When's the best time to read the Visual Guide to Xanth?
I'm brand spanking new to Xanth. A friend bought me the first two books and said, "You'll love them! I swear it!" I read the first two books and really enjoyed them. Since then, I've been on the hunt to gather the other books in order. I read the third and now in the process of reading the 4th book - Centaur Aisle.
My mother surprised me with a book from the thrift shop. Piers Anthony's Visual Guide to Xanth. Would it be safe to say that this book is to be read after 'Dragon on a Pedestal' since the 'Contents' contains the first chapter of 'Crewel Lye'?
Sorry to make my first thread start (and third post ever to this forum) a rant, but it is.
I used to love Xanth, I started reading this series when I was a teen and read it strait into early college (before required reading, and a change in piers writing style turned me off of reading it). I loved almost every book up to and including Man from Mundania (the exceptions being spell for chameleon, though i will watch the movie when it is out, and heaven cent for reasons i don't remember). Xanth was my favorite series until i found discworld after i graduated college (I prefer humorous fantasy). I started reading Xanth again after I finished the last discworld book, but lately i have problems with Xanth, some of which were the same problems I had when i quit in college, others are new ones.
problem 1: The Adult Conspiracy:
When I quit Xanth it wasn't only from required reading (but that was a big part) the other thing that made me quit was when three books in a row were about Jenny, Gwenny, and Che against the adult conspiracy.
I hate this childish view on sex he created. I wish he either handled sex responsiblly between adults, or didn't handle it at all. Instead Xanth is infested with annoying little kids whose only goal in life is to find out about the conspiracy.
This is compounded even more by the fact that children have reached infestation proportions in Xanth. They join the heros every book, wander unsupervised through woods infested with dragons and ogres, swarm in every castle, wander enchanted paths alone when too young to go unsupervised, etc. The Adult Conspiracy is unavoidable.
I long for the old days when bink and company can stumble into demon xanths sexual dreams and when jordan (in threnody's body at the time) could experiences jiggling and bouncing in a detailed way. If piers were to re-write his older xanth books in his current style their'd be alot of censored labled slapped on things, especially as their would be the required annoying child tagging along.
problem 2: Panty Freaking:
My other big Xanth problem is how he portrays men in Xanth. Since Panty Freaking was introduced, every man in Xanth has become a sexist jerk who cannot help but stair at nudity. The laws of the reality itself cannot help but pigeonhole men into the role of sexist jerk who always try and sneak peaks and freak out.
Even the few men who seem like heros need to face a freak out scene in his books now, and would be helpless if they didn't have a woman to help them.
When you add this to Piers "monsters as people" approach where dragons, ogres, naga, etc. are just another person, you end up with a world where human males feel more unhuman than the monsters.
- these are the two big complaints i have. I do have lesser ones too (melody, harmony, and rhythm are annoying and almost mary sue like. complaints on how xanthian characters sometimes show hostility towards gender/sexuality issues despite being unprejudice elsewhere (cube being shocked at the idea of same sex partners, negativity to crossdressing, etc.) complaints on the increasing use of "pun dumps" such as comic strips, pun contests, pun storage in the gourd. instead of artful uses of puns, etc.) but those two big complaints were my major ones.
Sorry to make my first major thread starting post here a rant, but it is.
How many zombies does it take to plant a light bulb?
For those of you who have had contact with the Visual Guide to Xanth, what did you think?
I opened my copy and hastily closed it, because a lot of the illustrations made the characters look far less glamorous than my own interpretation (eg. Trent, Humphrey, Electra, etc.). Not that Humphrey is a hot hunk of gnomish flesh in my head, just that he looks different from the drawings. For the people and characters, I found myself preferring my own imagination. But pictures of the other things, like places and pillow trees and whatnot, were tolerable. What about you guys?