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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tanith Lee, RIP

British writer Tanith Lee passed away on Sunday May 24th, aged 67.

Lee was the author of over 90 books and 300 short stories, as well as four BBC Radio plays, and two highly-regarded episodes of the BBC’s SF series Blake’s 7 (Sand and Sarcophagus). She was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton in 2013 and the Horror Writers Lifetime Achievement Award this year, which joined her British Fantasy Award from 1980 for Death’s Master, and her World Fantasy Award for her short story “The Gorgon”.


I was very sorry to hear this since Lee's The Secret Books of Paradys and The Secret Books of Venus are two of my favorite fantasy series. I've been re-reading them over the last month or so, and it's sad to know that she won't be writing any more.

Like many a British writer before her, she loved Italy and her love for the country shone through in her writing.  Based on her books, Venice must have struck her in much the same way it struck me, a dark, watery, and mysterious place of beautiful decay.

If you haven't read her, you really should. If you like Poe, you will enjoy her work.

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25 Comments:

Anonymous Nathan May 26, 2015 11:00 AM  

Vox, which one of her works would you reccommend as an introduction?

Anonymous Bz May 26, 2015 11:09 AM  

Very sorry to hear it. I found her a very natural story teller, often with barbaric, gothic overtones. My favorite was the Tales from the Flat Earth series, Night's Master and the rest, which had a very Arabian Nights flavour.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tales_from_the_Flat_Earth

(Tip: Those who like Tanith Lee might also take a look at Angela Carter.)

Blogger CarpeOro May 26, 2015 11:10 AM  

Though a fan of Dr. Who, I'd have to say Blake's 7 was the better show. There is a show that would benefit from the cheaper special effects of today if it was revived. Of course that would require they didn't mess with the original balance, which is highly unlikely.

Blogger Daniel May 26, 2015 11:26 AM  

I had no idea...I am sad to see such a light go out so soon.

Requiescat in pace.

Start with any description that appeals to you, because the only books of hers I didn't like were stories that didn't appeal to me. If you need a firmer suggestion, start with Lost Books of Paradys.

Blogger Marissa May 26, 2015 11:48 AM  

It appears she had no Hugo nominations.

Anonymous Jill May 26, 2015 12:02 PM  

"...the only books of hers I didn't like were stories that didn't appeal to me." Well, surely that is the truth. Sad day. It makes me want to ditch my crazy Dick run and read Lee instead, though don't know about that as I'm enamored of/fascinated by the fact that I now live in a town where all the Dick books haven't been stolen from the library.

Blogger aut0x3ematthew May 26, 2015 12:09 PM  

"crazy Dick run"

PKD jokes never get old.

Blogger Daniel May 26, 2015 12:34 PM  

I meant as opposed to stories that were phoned in or poorly written. Funny thing is I have just started a crazy Dick run of my own.

Anonymous Shut up rabbit May 26, 2015 12:46 PM  

Met her at a con a couple of years ago. She was very small but very friendly and happy to sit in the bar and chat with her fans as peers. Tis a Shame.

Anonymous Jill May 26, 2015 12:48 PM  

The universe is conspiring.

Blogger bruce May 26, 2015 1:08 PM  

The Cyrion collection is my favorite Tanith Lee, sword and sorcery by a talented woman deeply in touch with her inner fag-hag and writing all the better for it. Puzzle story aspects well done. Memorium.

Blogger bruce May 26, 2015 1:08 PM  

The Cyrion collection is my favorite Tanith Lee, sword and sorcery by a talented woman deeply in touch with her inner fag-hag and writing all the better for it. Puzzle story aspects well done. Memorium.

Blogger Desiderius May 26, 2015 1:37 PM  

"a dark, watery, and mysterious place of beautiful decay"

On a sidestreet in Venice, Easter Sunday, 1990, it struck me that I had to way to determine what century I was in, within five or six.

Anonymous Giuseppe May 26, 2015 2:04 PM  

La Serenissima, my old city, haunts certain souls. Much as am Africam sky can too.

Blogger tweell May 26, 2015 2:17 PM  

The Flat Earth tales are favorites of mine. The lady could write. Another one gone too soon - Skoal!

Anonymous Morgan May 26, 2015 4:28 PM  

Tanith Lee was the Clark Ashton Smith of our time. I have a wide space on the bookshelves with those D.A.W. yellow spines by her. She had one of the few competent stories in THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF WARRIORS AND WIZARDRY and SWORDS & DARK MAGIC. We just lost one of the great ones.

Blogger Joe Keenan May 26, 2015 5:30 PM  

She was one of the best. Dying Earth and Volkhavaar are among my favorite books.

Blogger bob k. mando May 26, 2015 6:51 PM  

triggering, racist, cishet pigs are not permitted to like female authors.

Blogger Unknown May 26, 2015 7:17 PM  

Maybe Castalia House should arrange to publish her works in electronic format.

I'm 53 and I can't read #6 type. Man/Kzin Wars 2-7 also.

Anonymous Morgan May 26, 2015 7:54 PM  

As to what Lee to start with, try some of the short stories. I personally like the Cyrion stories which originally showed up in SWORDS AGAINST DARKNESS, HEROIC FANTASY etc. They were collected as a D.A.W. paperback in 1982 (with Ken Kelly cover). Lee was ubiquitous in anthology series such as YEARS' BEST FANTASY, YEARS' BEST HORROR, SWORDS AGAINST DARKNESS, WEIRD TALES (Zebra paperbacks) from the late 70 through early 80s.

Blogger Nate May 26, 2015 8:50 PM  

"I'm 53 and I can't read #6 type. Man/Kzin Wars 2-7 also."


YES! MKW!!!

Blogger bob k. mando May 26, 2015 10:40 PM  

heh. rope Niven and Professor Ing into the Castalia juggernaut ( that which grinds all before it into the dust ) as well.

i like it.

Blogger William Hughes May 26, 2015 11:41 PM  

One of my favorite authors. Sad to hear it.

Blogger The Overgrown Hobbit May 27, 2015 2:46 AM  

Red as blood, tales from the sisters Grimm has sone fabulous horribly fascinating fantasy: some of the only horror i'll read more than once (not my cuppa)

Her Silver Metal Lover Is the best SF romance I've read, and I tolerate romance.

Her two children's books are crazy hard to find, but funny, and fun: Princess Hynchatti and other stories (a favorite of my yard ape) and The Dragon Hoard, a hilarious take on the argonauts.

Blogger John Wright May 28, 2015 12:18 AM  

Shocking news.

The first role playing game I ever moderated in Law School incorporated ideas and elements from her 'Flat Earth' series, which I really loved.

She and I appeared together in the SONG OF THE DYING EARTH anthology. She has always been the North Star to me, to show what fantasy writers could really do.

We are all diminished. A bright lamp has been extinguished on earth. I pray it is burning more brightly than ever in a higher realm.

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