Dan Goodman's prediction and politics journal.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Fantasy -- Not Just For Optimists Anymore: Dan Crawford's Novels

A former prostitute on the verge of adolescence isn't the usual fantasy character. Dan Crawford's three published novels (Rouse a Sleeping Cat, The Sure Death of a Mouse, and A Wild Dog and Lone) are grimmer and more sordid than this might suggest. The quaint medievaloid city is a slum.

I wouldn't have expected a major fantasy publisher to take them on. But they were published by Ace. Why? I suspect because someone at Ace thought there were fantasy readers tired of the usual medievaloid fantasy, who would like something grittier. Disenchantment rather than enchantment.

It worked, to some extent. I read the first two books. But not the third; by then I had decided I preferred more optimistic writers such as Stephen R. Donaldson. Since no more were published, I suspect I wasn't alone.

Could something similar be published today? I suspect it would have to come from a small publisher. Could it be profitable? Not in the long run, I don't think.

Rouse a Sleeping Cat (1993), Dan Crawford, Ace, pb, 0-441-73553-3, $4.99, 251pp
The Sure Death of a Mouse (1994), Dan Crawford, Ace, pb, 0-441-00024-X, $4.99, 248pp
A Wild Dog and Lone (1995), Dan Crawford, Ace, pb, 0-441-00183-1, $5.50, 360pp

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