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Short Novels

I find that I am more and more enjoying some of the older Sci Fi/Fantasy stories simply because they tell a good tale and don’t require volumes and volumes of pages to do it. I just finished reading “The Tombs of Atuan” by Ursula K. LeGuin, which is the second book in the Earthsea Trilogy. This book is only 146 pages long and I picked it up this afternoon and finished it by bedtime. Compare that to “Memories of Ice” by Steven Erikson, which I also recently started. It weighs in at 1180 pages and chances are by the time I get to the end, I won’t even remember the beginning. So, I’ve put that one aside and I’m going to start reading “The Farthest Shore” which is the third book in the Earthsea Trilogy and it has 197 pages.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy some of the larger books, it just seems that I have less time to devote to reading them and in many cases I feel the stories could just as easily be told in a much shorter span. I’m sure this has as much to do with the demands of the book publishing industry as it is does with the authors. If the Earthsea Trilogy were to be brought for publishing today, would Ursula K. LeGuin be told that there was only enough material for one book, not three, and would she be forced to pad the stories with scads of additional chapters describing in excruciating detail all the aspects of each characters early life, clothing choices and relationships with each other which really needed to tell the tale?

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