Friday, 2 May 2014

The Man Who was written by Reed Stephens

I'm a big fan of Stephen Donaldson. His Thomas Covenant series is absolutely my favourite series ever, and I will reread them before hitting the final trilogy (currently in four books). Inbetween his fantasy works, he wrote some detective novels, The Man Who series. A style I refer to as 'pulp noir', for reasons I'll get to later. The thing is... his publishers insisted he wrote it under a pen name, of Reed Stephens, so that was a whole set of novels I didn't know about, because it didn't come up under an easy search of his name.

Then I got a three book collection of his: The Man Who Killed His Brother, The Man Who Risked His Partner, and The Man Who Tries To Get Away. (There's another one The Man Who Fought Alone, but I don't have this). Yay! More Stephen Donaldson to read!

...but this is bleak. Like, really bleak. Donaldson isn't known for writing cheery stories, and people are anti-heroes, at best, but this just beats up on the characters. The main guy, the narrative I, is an alcoholic, but drags himself around and does his deeds because he feels major levels of obligation, but he keeps going on about it. Uh, I had to read other things after the first book because it was so depressive...

The third book is the best, mainly because it could be considered the most traditional and straight forward (which isn't to say it doesn't have moaning and over complication).

I will read the last book at some point but yeah... onto something else please...



Al said...

I love Stephen Donaldson as well, and devoured both original Thomas Covenant trilogies to the exception of almost any other reading, back in the late '80s. (even a little novella which Donaldson didn't include in the actual books because (I'm very hazy on the details) it was written from the point of view of a character other than Covenant?)
Anyway, I really must get to the 'new' trilogy - I hope it lives up to the power and vision of the first two?

Jamas Enright said...

The story in Daughter of Regals, yeah. I always break off to read that. He removed it because he wasn't sure if people were ready for someone else's perspective, and at least the other guy was from Earth, but as they worked anyway, he kinda wishes he left them in as they were.