SciFi and Fantasy Book Club discussion

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GoodReads Authors' Discussion > Traditional Fantasy?

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message 1: by Ghost (new)

Ghost Whistler What is the state of the fantasy genre market right now?

Do people want grimdark; stuff like Game of Thrones?

Is there much of a place for perhaps more traditional lighter fare? Or has that ship long since sailed into the west?


message 2: by Tomas (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 444 comments I can't speak for others, but I personally don't mind lighter fantasy, so to say.
Getting to some official number will be probably hard. Maybe looking at Amazon Top100 could give a hint.


message 3: by Michael (new)

Michael | 153 comments Not a huge fan of grim-dark in my reading selections. As far as GoT goes, I couldn't even finish the first book, which shows how much I enjoyed it. Not at all.


message 4: by Tomas (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 444 comments Maybe if other people interested in not so dark fantasy could give you tips, could help as well.
I was tempted to suggest at what I've read, but I am often just going around self-published books (and somewhat randomly based on what catches my exe) which might not be someone's cup of tea.

Also, you could look up a book you liked, then look if it's in a list and see if something in that list interests you.


message 5: by Ghost (new)

Ghost Whistler Tomas wrote: "Maybe if other people interested in not so dark fantasy could give you tips, could help as well.
I was tempted to suggest at what I've read, but I am often just going around self-published books (a..."


Sorry i think you've misunderstood; I wasn't asking for recommendations. Though by all means list books you enjoy.


message 6: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13043 comments Mod
Ghost, is this a question about what people think about the genre? Or a question about market data? If the latter, I'll move it to the Goodreads Authors' Discussion folder so maybe someone with benchmarking can share what they know with you.


message 7: by Trike (new)

Trike Ghost wrote: "What is the state of the fantasy genre market right now?

Do people want grimdark; stuff like Game of Thrones?

Is there much of a place for perhaps more traditional lighter fare? Or has that ship ..."


I suppose it depends on where you live. Looking at the charts, it seems that “boys adventures” are big in the U.K., while America seems to go for literature-leaning Fantasy.


message 8: by Ghost (new)

Ghost Whistler Allison wrote: "Ghost, is this a question about what people think about the genre? Or a question about market data? If the latter, I'll move it to the Goodreads Authors' Discussion folder so maybe someone with ben..."

it was about what's selling, but it's not that necessary to move things


MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 2207 comments Ghost wrote: "Allison wrote: "Ghost, is this a question about what people think about the genre? Or a question about market data? If the latter, I'll move it to the Goodreads Authors' Discussion folder so maybe ..."

If it's a commercial focused question, then it is considered an author discussion. I think that's why she'd move it.

Selling = commercial

If you want to talk about traditional fantasy, that's a different conversation.

Personally, I'm not a fan as to the direction "traditional" fantasy is going in. I hate GrimDark and I like having heroes. Current trends are going away from that - with all the anti-heroes- leaving me with less stuff to read buy (I have plenty to read).


message 10: by Ghost (new)

Ghost Whistler I'm simply asking whether books with more traditional fantasy elements are still popular, more/less popular.

Actual sales figures aren't really what I'm after.


message 11: by Trike (last edited May 03, 2018 03:59PM) (new)

Trike Ghost wrote: "I'm simply asking whether books with more traditional fantasy elements are still popular, more/less popular.

Actual sales figures aren't really what I'm after."


How else do you determine popularity?

Black Panther has earned 1.3 billion dollars, therefore it is popular.

Colossal made $3 million, therefore not popular.

They’re both great Fantasy movies, but the latter can’t be popular if few people saw it.

People like Sanderson are regularly hitting the best seller list, with Oathbringer debuting at #1 on the NYTimes list, for instance, so it seems traditional Fantasy is fairly popular.


message 12: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (michellehartline) | 1777 comments I don't like grimdark at all, but I'm only one person out of a gazillion. I read for entertainment, and depressing grimdark doesn't entertain me. If I want to read depressing stories, I turn to the news!


message 13: by Silvana (last edited May 03, 2018 05:57PM) (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) | 2526 comments In general, YA fantasy is booming. More and more awards have included that category, even the Hugos has a John Campbell Award for YA novels.

But if you only look for comparison I have a feeling that grimdark is losing some of its audience (market saturation?) and that people want to have a lighter read. I myself have not read one grimdark novel this year. But, current fantasy is not only traditional like LOTR, the novels I seen so far involve more diversity (character, topics, settings).


message 14: by Ghost (new)

Ghost Whistler I like grimdark well enough, but it depends how it's done. I've just read Blackwing and my issue with the grimdark there is that it's just a nihilistic first person POV which grated after a while. Good book though.

I'm not a fan of YA. Not because they are bad books, but they are not interesting to me as an A. :D

It's why I've yet to read Red Rising


message 15: by Shomeret (new)

Shomeret | 404 comments Ghost wrote: "I like grimdark well enough, but it depends how it's done. I've just read Blackwing and my issue with the grimdark there is that it's just a nihilistic first person POV which grated after a while. ..."

I detest grimdark, but I'm a concept person. If I've never seen the concept before then I'll try a grimdark book. For me a book needs to inspire or enlighten. Grimdark is the opposite of inspiring if it's truly grimdark all the way through. Yet if a grimdark book feels original and thought provoking, then I'll consider it extraordinary.
But I'm not the person to ask about popularity. I'm definitely a niche reader.


MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 2207 comments Shomeret wrote: "Ghost wrote: "I like grimdark well enough, but it depends how it's done. I've just read Blackwing and my issue with the grimdark there is that it's just a nihilistic first person POV which grated a..."

Ilona Andrews rec'd a GD but it looked super interesting. Too dark for me but still.


message 17: by Jolinda (new)

Jolinda Ugh. Hate grimdark. And a lot of people here seem to say the same thing, so why are things like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead so popular right now? Is it all the not-scifi/fantasy fans watching/reading them? Of course, I will admit to falling for both of them when they first came out and giving both of them a good long watch before I decided they were just to depressing to waste my time watching them. Never tried to read the books/comics and at this point I never will because I think I killed any vague urge I had for grimdark by watching those two for so long.

As for YA, I agree, the genre is exploding right now. (And did you know, the majority of YA authors are female? As opposed to the opposite for adult scifi/fantasy? Interesting statistics, when you think about it.) That being said... YA can often be a real hit and miss genre for me. On the one hand, you have epic stories being told by Maggie Stiefvater and on the other hand, you have truly childish things like Twilight being published in the same genre. (Sorry to all the Twilight fans out there!)


colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) | 2674 comments I am also a non Grim Dark person, and neither watch GoT or Walking Dead (and get constant shock reactions from people because of it).

My go-to excuse for not watching GoT is that I'm an idealistic romantic at heart, and I want to read a book where the good guys win and my favorite people aren't constantly dying.

That said -

What do we mean by Traditional Fantasy? Like, are we talking black/white morality, or are we just talking generally heroic?

Like... I don't really like paladin type characters. The goody-goody, no nuance, morally preachy sorts. (Yeah, Mac from Agents of Shield, I'm looking at your attractively muscular but annoying AF ass right now.)

Also don't like Superman... but I also didn't like the brooding Superman, 'cause it's too out of character and defeated the whole point of having Supes and Bats work together.

So, yeah, I don't like Grim Dark - but I do like anti-heroes and shades of grey... I just still like the anti-hero to be a bit more hero than anti, and the "good guys" to ultimately win, without going too far into the dark side to do it (even if there are cookies).

I also like fun, frivolous adventure romance stories sometimes, too, so... ya know... basically what I guess I'm saying is variety is good.


message 19: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (last edited May 09, 2018 06:47AM) (new)

Allison Hurd | 13043 comments Mod
colleen the convivial curmudgeon wrote: "I am also a non Grim Dark person, and neither watch GoT or Walking Dead (and get constant shock reactions from people because of it).

My go-to excuse for not watching GoT is that I'm an idealisti..."


Agreed with this!! And also howling at " (Yeah, Mac from Agents of Shield, I'm looking at your attractively muscular but annoying AF ass right now.)"

(I did like brooding Batman though. I also was a big fan of Bale at the time [pre-abuse allegations] and generally enjoy brooding in characters, so that's probably not really a reflection on how it worked for the character so much as how well it worked for me, personally.)


colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) | 2674 comments Brooding Batman makes sense, because Batman.


MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 2207 comments Jolinda wrote: "Ugh. Hate grimdark. And a lot of people here seem to say the same thing, so why are things like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead so popular right now? Is it all the not-scifi/fantasy fans watch..."

My husband reads GrimDark but it depresses him. He can only read a certain amount at a time.

He REFUSES to read aSoIaF - he likes the show a lot but doesn't want it to become more graphic than it already is.


message 22: by Bobby (new)

Bobby | 869 comments To answer the original question, I think there is room for all sub genres and styles. Not everyone likes everything, but there is a place for it all.

I had to look up the definition of grimdark, but I've enjoyed seveal books and authors that people consider grimdark. Like MrsJoseph's husband, I sometimes have to take a break, but I do enjoy it.

I just wouldn't want to only read that kind of thing. I need variety. I recently read too many dark books in a row so I binge read Harry Potter to clear my mind.


message 23: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin | 685 comments In terms of fantasy, I love DOCTOR STRANGE. Mixing magic with the modern world makes for truly entertaining stories.


message 24: by CBRetriever (new)

CBRetriever | 4627 comments Jolinda wrote: "Ugh. Hate grimdark. And a lot of people here seem to say the same thing, so why are things like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead so popular right now? Is it all the not-scifi/fantasy fans watch..."

comparing those two is like comparing Oreo cookies and pretzels. One is horror (Walking Dead) and one is Fantasy.

And i don't prefer Grim Dark for Game of Thrones, I'd more use something like Fantasy with realistic personalities. Too many Fantasy books seem to have characters straight out of fairy tales. Even LoTR had shaded, conflicted characters like Game of Thrones: Boromir, Isildur, Denethor and Théoden were shaded and could easily have fit in the world of Game of Thrones


MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 2207 comments CBRetriever wrote: "Jolinda wrote: "Ugh. Hate grimdark. And a lot of people here seem to say the same thing, so why are things like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead so popular right now? Is it all the not-scifi/fa..."

I'm gonna have to disagree with you there. aSoIaF is rough. Realistic doesn't equate to torture porn. There's a whole planet between grey characters and the excessive rape and torture that goes on in aSoIaF.


message 26: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13043 comments Mod
Yeah, I think ASoIaF is grimdark, in the sense that it's gritty in a way that claims to be realistic. I honestly do think the books do a pretty good job incorporating all the awful things so that they don't (or didn't, it's been a minute since I read them) shock the conscience as much as some I've read.

I think we're definitely in a fad of the morally grey heroes and anti-heroes, which means we'll likely have a backlash to "simpler" characters in the next decade or so, would be my guess. I do like them, though. I like the complex characters I can cheer for and mourn. Really hopeful that "complex" will stop meaning "was horrifically abused as a child" in the nearish future, but the success of the Dresdens, Harries Potter, Gentleman Bastards and their ilk suggests we're gonna have a string of mommy and daddy issues for a bit.


MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 2207 comments Allison wrote: "Really hopeful that "complex" will stop meaning "was horrifically abused as a child" in the nearish future, but the success of the Dresdens, Harries Potter, Gentleman Bastards and their ilk suggests we're gonna have a string of mommy and daddy issues for a bit.

lolol

True. And those I will probably avoid, too.


message 28: by Sedat (last edited May 09, 2018 01:41PM) (new)

Sedat Yıldız | 73 comments I'm kinda 50/50 on grim dark, I love aSoIaF and twd but not because of the genre, I probably would hate so many grim dark if I read it.

When you say traditional fantasy the Wheel of Times comes to my mind and I haven't even finished it, it just fits perfectly the fantasy in my mind.

Firstly when you say fantasy I immediately think of magic, swords, bows and medieval setting i guess. Not that I didn't love the first 2 books of Powder Mage (gonna read 3rd soon) but its not a traditional fantasy in my eyes its something innovative and it worked (not every new idea works unfortunately)

It's only my point of view though, probably because of I kinda started the genre with Lotr, dragonlance, eragon, riftwar etc. They all have magic, swords and some sort of magical beasts / monsters on common.

@Colleen Btw I laughed out load at Mac's muscles and him being the 100% goody (I don't like characters who is the perfect good too)

Also agree on your Batman & Superman view.


message 29: by Sedat (last edited May 09, 2018 01:49PM) (new)

Sedat Yıldız | 73 comments Also, forgot to mention I do want to go in the YA genre but so many of them has irritating covers with sexy male/female that makes it seem like romance more than fantasy. This also goes for Urban Fantasy, I like settings with angels and demons kinda thing but all I can see is shining vampires and muscly werewolves, ugh!

Wish there were more books like Sanderson's Reckoners and hunger games (you might not agree on this, I know it's not perfect but at the very least it didn't have stereotypical unnecessary romance.) and also HARRY POTTER, I mean its a perfect YA example in my mind, anyone from any age can read HP and love it!


colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) | 2674 comments I kinda feel like you need to look at more covers.

I mean, yes, there are the romancy covers - which are probably attached with romancy books, because there is a fair amount of romancy books in YA - but just browsing through my YA shelves there are a lot which don't fit the sexy man/woman vibe:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/list...


message 31: by MrsJoseph *grouchy* (last edited May 09, 2018 02:05PM) (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 2207 comments So, I'm seriously kinda old school: My favorite author is Andre Norton. She's not for everyone although she was a pioneer in her day: 99% of her work is dated stylistically but I love it.

When I think of fantasy, that's what I think of. And also of Mercedes Lackey (who was writing Magic School stuff in the 80s long before Harry ever Pottered).

I *don't* think of explicit rape and graphic death and torture - even though Lackey has a series where the Big Bad is a rapist/torturer/child molester/murderer + incest. Lackey makes sure we know all this has/is happening but she doesn't go into the loving detail that GrimDark writers go into.


message 32: by Sedat (new)

Sedat Yıldız | 73 comments colleen the convivial curmudgeon wrote: "I kinda feel like you need to look at more covers.

I mean, yes, there are the romancy covers - which are probably attached with romancy books, because there is a fair amount of romancy books in YA..."


I'm not saying there aren't, but just saying its the major part of the genre... Without recommendations or guidance its hard to find the good one. Many thanks for linking your shelf though, I'm gonna check it out whenever I can! In fact I'm gonna bookmark it :)


MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 2207 comments Sedat wrote: "colleen the convivial curmudgeon wrote: "I kinda feel like you need to look at more covers.

I mean, yes, there are the romancy covers - which are probably attached with romancy books, because ther..."


colleen the convivial curmudgeon wrote: "I kinda feel like you need to look at more covers.

I mean, yes, there are the romancy covers - which are probably attached with romancy books, because there is a fair amount of romancy books in YA..."


You should listen to Colleen. She is our YA/MG Czar. She has her fingers on all the YAs, lol.


colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) | 2674 comments MrsJoseph wrote: "You should listen to Colleen. She is our YA/MG Czar. She has her fingers on all the YAs, lol. "


LOL


message 35: by Trike (new)

Trike MrsJoseph wrote: "She has her fingers on all the YAs"

Please remain where you are. Child Protective Services has some questions for you.


message 37: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13043 comments Mod
/facepalm


message 38: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13043 comments Mod
Sedat, we were actually having a conversation recently...where was that? and we were talking about how YA does get a bad reputation, but there are lots of stellar books!! If you wanted a place to start, I'd highly recommend starting a thread in the "Recommendations and Lost Books" folder with the sort of thing you're looking for. That way, anyone (Colleen) could come help you (Colleen!) find what you're looking for. ;-)


message 39: by Gary (last edited May 09, 2018 06:32PM) (new)

Gary (plaidchuck) | 55 comments Is this maybe a Low Fantasy/High Fantasy thing? From what I understand Low Fantasy is more about the harsh realities and day-to-day living in a fantasy world while High Fantasy is more of the traditional good vs. evil adventuring/questing D&D type stories.

To weigh in on comics.. uuuggh I am frankly so tired of gritty anti-heroes. Deadpool, Harley Quinn, even Batman at this point. Being a Superman fan, at this point I'll take anything with some optimism and the more paragon-like the character is, the better. That's why I'm happy that at least a character like Captain America has been so popular in the MCU movies even if I'm more of a DC Comics guy.


colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) | 2674 comments Allison wrote: "That way, anyone (Colleen) could come help you (Colleen!) find what you're looking for. ;-)"

Come, now. Let's not oversell my, um, fingers...

My pies?

My... ya know what. I'm gonna just stop there.

*ahem*

***

Anyhoo -

I will say that Marvel did something I didn't think was possible - it made me actually like Captain America.

He's still not my favorite character, but they gave him a lot more depth and made him more relatable than I find most paragon-type characters to be able to manage.


message 41: by Sedat (new)

Sedat Yıldız | 73 comments On that I agree, Capt America were boring to me first now like you guys I like him a lot, his second movie (winter soldier) is in my top 3 marvel movies it was exceptional


message 42: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13043 comments Mod
Sorry, Colleen, I'll stop teasing...for now ;-)

Yesterday my spouse asked if I thought the new reimagining of superheroes a la the Avengers was a response to Bush-era America (along with the grimdark backlash) and if so, what I thought this era's stories would look like.

I'm really, REALLY hoping the plots we get next aren't anywhere as crazy as the ones we're living.


message 43: by Brian (new)

Brian Anderson Gary wrote: "Is this maybe a Low Fantasy/High Fantasy thing? From what I understand Low Fantasy is more about the harsh realities and day-to-day living in a fantasy world while High Fantasy is more of the tradi..."
Low fantasy is any fantasy set in the contemporary "real world". Harry Potter is an example. High fantasy is a secondary fictional world, an absolute product of the author's mind.
That's the short definition.


MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 2207 comments I've been told that Low fantasy is when the stakes are small - the destruction of a family/town/country, etc. Whereas High fantasy has higher stakes (pun intended): destruction of the world, etc.


message 45: by Trike (new)

Trike Low Fantasy is anything by Garth Brooks. “I got dwarves in low places...”

High Fantasy is, like, when you think about it, we could all just be the dream of the elder god Shoggoth, man. Whoa.


message 46: by Jolinda (new)

Jolinda Trike wrote: "Low Fantasy is anything by Garth Brooks. “I got dwarves in low places...”

High Fantasy is, like, when you think about it, we could all just be the dream of the elder god Shoggoth, man. Whoa."


Yes. This. This is the truth.


message 47: by Gary (new)

Gary (plaidchuck) | 55 comments Ah so Urban Fantasy fits in there with Low? Makes sense. I have been confused before because I've seen people mention the Witcher series as Low Fantasy as well. Not that it's a big deal, a good book and story is a good book and story despite whatever pigeon hole it gets put into.


message 48: by Jolinda (new)

Jolinda Gary wrote: "Ah so Urban Fantasy fits in there with Low? Makes sense. I have been confused before because I've seen people mention the Witcher series as Low Fantasy as well. Not that it's a big deal, a good boo..."

I know! I hate when people call it "low fantasy" because it makes it sound so less-than. I don't know if the term originated to be intentionally rude, but it's always sounded that way to me.


message 49: by CBRetriever (new)

CBRetriever | 4627 comments Jolinda wrote: "I hate when people call it "low fantasy" because it makes it sound so less-than. I don't know if the term originated to be intentionally rude, but it's always sounded that way to me."

and high fantasy sounds like people who read Literature vs books


message 50: by Jolinda (new)

Jolinda CBRetriever wrote: "Jolinda wrote: "I hate when people call it "low fantasy" because it makes it sound so less-than. I don't know if the term originated to be intentionally rude, but it's always sounded that way to me..."

Yeah, so it makes high fantasy sound "better than" low fantasy.

(This coming from a girl whose favorite genre is urban fantasy, so I may be biased...)


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