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James Stoddard

Author of The High House

12+ Works 526 Members 11 Reviews

Series

Works by James Stoddard

The High House (1998) 333 copies, 2 reviews
The False House (2000) 150 copies, 3 reviews
The Night Land, A Story Retold (1656) 19 copies, 2 reviews
Evenmere (2015) 10 copies
The Battle of York 3 copies, 1 review
Evenmere Tales and Other Stories (2023) 3 copies, 1 review
Liberty Bell and the Last American (2021) 2 copies, 2 reviews

Associated Works

Year's Best SF 10 (2005) — Contributor — 233 copies, 5 reviews
L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future, Volume XXVII (2011) — Contributor — 49 copies, 8 reviews
Season of Wonder (2012) — Contributor — 40 copies, 3 reviews
Year's Best Fantasy 9 (2009) — Contributor — 34 copies
Tales From The Magician's Skull, No. 2 (2019) — Contributor — 6 copies
Tales From the Magician's Skull: Special 2 — Contributor — 3 copies

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Reviews

"Evenmere is a house of infinite proportions. Within its gabled halls, beneath its countless roofs, are countries and kingdoms, dominions and principalities, walled fields and farmed courtyards. The manor is the mechanism that regulates the universe, and its many servants light the lamps, wind the clocks, repair the walls, polish the doorknobs -- a thousand tasks -- so light and time and space, the stars and the worlds, continue" -- from "The Ifs of Time."

There are few edifices in all literature that inspire such awe and wonder

The long-awaited collection of James Stoddard's published short fiction (1985 -2022) including a new Evenmere Chronicles novella! :D
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Dr_Bob | Jan 22, 2024 |
A clever and imaginative tale of a quest through a future America.

Liberty Bell and the Last American is a highly-imaginative, amazingly clever, fast-paced romp through a futuristic American landscape after the country has been laid waste in the "Great Blackout." Hundreds of years have passed since the devastation of the planet and its peoples, in which few physical books and nothing that depended on electricity survived. However, during the ensuing centuries, the remnants of the population left on the American continent had cobbled together a version of their history, verbally handed down through the generations and combined with a single found copy of quotations by famous people to create a foundational work called “The Americana.” Unfortunately, the result somewhat resembled what you got at the end of the child’s game known as “Telephone.” Written in “Old American,” not everyone could read the original version, relying solely on modern interpretations. Liberty Bell was one of the few who learned the old language.

Liberty Bell is a lively and lovely young woman. This is her first trip away from her home on her own, so she’s understandably a bit timid at first. However, as her journey is interrupted (and takes a wild left turn), she rarely wavers in her confidence and determination to do the right thing for her country (of which she has a naïve understanding) and for her companions.

The author is supremely clever in reimagining the language of the day, recombining idioms, maxims, proverbs, or aphorisms into new common phrases. Old ideas jumbled together with current cultural references entertained me to the very end and are probably my favorite element in the book.

But while the malapropisms shine, the author ingeniously uses actual quotations from historical figures to develop their dialogue throughout the story. The literal battle of quotes between chess pieces representing Jefferson and Churchill left me in awe. Winnowing through what was surely hundreds of documented utterances by these two and coming out with such a coherent whole is an amazing feat to me.

The landscape through which the characters wander is also the result of taking reality and revising it to account for the alterations of time, climate, and supposedly lost source documents. At times, I was reminded of Dorothy’s journey through Oz on her way to the Emerald City; not only did the scenery have some of the same ‘look and feel,‘ but there was also the quest-like nature of the journey itself.

Stoddard has created a unique, fresh, and very entertaining work. I recommend LIBERTY BELL AND THE LAST AMERICAN for readers who like tales of quests with elements of magic and SciFi, coming-of-age stories, and especially for those who enjoy and are familiar with American history. (A copy of the Constitution and Amendments are included at the end of the book as an extra.)

I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from the author through Lone Star Book Blog Tours.
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KarenSiddall | 1 other review | Oct 31, 2022 |
James Stoddard is the Compton-Award-winning author of the classic fantasy "Evenmere / The High House" series and my favorite modern author of SFF in the tradition of the late lamented Ballantine Books Adult Fantasy series. His evocative prose and gift of instilling awe and wonder are exquisite and consistently 'sine pare" (without equal). I recommend all his works, and this new tale set in the world of his hopeful dystopic tale of future Americana "The Battle of York" (free to read at Lightspeed - link provided in the Comments below) is as excellent as it is unique, particularly for those who love American history and our melting pot of cultures, legends, and myths.

Where his enchanting "Back of the Beyond" [Ransom Books, 2020] carried the reader far beyond the fields we know (fields that would talk back to you of the sun, wind, and rain and if you tread too heavily upon them 🙂), James' new work reveals a world both fantastic and familiar:

"In his people’s language, Washington’s first name, General, “meant pertaining in common to all,” and that was what he had become, a leader to the American colonists in Virginia. As a youth, an enchantment had been laid upon him by the Star Weaver, Betsee Ross, that he could never tell a lie. Because of this, some called him “Honest Gen.” —The Americana

... Three hundred years after the Great Blackout, a scholar and poet named Benjamin Aguilar discovered a surviving book printed before the disaster, a volume consisting of the quotations of famous Americans. ...Over the next several centuries, it would become the cultural cornerstone for the newly emerging nation-states of the American continent."

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Liberty Bell who was raised on this great patchwork bible of recovered history called "The Americana" Thrown into a quest to find the legendary gold of Fort Knox with secret agent Antonio Ice, they discover the resurgence of old technologies -- and that the heroes and legends of The Americana are coming to life!

What Liberty decides will determine her new fragile nation's fate.
Recommended. 👍
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Dr_Bob | 1 other review | May 29, 2021 |
This is sort of a rescue project that Stoddard started around 1990: a rewriting, paragraph by paragraph, of Hodgson’s novel. Stoddard wanted the genius of Hodgson’s vision uncoupled from what Lin Carter, who oversaw the reprint of the novel in 1972 for his line of fantasy classics, called “dreadfully overwritten, overlong, and verbose and repetitive to the point of shameful self-indulgence.”

Stoddard condensed the novel by about half while preserving almost all of its plot. To do that, gone is the day by day account of the unnamed narrator’s journey. (In fact, Stoddard gives him a name, Andros, and the narrator of the opening section is named Andrew Eddins.) Gone is Hodgson’s prose cadenced like the King James Bible. Gone also are the archaic words.

But there are additions. Hodgson’s novel famously had no dialogue. Stoddard provides several conversations, mostly between Naani and Andros. He interpolates some scenes from Hodgson’s work, discussions of the world Naani and Andros know from dreams. We also learn that the dreaded House of Silence may have originally been built by men but warped by Evil Forces. We hear how Andros’ parents died and something about the family of Naani in the Lesser Redoubt.

Does it work to preserve Hodgson’s vision and present it more palatable to modern audiences?

Largely, yes.

I rather missed the stately, if slow, prose of Hodgson’s original. On the other hand, the romance between Naani and Andros is livelier and more realistic here as, in their journey back to the Last Redoubt, they get to know each other not just as two telepathically communing spirits but in the flesh. I’m sure modern readers will probably be pleased that the infamous scene where Andros flogs a recalcitrant Naani to tame her wild impulses is not here.

Stoddard’s version also makes clear the similarities between the willful Midrath and her reincarnated self in Naani.
So, would I advise reading Stoddard’s rewrite first as a primer, a map for those worried about getting lost in a thicket of Hodgson’s prose.

No. In Hodgson, we’re not talking about, for modern English speakers, a foreign language, just a foreign style. Read the original first. The Stoddard version, while worthy, is no substitute though it is worth reading after you read the original.

The genesis of Stoddard’s project seems to have been to do an audio book, and there is one for this work. I can’t speak to its quality since I’m not an audio book devotee.
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1 vote
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RandyStafford | 1 other review | Dec 6, 2019 |

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