1. Skyes
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    Skyes Member

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    Split between two similar fantasy genres (dark or light fantasy). What are your opinions?

    Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by Skyes, Apr 6, 2015.

    Hello guys. I have aways been a huge fan of medieval fantasy books. The Hobbit was the first good book I read, and it got me hooked from the beginning to the end. After that, I obviously bought Lord of the Rings, and other books like Dragonlance, etc. This is the setting that I love the most, and I am pretty sure most of my books will be based on that.
    The point is, inside this genre, we have different settings as well. For example, Conan is a fantasy novel, but much more dark, violent, and grim. The same goes with the Game of Thrones books. And as an avid gamer, I would like to mention the Dark Souls series and the manga Berserk (for those who knows it).
    The way they portray the medieval world is much more realistic than how Tolkien and other authors such as JK Rowling portray their fantasies. There are no fairies dancing around the lakes, nor a handsome knight will save the princess if she is in danger. Instead, if the princess is kidnapped, there is a very high chance that she will be raped.
    Enemies have their heads cut off and attached to warbanners, corrupt kingdoms steal, kill, and torture the commoners. There is a huge lot of betrayals and back stabbing in politics, and not everything is black and white. People can have psychological traumas, and even be addicted to drugs or alcohol or even prostitution.

    It's a huge contrast to the other kind of fantasy we know as portrayed in Tolkien's books, with beautiful elven ladies and princesses marrying beautiful princes, everything ends up allright in the end and the good aways win. There are unicorns, fairies, extremelly benign kings that portrays the fatherly figure of God, and etc.

    SO, after this wall of text, I wanted to question you guys. What is your favorite setting for fantasy? Do you guys prefer to read a light fantasy book like The Hobbit, or a dark fantasy story like Game of Thrones?
    And also, wich of these do you think will give me most chance of success in the market?
    I know thos is a very bold question, but I was just thinking about it and have no one to ask about it.

    Anyway, thanks in advance and sorry for my bad english! :)
     
  2. Void
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    Void Contributing Member

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    I generally prefer dark fantasy, and am more or less moving in that direction with my writing.

    I suppose because I prefer a more cynical look at these types of things with moral ambiguity, whereas light fantasy tends to (not always) have a higher concentration of black and white morality. I find ethical philosophy interesting, and so the idea of an army of pure evil vs an army of virtuous heroes doesn't really appeal to me as much.
    I'll still read both, but I prefer dark fantasy more.
     
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  3. Skyes
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    Skyes Member

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    Your thoughts are exactly like mine. If you like comic books or manga, try reading Berserk. It is a great story of medieval Dark Fantasy, and the drawings are amazing:
    [​IMG]
    This is just an example of one of the page of the comic. It is very well detailed, contains a large dose of philosophy and very realistic fantasy setting with political conflicts.


    PS: Actually, the game I mentioned (Dark Souls) is based on this novel (Berserk).
     
  4. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    My favorite settings include:

    Nehwon (Fritz Leiber)
    Michael Moorcock's setting for his Elric stories
    Robert E. Howard's setting for Conan and other stories
    Warhammer
    The Black Company
    Malazan
    Ellen Kushner's Riverside
    Jack Vance's Dying Earth
    Gene Wolfe's New Sun books

    Not an exhaustive list but those come to mind.
     
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  5. Skyes
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    Skyes Member

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    I am sorry friend, I know none of the above, except for Warhammer (wich is partially futurist, isn't it?). What kind of genre are they? Dark Fantasy?
     
  6. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have no particular preference between light fantasy and dark fantasy, although I certainly appreciate interesting moral ambiguity in fiction and I would rather treat morality as something that arises from characters' actions than treat the characters as agents of moral forces that exist outside of them. Game of Thrones has more of that than The Hobbit.

    Your post describes a false dichotomy between "light escapist fantasy" and "dark realistic fantasy". Violence does not make fiction more realistic; it just makes it darker. "Realistic" means the characters behave like human beings -- they try to talk through their problems, resolve their conflicts, avoid unnecessary pain, etc.

    I prefer George RR Martin's fantasy over Tolkien's fantasy not because it is darker, but because the characters are more interesting and the plot is more personal to the characters. The quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain defines The Hobbit; the quest to vanquish the Big Bad Evil and Save The World™ defines The Lord of the Rings. Even in Tolkien's extended mythology, the focus is more on impersonal forces of good and evil and on entire cultures than on individual characters. In Game of Thrones, all that really resembles these giant impersonal conflicts is the conflict between those north of the wall and those south of the wall, which is really just a backdrop for character development. The best thing Martin does is shift the focus away from that conflict and onto far more interesting things, like Tyrion's life.
     
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  7. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    I personally hate dark fantasies... They're so... dark. o_O I like being entertained when I read, not depressed. Hobbit, LoTR, Game of Thrones. They all depress me. I prefer Eragon. :bigsmile:
     
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  8. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    To read or write? I spend most of my book shopping in used bookstores and if I pick up fantasy it's usually woefully out of date and weird. I like fantasy stories that takes place in a slightly altered real world - ala - Lost Horizon, Herr Nightingale And the Satin Woman, or Atta.

    Success is hard to guess at. I would say you have the best chance if you're passionate about what you're writing and know your audience ( if you're choosing genre ) and be forward thinking. Don't think about what's been done, think about what hasn't been done and what's worth doing.
     
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  9. Skyes
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    Skyes Member

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    That is a very good point. Thanks for sharing.
     

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