Fantastical Tales of Phenomenal Wonder discussion

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Genre Trends > The current state of the genre

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message 1: by Eric (last edited May 31, 2017 06:10PM) (new)

Eric | 26 comments WARNING: Foul language and sex references ahead.

Grim, dark, gritty, and realistic are words that are commonly thrown around when people discuss the big names of contemporary fantasy. Writers such as George R.R. Martin, Mark Laurence, Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, Joe Abercrombie, Scott Lynch and Jay Kristoff dominate the industry; whether or not they deserve to is up for debate, (view spoiler) but the fact remains, the most popular fantasy authors at the moment seem to be the gents who can squeeze the most rape, gore, nihilism, wish-fulfillment, cunts, fucks, shits, and pisses into the pages of one novel. By now, you can probably tell that their edgyness doesn't impress me, but that is beside the point.

The point is that this stuff impresses someone. A lot of someones. In fact, many of you reading this are probably fans of some of the "writers" listed above. In a way, I'm actually hoping that some of you are, because I have a question.

Why is it, in your own opinion, that writers such as these are the most popular at the moment? (Whether you agree with me or not, I would love to read your answer.)


message 2: by raventiques (new)

raventiques @Eric

because fantasy has always been seen as unrealistic kids stuff. for a long time, work that involved magic, new worlds and mythological creatures were seen as childish and unrealistic in comparison with, say, historical fiction of the mystery genre. even harry potter, as much as i love it, was still marketed as a children's series for a long time.

so now, fantasy authors are trying to show publishers that fantasy can be "adult" and more mature by making everything 10x more gritty than they need to be. to make sure that the fantasy genre no longer belongs to kids anymore. the exact same thing happened with the superhero genre; everyone thinks that having powers and defeating "obviously evil" villains was too childish, so they took that away and made everything darker à la the dark knight and blade.

back to the fantasy genre: i see what you mean. it feels like in order to excel, work needs to be dark! and gritty with mature themes! (thanks game of thrones). it's annoying that family friendly fantasy stories can no longer exist without being snubbed, but hopefully the market will do another 180 in the future.


message 3: by Eric (new)

Eric | 26 comments @ Dala

I never thought about it in those terms, but the more I mull it over, the more I agree with you. Fantasy has been considered children's literature for an awfully long time now. Maybe some of these gritty-style writers are overcompensating in some kind of misguided attempt to be taken more seriously.


❄Elsa Frost❄ (elsafrost) @Dala:

I have to agree with that as well.

Also, just like with the children's fantasy series that children relate to, adults also want to relate to some of the books they read. By making it more real to them by providing the dark sides of reality, they can start to feel more real to the fantasy readers.

Most everyone doesn't exactly have a happy-go-dandy life, and though it's sometimes nice to read those happy-go-dandy books as an adult, there's the need for practicality and real-ness about everyday life. Someone who understands. Even in a fantasy book. Hence, the representation of how the villain might get away with a lot more assaults and the hero doesn't necessarily have enough power or the skills to defeat the villain.


message 5: by Emm - "That Book You Like is Coming Back in Style" (last edited Jun 05, 2017 11:18PM) (new)

Emm - "That Book You Like is Coming Back in Style" Eric Ó wrote: "
WARNING: Foul language and sex references ahead.


Grim, dark, gritty, and realistic are words that are commonly thrown around when people discuss the big names of contemporary fantasy. Writers ..."


Oh, that's not just fantasy. I think every genre has gone through that "gritty" stage at one point or another just to prove it's not "kids' fare".
In this day and age, nothing is actually controversial anymore, but still authors try way too hard to make their work cause controversy. Personally, I think whatever amount of graphic content you feel is necessary to fit the story, you should add. Don't add it just for the sake of being edgy, or worse yet, for filler material.
Nothing is more insulting to an audience than treating them like they're idiots with no attention span and will only be appeased by tons of violence and nudity, with no real story.

What should be focused on when writing is not the level of explicit content but the quality of what is being written, whether it is explicit or not.

What makes them popular? I've never actually read most of those authors, so I can't say. Maybe they write good characters - good characterization can cause people to overlook the worse parts of a story.


message 6: by Eric (last edited Jun 06, 2017 12:22PM) (new)

Eric | 26 comments ℇmm ♥ wrote: "What should be focused on when writing is not the level of explicit content but the quality of what is being written, whether it is explicit or not."

The statement above should be added to the Goodreads list of Quotes about writing.


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