Revisiting the sad, misogynistic fantasy of Xanth
I loved Xanth as a little kid, but as an adult I appreciate how fucking awful it is. Really few works quite so obviously serve as an acid test for whether you're mature or not. Do you love Xanth? You are either a kid or you haven't looked at the books since you were a kid. They are impossible to read as an adult unless you are a misogynist who loves puns, implied pedophilia, and bestiality scenes.
Here’s how this article was supposed to go down: As a kid, I lived in Florida. Back then I loved the books of Piers Anthony—especially his humorous, bestselling Xanth series, which is set in a parallel version of Florida where magic and mythical creatures exist. For this installment of Memory Wipe, I was going to reread A Spell For Chameleon, the 1977 novel that started the Xanth series (whose 37th—yes, 37th—volume, Esrever Doom, comes out this month). Then, in poignant prose, I would revisit the magic of my own Floridian childhood, even though that childhood was actually pretty fucked up, but maybe not quite as fucked up as it seemed at the time. The big takeaway: Thanks, Piers Anthony, for the swell book, not mention giving me a tidy epiphany about how fantasy, geography, and nostalgia overlap in the hazy mists of reminiscence.
Instead, this happened: I reread A Spell For Chameleon, and during those excruciating hours all I could think about was what a sad, misogynistic piece of shit it is.