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Old 08-16-2019, 08:27 PM
Morgyn is online now
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RIP: Barry Hughart


Mr. Hughart wrote three of the most charming fantasy novels you could hope to find: Bridge of Birds, The Story of the Stone, and Eight Skilled Gentleman. He died August 1, and I am very sad. There were hints in the three books he wrote about other stories, but they were never written, or at least, they were never published.

Master Li and Number 10 Ox, raise a bowl or two at One-Eyed Wong's for the man who chronicled your adventures.
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Old 08-16-2019, 08:34 PM
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Ah, they were (at least) never published. He had three different publishers, none of whom seem to have treated him very well.
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Old 08-16-2019, 10:02 PM
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I have never heard of him. I will add him to my TBR.
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Old 08-16-2019, 10:29 PM
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I read The Story of the Stone in Jr. High. I loved it and went back and found the other two later. No. 10 refers to other journals in the books, but they were never written. I can't find it now, but I read somewhere that the author felt that if he wrote anymore books, they would basically just be more versions of the same story. I really respect that. This was not a series with an overarching storyline. Each book easily stands alone. I have read too many series where the author falls into a predictable pattern and just keeps writing the same story over and over again. (looking at you Flinx).

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Old 08-16-2019, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Strassia View Post
I read The Story of the Stone in Jr. High. I loved it and went back and found the other two later. No. 10 refers to other journals in the books, but they were never written. I can't find it now, but I read somewhere that the author felt that if he wrote anymore books, they would basically just be more versions of the same story. I really respect that. This was not a series with an overarching storyline. Each book easily stands alone. I have read too many series where the author falls into a predictable pattern and just keeps writing the same story over and over again. (looking at you Flinx).

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There were plans for about 4 more, with Ox and Kao dying in the confrontation with the White Serpent. See the link in my second post, which goes to an interview where he describes what happened to that plan.

Last edited by Morgyn; 08-16-2019 at 10:46 PM. Reason: Wrong number. 7 total, so 4 more after the 3 published.
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Old 08-16-2019, 11:06 PM
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Well, crap. He was a great writer, and I love his books.

On the plus side, while my "Birds" and "Stone" are well-thumbed, I was unaware of the existence of "Eight Skilled Gentlemen". So I guess his estate is about to be richer by a few dollars...

Reading that interview, I do wonder if he had unsuccessful relationships with his publishers because he was a bit acerbic, perhaps? Very much gives off a "not suffering fools gladly" vibe.

But it would have been nice to get another four books
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Old 08-18-2019, 11:31 AM
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Morgyn, your thread was how I learned of his death.

Because I live in earthquake country, there is an emergency kit by my bed, and tucked in with the radio, flashlight, water purification tablets, and other essentials, there is one paperback book, because I can last longer without a roof than without something to read. That book is Bridge of Birds, and I sometimes imagine myself in a group of fellow displaced and bored residents, angling the pages to catch the light and speaking these words: "I shall clasp my hands together and bow to the corners of the world."
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Old 08-18-2019, 11:37 AM
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I shall clasp my hands together and bow to the corners of the world.

May your villages remain ignorant of tax collectors, and may your sons be many and ugly and strong and willing workers, and may your daughters be few and beautiful and excellent providers of love gifts from eminent families that live very far away, and may your lives be blessed by the beauty that has touched mine.

Farewell.
Farewell, Barry.
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Old 08-18-2019, 03:17 PM
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That's sad. Bridge of Birds is one of my most beloved books.
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Old 08-18-2019, 08:50 PM
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I had forgotten all about him, but I really, really enjoyed them a while ago. RIP.
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Old 08-18-2019, 11:39 PM
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Crap, crap, crap. I loved Bridge of Birds. Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap, crap, crap. Jack Vance, John Bellairs and now Barry Hughart. Crap.
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Old 08-19-2019, 09:36 AM
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Very sad on hearing this news. His series easily in my top ten of favorite books, too few and too wonderful for words.

If one hasn't read his forward to the collected edition on Amazon it gives some insight into a tortured creative mind.
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Old 08-19-2019, 10:43 AM
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Hughart was huge in the 1980s, when every person who discovered him immediately turned to everybody they knew and insisted that they read his books. I'm sorry - but not surprised - to hear about his problems with publishers. As someone who has dealt with publishers I can assure you that they are all insane.
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Old 08-19-2019, 02:11 PM
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Oh, that's sad. Three of my favorite books. At one point, one of the drafts of Bridge of Birds could be found on line and it's dramatically different...

Always wished he'd published more.
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Old 08-21-2019, 08:20 AM
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One of my favorite authors. I was disappointed that he never extended the Number Ten Ox series, but it bears rereading quite well. I was very happy when it became available on Kindle.

I wonder if anyone has movie or tv rights for the series. At least in my mind, the book series could be serialized as a show very well. The characters are vivid, the plot is engaging, and backdrop is refreshingly non-Western-fantasy.

I put him in the same box as Roger Zelazny (especially Lord of Light), who I also miss.
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Old 08-21-2019, 09:53 AM
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I wonder if anyone has movie or tv rights for the series. At least in my mind, the book series could be serialized as a show very well. The characters are vivid, the plot is engaging, and backdrop is refreshingly non-Western-fantasy.
Unfortunately, Jackie Chan is now too old to play Ox.

And Yuen Siu-tien is too dead to play Master Li.
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Old 08-21-2019, 01:15 PM
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Unfortunately, Jackie Chan is now too old to play Ox.

And Yuen Siu-tien is too dead to play Master Li.
James Hong is still alive. I think the man who brought Lo Pan to life could handle Li Kao.
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Old 08-21-2019, 01:44 PM
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Dyslexic me read Humphrey Bogart. I thought, 'Surely he's been dead for tong lime!'
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Old 08-21-2019, 04:39 PM
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A gifted writer.
We are poorer without him.
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Old 08-22-2019, 03:01 AM
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James Hong is still alive. I think the man who brought Lo Pan to life could handle Li Kao.
Good call, yes.
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