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Why fantasy gets derided - an answer.

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In reply to an earlier post on 13 Apr 2012 17:32:22 BDT
Jim Webster says:
That might be a model, but also I could envisage 'standalone episodes containing totally different characters which still fit the background and the background arc.
In fact people could happily read any of the books and never even know there was a 'background arc'

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Apr 2012 17:35:04 BDT
J.Yasimoto says:
Does this mean you've not read Magician by Feist? I'd start with this one. No need to, but it's set in the same universe. I guess you could call it a prequel of sorts. (Along with Silverthorn and Darkness at Sethanon).

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Apr 2012 18:20:16 BDT
What's wrong with Buffy (yes the first season was quite monster of the week, but IMO it's one of the all time greats taken as a whole, and Angel's good too)? And I always viewed it as more about the horror than the fantasy. Of course it's horror fantasy rather than just horror, but I don't think the reason people stay away from the fantasy genre is Buffy.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Apr 2012 18:35:54 BDT
Jim Webster says:
I've never seen a full episode of Buffy. I did see part of an episode when I dropped round to collect a mate, and when I started giggling at the fight scenes his girl friend chased us both out.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Apr 2012 18:43:03 BDT
Garscadden says:
I have to admit... I liked it.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Apr 2012 18:55:41 BDT
Jim Webster says:
A lot of people do, so I'm not knocking it. It's just that I couldn't cope with the fight scenes which aren't the writers fault

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Apr 2012 19:18:34 BDT
I'm not trying to push you into it or anything, but it might be worth giving it another try. Look for a list of the Joss Whedon written and/or directed episodes and try some of those, or maybe try season 2 or 3?

Posted on 13 Apr 2012 19:25:20 BDT
Jim Webster says:
My daughter has a lot of them on video, she enjoyed them, but I've not watched television for over four years now, and I'm not in a rush to start.

Posted on 13 Apr 2012 20:45:28 BDT
I'm never allowed near the TV anymore, as the girls just want to watch the soaps...

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Apr 2012 07:36:42 BDT
Isobel Ayres says:
It's been on my wishlist, but I haven't gotten around to it yet (partly because it's not on Kindle and I am seriously running out of room for real books). I'll move it up the list a bit, I think.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Apr 2012 09:16:02 BDT
Jim Webster says:
From memory there are at least two versions of Magician going about, one that the publishers put out initially (which I have and enjoyed), the other was published later when the books were a success and it apparently contains all the stuff the publishers edited out of the original version. To quote from the wiki
Magician is now published in two volumes in the USA: Magician: Apprentice (ISBN 0-553-56494-3) and Magician: Master (ISBN 0-553-56493-5). The book is still published as a single volume, Magician (ISBN 0-586-21783-5), in the UK.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Apr 2012 11:53:16 BDT
Ah, Isobel.

So little time, so many, many books...

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Apr 2012 14:46:36 BDT
Jim Webster says:
my thoughts exactly, to little time to waste reading books that are 'worthy' but you don't enjoy

Posted on 16 Apr 2012 21:20:23 BDT
Fantasy-Fan says:
Re Magician - I am a massive fan of Raymond Feists early works, and own both the original version and the special edition. I have read and re-read both versions multiple times, and I would definitely recommend the original version: Magician (Riftwar Saga). I would say the special edition is strictly for rabid fans such as myself. :o)

Re Daughter of the Empire - It's set in an oriental culture, and the names (e.g. Hokanu, Arakasi) are meant to sound exotic to people from Midkemia (where "Magician" is set). Whereas in Magician, most of the names are either ordinary names (Martin, Roland, Jimmy) or slight corruptions of ordinary names (Caroline>Carline, Arthur>Arutha).

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Apr 2012 21:49:42 BDT
Jim Webster says:
Is the special edition Magician 'any good' (silly question I know), was his editor right to cut out the bits that were cut out?

Posted on 16 Apr 2012 22:40:52 BDT
Last edited by the author on 16 Apr 2012 22:44:34 BDT
Hmm... from this I can see that I don't read enough fantasy. I think Jim got it bang on the money back there.

The truth is, I don't enjoy medieval settings so much and I find pointlessly complicated names a bit irritating. Some fantasy does take itself very, very seriously just as some literary fiction does and that sort of pretention never appeals to me and puts me off a lot of other works I would probably enjoy. I haven't read Game of Thrones, cf my earlier comment about the Medieval vibe. It doesn't appeal. Maybe fantasy has victorian arts and craft roots... perhaps that explains the medievalism. Or maybe to write about elves and orcs and stuff fantasy writers have to accept certain things as 'fact' because so many other writers have.

I mean in a way could it not be argued that fantasy writers are all churning out the same old stuff? At least by somebody who was disinclined to like that kind of thing, anyway?

I love Adams, Pratchett and am enjoying Holt and Rankin... quite like Fforde although he's a bit intimidatingly intelligent and I tend to realise the huge gaps in my reading. I loved the Lord of the Rings when I was 14 and my parents read me all the C S Lewis books...

But these days I'm beginning to wonder, if I'm actually more of a comedy than fantasy fan. I certainly haven't read around my genre the way I'm supposed to. Then again, that may be why I prefer a concurrent or more technologically advanced fantasy world so I did quite like Buffy but Sliders was just irritating because the TV show went on after the plot wanted to end.

Also I am reading some of your posts on this page and it sounds very technical, like collectors talking about waves of StarWars figures... so perhaps you do have to be a geek or geekishly inclined to like this stuff.

On the big book front, surely that's just worldbuilding and character range. So, you have to splice explanations into the narrative and that's going to give you a lot more verbiage per book. But don't listen to me, I'm writing the third book in a trilogy and it's probably going to be a doorstop because I've got so many characters involved by this time that it'll take 50k words to tie up the loose ends... and it's funny... and I'm a woman... and as far as writing fantasy goes that really couldn't be much more wrong.

Sorry this isn't a very well thought out post - bed beckons - but I hope I've got the gist of my ideas over without just blundering in and being really annoying.



In reply to an earlier post on 16 Apr 2012 22:51:38 BDT
Last edited by the author on 16 Apr 2012 22:56:11 BDT
Jim Webster says:
Without being patronising or politically correct, I don't think being a woman means you cannot be a fantasy writer and a good one.
Similarly I think you can have perfectly good fantasy without elves and orcs and their like. I suppose I mean that I've managed to avoid including them and still think of myself as writing fantasy.
I think certain elements of fantasy are easier to deal with in a 'pre-modern' setting, and of course you have the interesting philosophical question, 'would you get the equivilent of 'the enlightenment' in a fantasy universe where magic is real?
And big isn't necessarily bad, I think it's just harder to do well, but that isn't to say you are not doing it well
But it's too late at night for philosophy

Posted on 16 Apr 2012 23:21:52 BDT
Women Fantasy Writers:

Ursula Le Guin: The Earthsea novels, beautiful, poetic, thought provoking, she is an inspiration and has been for several generations.

Patricia McKillip: a huge body of work, all of is good, all of it entrancing. The Riddlemaster Trilogy is probably the best stepping on point.

C. J. Cherryh: Has written as much Science Fiction as Fantasy, but all her books share the same strengths, wonderful characters, fascinating initial premise, effortless depth of intellect on display. The Fortress series is a good place to start.

That's just three of the multitude of women writing in fantasy that I've personally enjoyed.

Yes, as far as the original post posited, there are fantasy novels which are painful in their cliches, that are the worst that genre fiction can offer. But, like any other type of literature, the breadth of possibilities is astonishing if you bother to take the time to see what's available.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Apr 2012 00:35:39 BDT
Last edited by the author on 17 Apr 2012 00:44:30 BDT
Fantasy-Fan says:
@ Jim Webster - RE Magician: The Author's Preferred Edition

Yes, but not as good as the edited version. It adds several interesting but unnecessary scenes, including a long discussion of magic between Kulgan and Tully, which do nothing to help the story along and just add to the length of the book.

Having said that, if you're a rabid fan like me who re-reads their favourite books then I would recommend it, because it's nice to get a bit more background to the story. Just be aware that the extra scenes turn it into a longer, slower book. (15000 words longer to be exact).

It's a bit like having a Directors cut of a DVD: Most people will realize that the deleted scenes were cut for a reason because it made the movie too long and/or too slow for mass market audiences. It's great as "Disk 2" in your boxset, but you wouldn't want it as your only copy of the film.

Posted on 17 Apr 2012 07:38:21 BDT
I'm with MTM on her comment about many writers taking themselves and their work too seriously.

Our job is to entertain. If you want to go for social satire, fine. If you want to point out the intrinsic faults in ancient/modern political systems fine. But primarily, we should be writing to entertain.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Apr 2012 08:29:14 BDT
Last edited by the author on 17 Apr 2012 08:29:59 BDT
Jim Webster says:
To entertain, indeed, we are but "a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage,And then is heard no more."

More cutting, but perhaps more apt in the cases of some books is the rest of the quote
"It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing."

Don't mind me, I've just had a good review from someone who's opinion I respect and am probably going to be unbearable for days

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Apr 2012 08:32:24 BDT
Jim Webster says:
Thanks for that, if I see it second hand I'll probably rescue it then ;-)

I did wonder whether his editor had been right, looks as if he was.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Apr 2012 09:12:08 BDT
Last edited by the author on 17 Apr 2012 09:16:09 BDT
Jim... and Jon

Sorry, I wasn't clear. This is what I meant about my thoughts being jumbled, I didn't stress the humour side enough... I absolutely loved the wizard of earthsea but I'm not sure about Ms LeGuin's comic timing. Sorry that sounds facetious but what I meant was that apart from JK I'm not sure I can name any lady writers of fantasy with humour in it... and please do prove me wrong because I'd love to start some kind of sisterhood of humorous fantasy writing ladies but JK's written an aga-saga and I think if it was just me and her she might not necessarily see the benefits in joining (phnark).

The churning out the same old stuff comment was more if a guess at how we might be seen by people who don't 'get' fantasy. I enjoy reading about dwarves, elves etc when they are dealt with in a new or interesting way although it feels rather conventional or even 'establishment' to me now, as a reader. Maybe that's why I approach them warily. But also, here I am writing this stuff and even I have a slight preconception that there is a serious 'high' fantasy concept which is terribly, terribly po-faced and serious. As usual Will has put my thoughts about that far more succinctly than I can.

I have to confess I am not as knowledgeable as I might be, if I really cane it and jemmy the time in I just about manage 10 books a year. The REAL WORLD is horribly time consuming and insistant and though it's a lovely place to be I wouldn't want to have to live there full time.

I'm especially out of touch now, it being the end of the holidays, so I've done no writing or reading just quick visits here, for example, now while my cheese on toast breakfast is under the grill (must try not to burn it like yesterday).

Like all literature it depends on what you want as a reader. I write the kind of stuff I want to read (actually I don't quite, mine's not funny enough) but there are people who are going to like their books quite heavy and serious and people who, like me, are not.

On the world/building weighty tome front, as a reader I prefer a sketched description which gives the main details but allows my imagination to fill in the rest. Sir Tel has a very detailed vision of the Disc world in his head but it's all down in things like the Guide to Anka Morphock (bugger, I can't remember how to spell that) rather than in his actual books...

Jim, congrats on the review. A good review is always a bit of fillip yes?


Edited: several times because I can't spell.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Apr 2012 11:26:18 BDT
Jim Webster says:
A good review is always a fillip, the sun shines more brightly (or alternatively the rain sparks as it falls).
Ah but I am such a weak shallow creature

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Apr 2012 12:23:11 BDT
Last edited by the author on 17 Apr 2012 12:29:42 BDT
walrus says:
MT :-)

mercedes lackey
tamora pierce
tanya huff
k.e mills
mckenzie morgan(i think)

naomi kramer?
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Discussion in:  fantasy discussion forum
Participants:  32
Total posts:  321
Initial post:  6 Apr 2012
Latest post:  21 Jun 2012

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