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message 1: by Jeromy (new)

Jeromy Henry (kerochan) | 11 comments Dark and bloody stories dominate fantasy today. Don't get me wrong, I like serious dramas and urban fantasies sometimes. But where is all the whimsical humor and comic fantasy? I don't see enough of it on the shelves. I'd like some reading recommendations-- books, magazines, e-zines, whatever. I'll start off with a few of my own. Thanks!


message 2: by Jeromy (new)

Jeromy Henry (kerochan) | 11 comments I just read "The Spirit Thief" by Rachel Aaron. It's not bad. It's the not the kind of slapstick humor I prefer, but there's enough humor in it to put it on the lighter side of fantasy.

I also picked up "The Mammoth Book of New Comic Fantasy" recently. Skip it. The entries by Neil Gaimon and Esther Freisner and some other authors are very good. But half the stories are sci-fi (I guess the editor didn't know the difference between sf and fantasy). Also, some stories are merely grotesque and not funny at all. If you get it free and don't mind digging through the 2/3rds of the book that is junk, there ARE some good tales in it...

I found "The Unhandsome Prince" by John Moore at the library not too long ago. I guess he must have stopped writing, because his books are no longer on the shelves at the bookstore. Too bad!

Are there any recent light fantasy books that anyone would care to recommend? I remember seeing "Stuff of Legends" by Ian Gibson. It promptly vanished from B&N's shelves, so I'm guessing it did not sell well. Is that worth ordering online, or should I skip it?

I think most of the light fantasy I know about comes from the 80's and 90's-- the Kedrigern books by John Morressy, Craig Shaw Gardener's stuff, "The Elfin Ship" and other books by James Blaylock, the "Enchanted Forest Chronicles" and other books by Patricia Wrede, "A Bad Spell in Yurt" by C. Dale Brittain, various series by Piers Anthony and Robert Asprin. I could go on for pages.

Recommendations, new and old, are welcome.


message 3: by Jeromy (last edited Dec 27, 2010 09:03AM) (new)

Jeromy Henry (kerochan) | 11 comments There are a bunch of magazines and e-zines for horror and serious sci-fi and fantasy. I haven't found many sources for humorous stuff. Defenestration publishes humor, including a fair amount of fantasy and sci-fi. Quantum Muse publishes a range of stuff-- I've seen some good, funny fantasy and sci-fi there, alongside more serious stories. Quality and tone varies pretty widely. I've had some of my stories published in both places. There's a print magazine called "Kaleidotrope" that I've read. It usually has a fair amount of humor in it, too. Does anyone know of other magazines or e-zines that publish humor? Thanks.


message 4: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Goldin (stephengoldin) | 49 comments Jeromy wrote: "Dark and bloody stories dominate fantasy today. Don't get me wrong, I like serious dramas and urban fantasies sometimes. But where is all the whimsical humor and comic fantasy? I don't see enoug..."

Thank you, Jeremy, for starting this topic. I've always loved humor' I grew up with things like Thorne Smith's books, and L. Sprague deCamp's. Sir Terry Pratchett rules!

But you're dead right--humor is hard to find, in general, and the fantasy field is no exception. I think a main reason for this is that it's so difficult to do well. As the famous actor Edmund Kean said on his deathbed, "Dying is easy; comedy is hard." There really is an art to comedy that few can master well.

I was so desperate for light-hearted fantasy that I had to write one myself. My recent book Polly! by Stephen Goldin is the result. Although one GoodReads reviewer called it "blasphemous" and "highly offensive," several others gave it 5-star reviews, and Spider Robinson said, "All hands on Decalogue! A protagonist readers will find it easy to identify and empathize with, a classic journey story told with wit, wisdom and deceptive ease, and the most interesting guest star ever--what's not to like, here? Perhaps writers who attempt a book like Polly! wanna crack or two across the face for their audacity (to parrot conventional wisdom)--but not if they can manage to pull it off this entertainingly."

It's available in paperback and multiple ebook formats from Parsina Press. There are a few serious moments, but on the whole I tried to keep it light and funny. There's even a scene in it from a previously unseen Marx Brothers film.

With all due immodesty, I hope you'll give it a try.


message 5: by Christopher (new)

Christopher Bunn | 32 comments Interesting topic. It seems like a great deal of modern humor (in fantasy and other genres as well) is rather bleak. I'm rarely amused by any of it. Some of Terry Brooks' Landover is funny, but it gets old fast. Other than that, I can't think of any modern fantasy that is genuinely funny. I've never been able to get into Pratchett's stuff. On the other hand, the sci-fi genre has some pretty funny books - Adam's Hitchhiker series, of course, the Stainless Steel Rat, etc.
I'd love to find a new voice in fantasy that is legitimately funny.


message 6: by Jeromy (last edited Dec 28, 2010 10:52AM) (new)

Jeromy Henry (kerochan) | 11 comments Hitchhiker's Guide is awesome, at least the first four books are. I liked Stainless Steel Rat too. I do like some of Terry Pratchett's stuff, but not all of it. One that is especially good is "The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents". Christopher, if you have some time to waste, I at least TRY to write humor, and have had a few stories published. They're all free to read online in various e-zines. My writing page is http://www.bonkers.host22.com/writing... if you feel adventurous. I do write some more serious stuff, but you can probably tell from the desriptions by each one which stories are which. I agree that much modern humor has a very biting, unpleasant or bleak edge to it. With all the problems of modern life, I suppose I can see why. Still, Fantasy is supposed to be an *escape*.


message 7: by Christopher (new)

Christopher Bunn | 32 comments Hey Jeromy,
I'll definitely check your stories out. Clicking right now. Thanks. Yeah, Fantasy is supposed to be an escape (primarily). I suppose escape means different things to different people, and that's why the market is so varied. Myself, I want something that isn't nihilistic or bleak. I need a protagonist I can root for and, while flawed, ultimately makes good choices. Life is bleak enough without my entertainment being that way as well.


message 8: by Jeromy (new)

Jeromy Henry (kerochan) | 11 comments Thanks for checking the stories out. Humor is one of the oddest animals out there-- what one person thinks is funny, someone else hates. I have plenty of room to improve as a writer, so critical comments are always welcome. And if you think of any other book/zine/etc. recommendation, pass it on. Cheers!


message 9: by Christopher (new)

Christopher Bunn | 32 comments Hey Stephen,
Just out of curiosity, any reason why you haven't published Polly on Kindle?
Christopher


message 10: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Goldin (stephengoldin) | 49 comments Christopher wrote: "Hey Stephen,
Just out of curiosity, any reason why you haven't published Polly on Kindle?
Christopher"


The only reason is that Amazon DTP is taking their own sweet time getting it up on the site. I submitted it to them a week ago, and it's still listed as being "under review." It could be available at any moment.

If you're really eager, it's available in .mobi format from Smashwords. Same price. Or you could wait another day or two (whenever they get around to it) and buy it from Amazon. Whichever way you choose to go, I hope you'll decide it's worth the wait. Thanks for your interest, and pleasant reading!


message 11: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Goldin (stephengoldin) | 49 comments Stephen wrote: "Christopher wrote: "Hey Stephen,
Just out of curiosity, any reason why you haven't published Polly on Kindle?
Christopher"

The only reason is that Amazon DTP is taking their own sweet time getting..."


Christopher,

If you're still interested, Amazon finally got a page up for Polly! by Stephen Goldin . The page is still under construction, without all the Amazon bells and whistles, but you can find it here. I hope you'll give it a try. Thanks.


message 12: by Christopher (new)

Christopher Bunn | 32 comments Cool. I just downloaded the sample. Thanks.


message 13: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Goldin (stephengoldin) | 49 comments You're very welcome. Enjoy. Pleasant reading.


message 14: by Nicholas (new)

Nicholas Andrews (nicholasandrews) | 4 comments If I can be afforded the courtesy of a modest plug, I also feel that comedic fantasy is underrepresented. But good news: That's what I write!

If you want a fantasy story that will provide the laughs, please check out The Adventure Tournament, which is now available on Kindle. The print version is available as well.


message 15: by John (new)

John Rhodes (John_D_Rhodes) | 29 comments I like my stories with humour and the odd touch of darkness - I like the ebb and flow, the contrast between bitter and sweet!


message 16: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Jackson (paperbackdiva) | 108 comments The Immortals After Dark by Kresley Cole is dramatic, epic-plots but also often hilarious.
A Hunger Like No Other (Immortals After Dark, #2) by Kresley Cole No Rest for the Wicked (Immortals After Dark, #3) by Kresley Cole Pleasure of a Dark Prince (Immortals After Dark #9) by Kresley Cole and so on... There are about 11 so far.


message 17: by Lynne (new)

Lynne Cantwell | 3 comments I met Esther Friesner at the World Fantasy Convention last year. She writes comic fantasy novels. I've read a couple of her earlier ones and thought they were cute.


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