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Contemporary Fantasy

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  • #16
    [QUOTE=EverKing;n430597]

    Overall, I think the state of Fantasy is pretty stagnant. There are some refreshing spots--Gaiman, Mieville--which are trying to add something new to the discussion but overall I think the vast majority of it is derivative in the worst ways. Some, like Martin, try to disguise their derivations with shock and "gritty realism" but even they are fairly poor in my opinion. The trend a decade or so ago was in "Urban Fantasy" /QUOTE]

    cut that quote more than I meant to. Although I could have just cut out Gaiman and Mieville and added an exclamation point. Both of them are so good, and part of that is because they are adding something new. Gaiman has a lot in common with some of the urban fantasists, which certainly isn’t a knock. I mentioned recently how much I like Jonathan Carroll and a lot of the other fabulists that also get called urban fantasy, and I really like some of Charles DeLint’s work, some of which is definitely urban fantasy. All of them
    also have a lot in common with a certain kind of horror writing as well, especially in the sense of things being just a little off.

    I’ll take all of this over another quest fantasy.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Sir Sorcerer View Post

      Her new book, Piranesi, is receiving a lot of good reviews:
      https://locusmag.com/2020/09/gary-k-...usanna-clarke/
      The problem with Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is that it doesn’t actually have a conclusion. You read the door stopper and realize there is still more story. It’s a really great ride, and a real time investment, but she can do such interesting things. I have her new one on my list.

      Incidentally, her writing teacher (and future husband) is also one of Mike’s biographers, Colin Greenland.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Sir Sorcerer View Post
        I think what has changed is that fantasy used to be a genre written almost exclusively by white men from North America and Western Europe. During the last 10 years this perception has been radically overturned. Just look at the recent Hugo, Locus etc. awards. I can only see this as a good thing.
        Jemisin’s awards success and the resistance and backlash to her success by meathead white guys tells this story really well.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Sir Sorcerer View Post
          I think what has changed is that fantasy used to be a genre written almost exclusively by white men from North America and Western Europe. During the last 10 years this perception has been radically overturned. Just look at the recent Hugo, Locus etc. awards. I can only see this as a good thing.
          I think there's a fair chance it's more accurate to say that in N. America and Western Europe the fantasy genre has been dominated by writers and editors who were white men.

          I recently read that back in the heyday of Weird Tales magazine, as many as 17% of the writers were women. The number was 40% for poets published in the magazine. I expect there were probably some not so white authors in the ranks as well. There might be some overlap of these groups, but we're getting close to 1 in 5 territory, maybe even past it, and well past it if the poetry is taken into account. Of course, this is just one magazine, and the "survey" seemed somewhat informal, but, still, it's rather suggestive. And I think it's already doing a good job of making the genre look much less exclusive than it's often presented as.

          [Later Addition] Given the preceding I'll just use this as an opportunity to mention Gertrude Barrows Bennet who, writing as Frances Stevens, was a rather successful pulp writer from about 1917 until 1923. I just read her novel The Citadel of Fear and thought her treatment of the Irish blooded protagonist often resembled that found in R.E. Howard's later work.
          Last edited by Heresiologist; 09-23-2020, 08:00 PM.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Doc View Post

            Jemisin’s awards success and the resistance and backlash to her success by meathead white guys tells this story really well.
            I'm pretty sure I've read a couple pieces that found Samuel Delany saying that once the number of black authors went beyond token level numbers and into 13 to 20 percent territory, racism and prejudice would increase.

            Anyway, the less said about those meatheads the better. Instead, I'll say that I enjoyed Nalo Hopkinson's Brown Girl in the Ring well enough and hope to read something else by her once the stack of unreads gets a bit shorter.
            Last edited by Heresiologist; 09-23-2020, 08:13 PM.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Heresiologist View Post
              I think there's a fair chance it's more accurate to say that in N. America and Western Europe the fantasy genre has been dominated by writers and editors who were white men.
              Yes I think this is what I was trying to say by calling it a perception that was being overturned. Of course the reality is that there have always been women and non-white writers of fantasy, although mostly hidden somewhere in the 1 to 5 ratio background.

              Funny, I'd never thought that phantasy poetry was a genre. Would be curious to find out more about the thing.

              I like how this thread is coming up with a lot of new names to seek out and have added several to my to-read list. Hope I will be able to add some of my own recommendations when I've had the time to read some more.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Sir Sorcerer View Post

                Yes I think this is what I was trying to say by calling it a perception that was being overturned. Of course the reality is that there have always been women and non-white writers of fantasy, although mostly hidden somewhere in the 1 to 5 ratio background.
                ...
                I've also read that there was a overall decline in female authorship from 1850 to 1950, dropping from about 50% to 25% during that period. I expect, but am not sure, the data set probably roughly comes from our previously mentioned "North America and Western Europe" focus.

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