Vance : books :: Pollard : music

I discovered Robert Pollard (the guy behind Guided By Voices) around 1996.  His music seemed boring at first, but after a few tries I recognized his genius and since then have acquired most of his recorded output (I own 67 CDs of his by a quick count).

I discovered SF author Jack Vance a few years ago.  His books seemed boring at first, but after a few tries I recognized his genius and since then have acquired most of his books that are in print in the US (a little over 20).

I realized recently that they have more in common than the fact that I love both of them.

  • incredibly prolific
  • awesome at their best
  • but with a nonexistent quality filter
  • largely intuitive in approach, as far as I can tell
  • even the best works are big messes (in a great way) rather than tightly constructed jewels
  • apparently wide-ranging in genre
  • but with enough tics that their work is instantly recognizable

I can’t think of anyone else (in any field) who is analogous.  If there is, I want to find them, since I bet I would love them too.

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4 Responses to “Vance : books :: Pollard : music”

  1. Iain says:

    The two other authors (both mainly SF) I tend to put in the same mental category are Philip K Dick and Fritz Leiber. Leiber wasn’t all that prolific, but otherwise they both fit your list of requirements pretty well. I’m still not sure you’d like them, though.

    Differences between them—Dick always wears his heart on his sleeve, Vance is detached and ironic (although his opinions tend to show through, maybe not always in a way he’s aware of). Leiber varies his tone and loves to lay on the atmosphere with a trowel, Vance doesn’t but that’s okay because his standard relaxed tone is awesome.

    In other fields, maybe Robert Rodriguez?

  2. dfan says:

    Oh yeah, Dick! I actually have never read anything by him, although of course I have seen around eighty-seven movies based on his books. I’ll have to try out a couple. From what I know of him, it totally sounds like he fits in this category.

    The only Leiber I’ve read is some Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser books a long time ago. They were fun. They’re so much his best-known work that it’s easy to forget he wrote anything else.

  3. Darius K. says:

    Warren Ellis in comics is kind of like that. Except for the “largely intuitive” part, I guess.

  4. dfan says» Blog Archive » Another Spewer: Frank Zappa says:

    […] far the category has consisted of Jack Vance, Robert Pollard, and William Vollmann, and I just thought of another: Frank […]

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