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Scifi / Fantasy News > The Bankrupt Nihilism of Our Fallen Fantasists

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message 1: by Space Preacher (new)

Space Preacher (spacepreacher) | 39 comments Article

I don't want to give you any preconceptions but basically modern fantasy that isn't Lord of the Rings or Conan is unheroic postmodern liberal crap for the immature.

There's a ton of people responding to this but here are some relevant responses:
Abercrombie's take
Bakker's take

message 2: by Sean (last edited Feb 17, 2011 10:02AM) (new)

Sean O'Hara (seanohara) | 2365 comments There's a much better article on the subject without all the political axe-grinding over at The Black Gate:

There is nothing wrong with realism in fantasy, but grim realism does not equal good, and it is certainly not inherently better than fantasy that doesn’t include graphic depictions of sex or violence. For example, take Richard Morgan’s The Steel Remains. It’s the first book of a planned trilogy (I believe) but it’s no revolution, nor does it say anything new. With its rampant drug use and prostitution and biting poverty, Morgan’s fantastic city of Trelayne feels like Detroit, except with fewer murders per capita. The Steel Remains teaches us that life is mostly dirty and horrible. War is hell and men are weak and piggish, too. But it drives the same points home, again and again, over 400 dark, cynical, iconoclastic pages. Even A Song of Ice and Fire suffers from this malady, but it at least is blessed with superior plotting, characters, and unpredictability.

Contrast these works with a book like The Once and Future King. T.H. White’s novel faithfully portrays much of medieval life, from its accurate depictions of royal feasts to the squalid conditions of peasant life. Yet on a sliding scale of “realism” it registers far to the left of the ultra-realism of the historical fiction of a Bernard Cornwell. But is Cornwell’s The Grail Quest trilogy or his terrific Warlord Trilogy more adult and serious because they’re bloody as hell, and feature realistic depictions of Crecy and Camlann? Hell no. The Once and Future King engages the reader in philosophic meditations on subjects that range from aging, to the nature of conflict, earthly passions, and religion, and man’s inability to ever enter a state of grace. The Lord of the Rings confronts issues like the problem of power, free will vs. predestination, and the nature of evil. Ursula LeGuin’s The Farthest Shore confronts mortality head-on. These are very much adult, realistic issues, wreathed in the cloak of (not so realistic) fantasy.

message 3: by Tamahome (last edited Feb 20, 2011 07:26AM) (new)

Tamahome | 6255 comments I posted a similar thing. Your title is nicer.

Nukethewhalesagain | 27 comments I like Abercrombie's take that it is possible to enjoy both high fantasy in the tradition of Tolkien and more modern fantasy (oxymoron alert!) that deals with more human emotions.

I call into question the article author's love of the Conan books. The Conan stories had all the filth and sex that is in the modern books but it was all subtext. That's what pulp novels were about. That's why they usually featured a half-naked girl on the cover.

Phil On The Hill (philonthehillexon) | 238 comments why is it "post modern liberal"?

Some of it may be crap, but then some of most things is crap :-)

message 6: by Colin (new)

Colin | 278 comments So i finally got to reading The Blade Itself, and it is great. But i am seriously beginning to wonder if people were commenting about the same "The Blade Itself" as this joe abercrombie one i am reading (i found about 7 different books titled The Blade Itself at my library), with the horrible/boring characters and the nihilistic sesspool of its world.

I am just into part 2 of the story, and so far i haven't noticed anything that would normally set my hackles up. If anything it is tamer than The Game of Thrones, (as Lambchops Play-a-long is to Kill Bill vol.2.)

Does the book suddenly start to sleaze up or something? I've been reading an interesting fantasy story, set in a interesting world with (so-far) interesting magic/spiritual mechanics, with great human characters. What book were all the haters reading that set them off so?

message 7: by Anthony (new)

Anthony Strickland | 11 comments Good grief. This controversy again? If someone's going to complain about the state of f/sf, at least do so about something important. Here's a better crotchety old man complaint: Why is all this vampire romance stuff taking over my f/sf genre?

message 8: by Sean (new)

Sean O'Hara (seanohara) | 2365 comments Anthony wrote: "Why is all this vampire romance stuff taking over my f/sf genre? ."

Because most fantasy fans have bills to pay, but teenage girls don't.

message 9: by Anthony (new)

Anthony Strickland | 11 comments Sean wrote: "Anthony wrote: "Why is all this vampire romance stuff taking over my f/sf genre? ."

Because most fantasy fans have bills to pay, but teenage girls don't."

I wish it was Twilight that caused this mess, but the Romance section and Sci-fi sections are getting an insane amount of cross-pollination. It's authors like Charlaine Harris, Laurell K. Hamilton, Jeaniene Frost, etc that are not sparkly, but still cringeworthy...

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