Sunday, January 23, 2005

A Rant about Modern Fantasy Lit

I was reading an early copy of the Legend screenplay, which by the way is incredibly different and better than the Ridley Scott movie turned out, and it got me thinking, when did they remove the balls of fantasy literature? I mean when you go back and read the original versions of fairy tales they are hard edged tales about things like the dangers of reaching sexual maturity and trusting strangers, now you pick up almost any modern fantasy novel and it’s nothing but drivel, full of lame, clueless, Luke Skywalker-esque "heroes" and dull, simpering, insipid "heroines" who couldn’t reason their way out of a cardboard box.

Bring back strong stories that keep us on the edge of our seats, characters that are real people, and stories that keep us guessing, not just the myriad of Tolkien and R. H. Howard rip-offs. Also a word for Robert Jordan, after 800 books in the Wheel of Time series don’t you pretty much think you’ve said everything that you can about that world? This goes for you too Piers Anthony, R.A. Salvatore and Terry Goodkind.

Genre fans! You are not entirely innocent here! Don’t just keep buying these lame books, using excuses like we have to support our genre. No! Don’t you see that’s part of the problem? You are the ones buying the books, and supporting these hack authors. Send the publishers a message. Tell them that you want to read quality books that expand your mind, not suck the soul out of the genre.

Here are some quality modern fantasy books to get you started.
*The Song of Fire and Ice series by George R. R. Martin
*The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
*The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
*Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Remember don’t judge a book by it’s cover, just because it has an elf or an orc or a dragon on the cover that doesn’t automatically make it good. Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance books are written be people who aren’t creative enough writers to sell their own books (believe me I’ve met quite a few of them). Just because there are fourteen, 800 page novels in a series that doesn’t automatically make it worth reading. In fact you should probably turn tail and run away as quickly as possible. Most times, that means it sucks.

This is a problem we can fix if we band together as fans.

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