Bewildering Stories

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L.E. Modesitt, Jr.; An Appreciation

by Jerry Wright

L.E. Modesitt, Jr. slithered into my consciousness with a series of mediocre books now collected as "The Time Diver" series. Frankly, they were readable, but not very. Then he popped up with The Ecolitan Envoy, a book with a different take on Ecology and a universe run by the big corporate dumbguys that started off well, but failed to deliver on its early promise. So Modesitt was okay, and ran in the middle of the "Class B" pack of writers.

Then I read a novel called The Magic Of Recluce and I saw a writer poised to take off for greater things. Although a fantasy novel, the "order-spelling" of the Black Mages of Recluce, and the "Chaos Magic" of the White Mages are well thought-out, and this time, the good guys wear black. This first novel is also a coming-of-age novel, a setting for which I have a fondness, and also has hooks into SF. Which you find out in The Fall of Angels.

The first 20 or so of the Recluce books... No, not really. But there are twelve. Is this what has been called "page production madness"? Well, not really, as each of the stories gives more details and different protagonists to play with. Still, although I'm looking forward to Wellsprings of Chaos I still sometimes feel "over Recluced".

Modesitt has a couple other series going on: The Spell Singer novels, the Corean Chronicles, his Ghost novels (very strange, an alternative universe in which ghosts are tangible) and others ( which you may view at his Official Website).

In his non-series books, though, one of the most moving, intriguing novels is Archform:Beauty upon which I have pontificated in an earlier editorial. Everyone's basic needs are taken care of in this world, but how does one create a meaningful life? Some great thinking in here.

I'd also forgotten that Modesitt has written a number of stories which have appeared in Analog, Asimov's and other magazines. So he is also a short-story writer.

L.E. Modesitt has grown as a writer over the past decade and is now one of the most enjoyable writers of the new century. I read all his new works as I can find them, and recommend them to my friends who chew gum. No, no... That didn't come out right... To my friends who WON'T chew gum... There, that's better.

Copyright © 2003 by Jerry Wright