Tag: fantasy

  • Believability


    There was an interesting discussion about realism in fantasy the other day (thread here). Lots of good points were made by my friends Tim and Gábor (whom you should follow, obviously).

    Personally, I think the term “realism” is flawed when used to describe fantasy. It’s not a matter of if something is real or not, it’s a fantasy, a story even, so realism, to me, is the wrong term.

    I like believability instead. How much do you believe that something is true to the world? It’s not how real it is, it’s how believable it is in both the story and the setting.

    Sticking to fantasy, imagine a traditional sword and sorcery setting, with swords and barbarians. Magic exists but it’s rare, sorcerers are uncommon and true ones even more so. A puppet-master magician controlling the king might be believable, magic gives an upper hand and opens doors to the practitioner that are closed to everyone else. However, two groups of magicians duking it out in the street, throwing fireballs and invoking the elements, that chafes with the rarity of magic. It’s not believable. It’s sure as hell isn’t realistic, no matter how you cut it, but that’s beside the point. With the story and setting as the backdrop, it’s not believable because that’s not how we’ve been told magic works in this particular world.

    Staying true to the reader, the story, and the world is what makes something as outrageous as magic believable. It’ll never be realistic, no, but believable in the context.

  • Fantasy is fantasy

    Connor Gormley, Black Gate:

    My point is that fantasy, and all the genres like it, give writers a medium through which they can explore every facet of the human imagination, test the very limits of what we, as human beings, can envision and relate to, what’s within our power to articulate. Fantasy challenges writers to make social commentary and philosophical statements within the most fantastic and diverse circumstances possible. Fantasy has the potential to take its readers to places they could never conceive of, on adventures that transcend comprehension; with this tool, fantasy could become the most beautiful, poetic, and diverse form of escapism we have.

    It could be, if we didn’t focus so much on the elves, the dwarves and the dragons, but we do, because we’re idiots.

    Fantasy is a genre that has become bogged down with clichés and tropes, archetypes and expectations. Apparently, in order for a novel to qualify as fantasy, there has to be sword fights, magic has to be present, dragons have to turn up at some point, and it absolutely must be set in a pseudo-medieval, sort of European landscape.

    Fantasy literature is a weird beast. It definitely carries the weight of Tolkien’s Middle-Earth, doubtless not his intentions. The readers want what they’re accustomed to, just as in any other genre, or form of entertainment. Meanwhile, there’s the people who want to be different, who want to stand out and whine about how everything that’s shaped fantasy is basically shit. I find that silly, it’s like saying 70s rock is shit, and needs to be replaced. There’s room for a lot more than we have today, a lot more than fantasy worlds inspired by medieval Europe, but that doesn’t mean that everything pertaining to that style should be obliterated. Nor does it mean that you can scratch out Tolkien’s importance in the genre, no matter how much you want to.

    Fantasy literature is constrained only by what you accept to read, and, I guess, in part by what’s published. With self-publishing, you can rest assured there’s quite a lot non-mainstream out there, so if you really want to change things for fantasy readers, do it with your wallet. And if you’ve read some outstanding fantasy, traditional or not, tell me on Twitter. I’d love to spread the word, if it’s good.

  • Fantasy doubt

    Sam Sykes, writing at Chuck Wendig’s digital house of horrible horrors:

    What was the first fantasy book you got hooked on?

    Go ahead. Think back on it. I’ll wait.

    I see your fingers hovering over the keyboard, trembling like they did the first time you ever touched a high school crush. They’re probably all sweaty, too. Gross, but understandable, because I bet each and every one of you had a thought that you might be embarrassed by what you’re about to type.

    Maybe you were about to type The Belgariad by David Eddings. Maybe you were about to type Legend by David Gemmell. Maybe you were about to type Dragons of Spring Dawning by Weis & Hickman.

    And just maybe you were a little bit embarrassed by it.

    Pop over and read it all, I’ll wait.

    Nice piece, isn’t it? Frequent readers’ll no doubt nod their heads, since I totally agree with Sam here. I wrote my fantasy confession in January, and I’m still struggling. I’m also writing a fantasy novel, so there’s that.

  • Fantasy Confession

    Fantasy Confession

    I fancy myself a writer, with several books published. Most of the stuff you can buy written by me these days are technical literature. I’m doing alright with that, although I write (and wrote) a lot of other stuff too. Like fiction, which I’m focusing on at the moment (alongside the revision of The Writer’s iPad of course). I’m mostly writing short stories and novellas at the moment, but I’ve got larger things in mind too. There’s a novel that I need to revisit, rewrite, and then ship off to an editor and/or agent. Then there’s all of those ideas, the thrillers and the quirky stuff, the horror and the love stories. The things I write.

    Image by Torley (CC)
    Image by Torley (CC)

    But I have a confession to make. The thing I write best, or at least the thing that’s easiest for me to write, is fantasy. You know, swords and magic and dragons and stuff like that, although not necessarily in the straight-forward flippant way I just said it. Fantasy can be quirky and dark and weird and mature and sad too. I’ve been so engrossed in fantasy literature and pen and paper role-playing games as a kid that it’s made such an impression on me. I get ideas constantly, I have no problems whatsoever building worlds or creating creatures and outlandish characters. It’s a bit weird, because science fiction is further off, although I think I’m pretty good at that too. At least if I take a step from the scifi cradled in today’s science, into the abstract, weird and twisted. Science fantasy if you will, although that’s another beast altogether, come to think of it.


  • Vinn 5 000 kr i Vetsagas essätävling

    Skriv en essä om sf- eller fantasylitteratur och vinn 5 000 kr i Vetsagas essätävling. Dessutom: ungdomspris på 1 000 kr i samarbete med Catahya. Trevligt initiativ.

  • Engelskspråkiga noveller

    Sugen på lite helgläsning, och har inget emot att läsa på engelska? Då kanske mina engelska noveller från fantasyvärlden Orn kan vara något? Börja med Quest for Knighthood, och fortsätt sedan med The Green Knight. Den senare avslutades så sent som idag.

  • Robert Jordan är död

    Knife of Dreams, bok 11 i Wheel of TimeFantasyförfattaren Robert Jordan är död. Han är känd för sin übermaffiga Wheel of Time-serie men har skrivit en hel del mer än bara det. Uppenbarligen arbetade han med sista boken, och har informerat sin familj om hur den skulle sluta – så den blir slutförd, fantasydiggare. I detta nu har nyheten inte nått svenska bloggosfären, men det kommer säkerligen.

    I Sverige heter Wheel of Time-serien Sagan om Drakens Återkomst, och varje bok hackas upp i två, så serien är toklång här med. Jag följde den svenska när den var ny, tidigt 90-tal, men tyckte översättningarna gick för sakta, samt irriterade mig på att förlaget delade alla böcker i två. Ett tag övervägde jag att börja läsa den på engelska, lika mycket av nostalgiskäl som något annat, men valde sedan att skjuta på det tills serien faktiskt var slutförd.

    Robert Jordon avled i sjukdomen amyloidos. Han blev 58 år gammal. Läs mer om hans liv och livsverk på Wikipedia.

    Uppdaterat! Nyheten börjar dyka upp online (uppdaterat 19:51, 19/9 -08 – i kronologisk ordning): Sci-Fi Nytt, CNN, Sydsvenskan, Svenska Dagbladet. Se även temasidan på intressant.se samt sammanställningen på bloggar.se.

  • SF-Bokhandeln öppnar i Malmö

    SF-Bokhandelns drakeVia förlaget Järnringens mysiga blogg når jag Svensk Bokhandel, som rapporterar att SF-Bokhandeln öppnar butik i Malmö.

    Den nya SF-bokhandeln, som preliminärt väntas öppna den 1 september, kommer att ligga ett stenkast från Södra förstadsgatan, Malmös stora gågata. Butiksytan är 150 kvadratmeter; att jämföra med 400 kvadratmeter i Stockholm och 200 kvadratmeter i Göteborg.

    Goda nyheter för science fiction- och fantasy-intresserade typer i Skåne, kort och gott. SF-Bokhandeln säljer även rollspel, konstböcker, film och annat som kan kopplas till nämnda genrer.