Is the good ol' fantasy really dead? Really?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Prince_Kheldar, Apr 13, 2014.

  1. Prince_Kheldar

    Prince_Kheldar Beard Lover

    Joined:
    May 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,759
    Likes Received:
    36
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Vikingland
    Ratings:
    +36 / 0 / -0
    So, I have had a reading period lately, meaning not much writing. These last few days I've been gliding from reading to writing again, and as I had a few moments of nothing to do at work, I googled " writing fantasy", and found this list that listst some fantasy writing tips.

    Then, in the comments section I found this:

    Is this really true? Is the world finished with the good old fantasy, with different races, fantastic creatures and awesome swords?

    Whaddaya think? I, for one, love these things. I just want to know if I'm alone.
     
  2. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Messages:
    6,537
    Likes Received:
    232
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    UK
    Ratings:
    +342 / 1 / -0
    Yes and no.

    I think that fantasy is like all genres in that there will be a general shift in the overall perception of what is and isn't popular and that often for something like fantasy writing this will be pushed by publishers as they chase the next big thing. I would say that the classic DnD style of fantasy writing with a big hunky hero and women to save might be less popular than it was (it might even be viewed by some as politically incorrect now). However I like to think that its more a reflection of the fact that fantasy has broadened its scope.

    I'd also say that the capacity to self publish is now stronger than ever before and that that in itself might counter part of this trend - allowing authors to write and publish more freely what they want to the market; of course that area won't really come into its own till there are some gatekeepers established to at least ensure a base level of quality (even if purely at a technical level of writing).



    As for the whole different races and fantastic swords - nope that isn't dead at all. Heck that's the backbone of fantasy and if anything that area is more alive than it was. Authors are more able to tap into other mythological backgrounds other than Norse - and actually get published with it; furthermore many are trying to drop elves and orcs and come up with their own (or at least their own twists ).

    Political is likely going to be stronger as a result of GRRM's Game of Thrones and its popularity; but even that still has its monsters and magic; in fact as the books progress that component gets stronger and stronger.
     
  3. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Messages:
    6,537
    Likes Received:
    232
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    UK
    Ratings:
    +342 / 1 / -0
    Yes and no.

    I think that fantasy is like all genres in that there will be a general shift in the overall perception of what is and isn't popular and that often for something like fantasy writing this will be pushed by publishers as they chase the next big thing. I would say that the classic DnD style of fantasy writing with a big hunky hero and women to save might be less popular than it was (it might even be viewed by some as politically incorrect now). However I like to think that its more a reflection of the fact that fantasy has broadened its scope.

    I'd also say that the capacity to self publish is now stronger than ever before and that that in itself might counter part of this trend - allowing authors to write and publish more freely what they want to the market; of course that area won't really come into its own till there are some gatekeepers established to at least ensure a base level of quality (even if purely at a technical level of writing).



    As for the whole different races and fantastic swords - nope that isn't dead at all. Heck that's the backbone of fantasy and if anything that area is more alive than it was. Authors are more able to tap into other mythological backgrounds other than Norse - and actually get published with it; furthermore many are trying to drop elves and orcs and come up with their own (or at least their own twists ).

    Political is likely going to be stronger as a result of GRRM's Game of Thrones and its popularity; but even that still has its monsters and magic; in fact as the books progress that component gets stronger and stronger.
     
  4. Prince_Kheldar

    Prince_Kheldar Beard Lover

    Joined:
    May 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,759
    Likes Received:
    36
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Vikingland
    Ratings:
    +36 / 0 / -0
    I agree. I truly enjoy a classical fantasy story with elves and dwarves and shining swords and magic and all that. I even prefer it. I just don't find it burned out just because Tolkien became so popular his fantasy style was used by others. To me it's all the little things that makes a story great; personal problems/feeling, intrigues, magical objects, and so on. Details. If they're to be found in a sword-and-magi-and-elves story - all the better.

    And who can tire of dragons? really?
     
  5. Prince_Kheldar

    Prince_Kheldar Beard Lover

    Joined:
    May 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,759
    Likes Received:
    36
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Vikingland
    Ratings:
    +36 / 0 / -0
    I agree. I truly enjoy a classical fantasy story with elves and dwarves and shining swords and magic and all that. I even prefer it. I just don't find it burned out just because Tolkien became so popular his fantasy style was used by others. To me it's all the little things that makes a story great; personal problems/feeling, intrigues, magical objects, and so on. Details. If they're to be found in a sword-and-magi-and-elves story - all the better.

    And who can tire of dragons? really?
     
  6. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    Messages:
    2,823
    Likes Received:
    159
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    here and there
    Ratings:
    +251 / 3 / -1
    Times change and what was killer cool fantasy decades ago isn't so much these days... you young people with all your video games and such, don't seem to appreciate the classic stuff.:)

    I'm actually sort of pleased with the direction of the Fantasy genre, more gritty and mean, more intimate.
    Neil Gaiman really opened my eyes to the new modern fantasy with his Neverwhere novel, also Clive Barker and his Abarat books... both blend new and old fantasy elements and it just works for me.
     
  7. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    Messages:
    2,823
    Likes Received:
    159
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    here and there
    Ratings:
    +251 / 3 / -1
    Times change and what was killer cool fantasy decades ago isn't so much these days... you young people with all your video games and such, don't seem to appreciate the classic stuff.:)

    I'm actually sort of pleased with the direction of the Fantasy genre, more gritty and mean, more intimate.
    Neil Gaiman really opened my eyes to the new modern fantasy with his Neverwhere novel, also Clive Barker and his Abarat books... both blend new and old fantasy elements and it just works for me.
     
  8. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Messages:
    6,537
    Likes Received:
    232
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    UK
    Ratings:
    +342 / 1 / -0
    Hmm I've no idea why posts are appearing twice - strange magics

    As for the evolution I too am happy with it - fantasy has matured and the market has also opened up. There is room on the book shelves for all kinds.


    As for appreciation of the classics I find that a major reason people don't appreciate them is because they are not sold any more. Some very big names are, but many are not and there are legions of high grade fantasy titles relegated to the depths of second hand only or anthologies. A lot of the short stories of fantasy (form whence some of the biggest series have come) are lost to that.

    It's my continual hope that digital books will allow a greater access and awareness of these classics - sadly translation into digital product isn't always that good (they like to use OCR scanning which has trouble with straight english; let alone when its presented with non-english standard words - my dad has a botanical book reprinted like that and all the latin is wrong because the computer guessed).
     
  9. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Messages:
    6,537
    Likes Received:
    232
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    UK
    Ratings:
    +342 / 1 / -0
    Hmm I've no idea why posts are appearing twice - strange magics

    As for the evolution I too am happy with it - fantasy has matured and the market has also opened up. There is room on the book shelves for all kinds.


    As for appreciation of the classics I find that a major reason people don't appreciate them is because they are not sold any more. Some very big names are, but many are not and there are legions of high grade fantasy titles relegated to the depths of second hand only or anthologies. A lot of the short stories of fantasy (form whence some of the biggest series have come) are lost to that.

    It's my continual hope that digital books will allow a greater access and awareness of these classics - sadly translation into digital product isn't always that good (they like to use OCR scanning which has trouble with straight english; let alone when its presented with non-english standard words - my dad has a botanical book reprinted like that and all the latin is wrong because the computer guessed).
     
  10. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    Messages:
    2,823
    Likes Received:
    159
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    here and there
    Ratings:
    +251 / 3 / -1
    Except for all the vampire and zombie books, the Fantasy section in bookstores/amazon is stronger then ever.
    Still though, I look back at The Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings... even the best work of today isn't quite as magic or epic as those two masterpieces. Perhaps we're all just a bit jaded nowadays and we need literature that's faster paced, meaner, and more assessable to those folks who don't love reading and can't appreciate a more Victorian style of prose.
     
  11. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    Messages:
    2,823
    Likes Received:
    159
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    here and there
    Ratings:
    +251 / 3 / -1
    Except for all the vampire and zombie books, the Fantasy section in bookstores/amazon is stronger then ever.
    Still though, I look back at The Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings... even the best work of today isn't quite as magic or epic as those two masterpieces. Perhaps we're all just a bit jaded nowadays and we need literature that's faster paced, meaner, and more assessable to those folks who don't love reading and can't appreciate a more Victorian style of prose.
     
  12. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Messages:
    6,537
    Likes Received:
    232
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    UK
    Ratings:
    +342 / 1 / -0
    Sparrow I think its more that a lot of modern works draw a lot of derivative content from those core classics. So whilst those classics feel fresh those that follow feel a touch more hollow. Maybe we already know the mythology too much or maybe the author isn't immersing us as much because when they say elf they've only got to change our view to suit the differences of theirs rather than to introduce them fully
     
  13. olivia_the_lamb

    olivia_the_lamb Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2003
    Messages:
    13,524
    Likes Received:
    145
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Elysium
    Ratings:
    +165 / 0 / -0
    Well, judging by the success of GRRM's ASoIaF (which we're all waiting patiently for him to finish) and the Game of Thrones show, I'd say good old fashioned fantasy is NOT dead. Not to mention how everyone ate up the Hobbit movies. We also still play tons of good-old-fashioned-styled fantasy video games, which aren't the same, I know, but it just goes to show that people still love elves and dwarves and dragons (oh my!).
     
  14. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    Messages:
    2,823
    Likes Received:
    159
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    here and there
    Ratings:
    +251 / 3 / -1

    The fantasy I've read lately have remnants of LotR, but only just.
    Rape, senseless torture and murder... and those are things the 'good guys' are doing!


    And btw, the forum software seems all out of sorts?
     
  15. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    Messages:
    2,823
    Likes Received:
    159
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    here and there
    Ratings:
    +251 / 3 / -1

    The fantasy I've read lately have remnants of LotR, but only just.
    Rape, senseless torture and murder... and those are things the 'good guys' are doing!


    And btw, the forum software seems all out of sorts?
     
  16. S.J. Faerlind

    S.J. Faerlind Flashlight Shadowhunter

    Joined:
    May 29, 2012
    Messages:
    5,672
    Likes Received:
    191
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Canada
    Ratings:
    +298 / 2 / -1
    I don't care what "tropes" are in it, who wrote it or how it was published. I just like a good story. The distinct lack of elves, dragons, orcs and traditional fantasy stuff is why I read a lot of self-published stuff these days since traditional publishers have mostly abandoned publishing this stuff. I also frequent used book stores where you can still find all the older style, classic fantasy titles. I was in one the other day and I have to say there is something therapeutic about pawing through row upon row of bookshelves packed with old paperbacks. :)
    The other place I find a lot of classic style fantasy that was written recently is on wattpad. "@bloodsword" over there writes a lot of great elf tales, some of which are definitely darker than Tolkein's were.
    As for political intrigue, I don't mind it if it isn't too hard to follow. I can't stand GRRM though since I find his story to be so dark and so hopelessly depressing. Jacqueline Carey is much better in my opinion. I just finished "Kushiel's Dart" and "Kushiel's Chosen": amazing world, amazing characters and though there's a lot of controversial stuff in the books (along the lines of "50 Shades of Grey"), the author at least manages to handle it with a measure of grace.The plot was extremely complicated because of the political intrigue in it. The only complaint I had about the second book is that it was basically the same story as the first except that the setting had changed.

    The end result of publishing is that big-name publishers will crank out what will sell. They have a vested interest in doing market research so let them know what you want and they'll make sure it's available. They have to or they'll go out of business.
     
  17. S.J. Faerlind

    S.J. Faerlind Flashlight Shadowhunter

    Joined:
    May 29, 2012
    Messages:
    5,672
    Likes Received:
    191
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Canada
    Ratings:
    +298 / 2 / -1
    I don't care what "tropes" are in it, who wrote it or how it was published. I just like a good story. The distinct lack of elves, dragons, orcs and traditional fantasy stuff is why I read a lot of self-published stuff these days since traditional publishers have mostly abandoned publishing this stuff. I also frequent used book stores where you can still find all the older style, classic fantasy titles. I was in one the other day and I have to say there is something therapeutic about pawing through row upon row of bookshelves packed with old paperbacks. :)
    The other place I find a lot of classic style fantasy that was written recently is on wattpad. "@bloodsword" over there writes a lot of great elf tales, some of which are definitely darker than Tolkein's were.
    As for political intrigue, I don't mind it if it isn't too hard to follow. I can't stand GRRM though since I find his story to be so dark and so hopelessly depressing. Jacqueline Carey is much better in my opinion. I just finished "Kushiel's Dart" and "Kushiel's Chosen": amazing world, amazing characters and though there's a lot of controversial stuff in the books (along the lines of "50 Shades of Grey"), the author at least manages to handle it with a measure of grace.The plot was extremely complicated because of the political intrigue in it. The only complaint I had about the second book is that it was basically the same story as the first except that the setting had changed.

    The end result of publishing is that big-name publishers will crank out what will sell. They have a vested interest in doing market research so let them know what you want and they'll make sure it's available. They have to or they'll go out of business.
     
  18. Prince_Kheldar

    Prince_Kheldar Beard Lover

    Joined:
    May 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,759
    Likes Received:
    36
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Vikingland
    Ratings:
    +36 / 0 / -0
    I think we need a bit of everything. Naturally the fantasy genre is evolving and expanding, but I think it's sad if most young adults these days, and for days to come, all think that "The swords and dragons and elves and orcs thing is done."

    There's no arguing that GRRM's books and the show puts no lid on brutalities, and is very much a series for adults. And although there are dragons, there are no elves and only one dwarf! And the magic is all... serious. And strange.
    I love the books, but I really hope that this fantasy style will be the norm in the future!
     
  19. Prince_Kheldar

    Prince_Kheldar Beard Lover

    Joined:
    May 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,759
    Likes Received:
    36
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Vikingland
    Ratings:
    +36 / 0 / -0
    This. It's what made me love ASoIaF when I first read it, it was different. The hero didn't survive. The maiden didn't get rescued, she refused to let herself capture. BUT! After reading other older fantasies after, it made me realise I misssed it. GRRM does a great thing giving us dark and depressing fantasy, but it's like a drug. It's delicious and I crave for it, but by gods does it mess up my mind.
     
  20. Prince_Kheldar

    Prince_Kheldar Beard Lover

    Joined:
    May 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,759
    Likes Received:
    36
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Vikingland
    Ratings:
    +36 / 0 / -0
    This. It's what made me love ASoIaF when I first read it, it was different. The hero didn't survive. The maiden didn't get rescued, she refused to let herself capture. BUT! After reading other older fantasies after, it made me realise I misssed it. GRRM does a great thing giving us dark and depressing fantasy, but it's like a drug. It's delicious and I crave for it, but by gods does it mess up my mind.