such a thing as a fantasy genre, when you'd be lucky to have one fantasy book published in a month, little say the hundreds per year we have now. I also found myself reading Robert E. Howard (the Cormac and Bran mac Morn books were my favourites), Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith and finally started reading science fiction after coming across Andre Norton's Huon of the Horn. That book wasn't sf, but when I went to read more by her, I discovered everything else was. So I tried a few and that led me to Clifford Simak, Roger Zelazny and any number of other fine sf writers. These days my reading tastes remain eclectic, as you might know if you've been following my monthly book review column in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. I'm as likely to read Basil Johnston as Stephen King, Jeanette Winterson as Harlan Ellison, Barbara Kingsolver as Patricia McKillip, Andrew Vachss as Parke Godwin-in short, my criteria is that the book must be good; what publisher's slot it fits into makes absolutely no difference to me.
Charles de Lint