Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin, in a recent blog post titled ‘A Bad Year Gets Worse’, reflected on the high profile celebrity deaths in 2016 and paid tributes to Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia in Star Wars) and Richard Adams (Author of Watership Down, Shardik and The Plague Dogs):
Death, death, and more death… this year just keeps getting worse and worse.
There is not much I can say about the death of Carrie Fisher that a thousand other people have not said already. She was way too young. A bright, beautiful, talented actress, and a strong, witty, outspoken woman. Princess Leia will live as long as STAR WARS does… probably forever…
And the world lost one of its great fantasists today as well: Richard Adams, the author of WATERSHIP DOWN. Gardner Dozois ranks WATERSHIP DOWN as one of the three great fantasy novels of the twentieth century, right up there with LORD OF THE RINGS and THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING, and I agree. A truly amazing book… and one that somehow always seems to get forgotten when fans discuss the great fantasies. Maybe because of the talking rabbits? No idea…
Adams was a wonderful writer. Yes, WATERSHIP DOWN was his masterpiece, but it was by no means his only great book. He wrote two terrific epic fantasies with human characters, SHARDIK and MAIA, both of which are criminally underrated, as well as an erotic ghost story, THE GIRL ON A SWING. His other “animal book,” THE PLAGUE DOGS, also has some wonderful sections… though it is such a dark, depressing, angry, gut-punch of a novel that I can’t say I ‘enjoyed’ it.
Adams was not ‘one of us,’ in the sense that he was never a convention-goer or part of our genre fantasy community, which may be why he was never honored with a life achievement award by the World Fantasy Convention. Nonetheless, he deserved one. I’ve been suggesting him for that honor for at least twenty years… in part because I wanted to meet him. Now I never will. That’s sad (though not as sad as PLAGUE DOGS).
A wonderful actress, a great writer. The world is poorer tonight.