Why is everyone so quick to make fantasy either urban steampunk or medieval? There's so much more.

Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by FireWater, Jul 8, 2017.

  1. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Contributing Member

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    I liked what I read of King's Dark Tower... just couldn't keep going with it as it started to drag along.

    The difference for me, is between Magic and the Supernatural. If done properly, I enjoy supernatural elements in a story if the characters don't have so much sway over things. The supernatural aspects of a story are either contained, or liberated, but never controlled by us mortals.
     
  2. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I'm conflicted here. While I disagree with you on the cop-out post, I also tend to dislike fiction with a lot of magic, and to enjoy supernatural elements more.
     
  3. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    This is why I read hardly any fantasy. The Medieval castles-and-swords-and-dragons thing does nothing for me, and so much of fantasy falls into that category. The ones I've read and loved all take place in other settings. I recently finished Drake, which is set in modern-day London, and where the fantasy beings are demons rather than elves. I loved it. Before that I was recommended one set in a Medival-esque castle where the MC was a Lady (as in a lord's wife, not just a female) and the magicians said things like, "The prince must sire an heir!" I wanted to stamp on it. Probably would have, if it wasn't on Kindle.
     
  4. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Contributing Member

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    So is that a distaste of the time period, or just Tolkien/romanticist tropes in general?
     
  5. Elven Candy

    Elven Candy Pay no attention to the foot in my mouth Supporter Contributor

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    Enjoying writing a book similar to one the author so loved is lacking in imagination? No offense, but that sounds bigoted. If you're tired of reading medieval fantasy tropes, then just avoid those fantasy books and write the ones you want to see. If they become popular enough, people will copy you and walla! You've started new tropes.

    Trodding familiar ground isn't timid or unimaginative; it's just a way to write. Lots of people still enjoy medieval fantasy; why does that make us unimaginative? Yes, other settings sound fun too, but I still enjoy a good medieval setting. The vast majority of fantasy books I see the blurb for are about magic and wizardry, which I've never cared for. That doesn't mean I'm about to insult the authors or ask them to stop writing what they enjoy. If someone enjoys reading or writing something you don't enjoy, just don't read the book. Ask others for recommendations that you would enjoy and I'm sure you'd be surprised how many there are to choose from.

    Not much context there. I do get tired of talking animals in children's TV, but then those aren't targeted at me. I guess I haven't read a lot of the books you're referring to. Still, if the books have talking animals someone must enjoy reading it, so why should I care?

    Except for the girls turning into toys and sex dolls, those actually sound really cool! I mean really, worms that make vases? Meteors that grow beasts from seeds? Mystical! That's the sort of magic I love in fantasy; the kind that's just there. No magic words or wands or training; it's simply always been there. Is peachalulu your author name?
     
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  6. Elven Candy

    Elven Candy Pay no attention to the foot in my mouth Supporter Contributor

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    I tried to write a book based on the culture and technology of early America, but I couldn't find any information that I needed. All of my searches went to modern America or medieval times or else just went haywire. The only information I could find before modern times was for medieval, so I started to just search for that. I have no doubt others have had the same issues, so maybe one reason people go with medieval is due to lack of research skill. With so many books and TV shows/movies being set in medieval times, that's the time frame we're most familiar with besides modern. Your ideas sound awesome, but most of them are beyond my skillset.

    But I also don't write about wizards and kings, just dragons and 10-year-old imaginative boys.
     
  7. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I just tried introducing my baby sister to Avatar the Last Airbender yesterday ("medieval" technology level, but South- and East-Asia themed cultures), and we accidentally watched the first 10 episodes in 2 sittings.

    I had forgotten how much I loved the show when I was her age: the dialogue is always amazing, the morals are always nuanced, the tactics are always unusual, even the characters that are the most absurdly overpowered in specific scenarios are never overpowered on the whole, and the non-magical character being able to keep up with his magical friends and sister in a crisis always feels natural instead of artificial.
     
  8. GuardianWynn

    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am a bit curious on how you separate the definition of magic and supernatural?
     
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  9. S A Lee

    S A Lee Contributing Member

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    I think it's worth noting that a lot of old folk tales use the Medieval backdrop because they were what they were set against.

    Personally, my urban fantasy is in protest of the mopey vampires that, in hindsight, felt lacking because we're told they're dangerous but never see it. Dragomir doesn't hate being a vampire, heck, he knows no other life, but he holds no love for humanity as a collective, and his behaviour is reflected in his past (which has some tragedy, and a lot of bloodshed *shrug*)
     
  10. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    In other words, they were the Urban Fantasy of their day :D

    So what are you going to do about it :twisted:
     
  11. Dr.Meow

    Dr.Meow Contributing Member

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    @ GaurdianWynn Weren't we just talking about this? Lol

    Yeah, Fantasy is a broad genre. Most people jump to conclusions though. I will admit that I am primarily a fan of the "medieval" settings, but that's just me. There's so much more room to fit things in, and even have a mix of genres.

    The reason for the assumption is probably because of LotR, and the subsequent attempts for writers to try and become the next Tolkien. I think this is something we brought on ourselves... ;)
     
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  12. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Committing outright hippo, I'm going to guess the difference between having to research or not. The options you mention (I realize they are just random suggestions) are all things about which certain people go bonkers for knowing all the little facts. Get something wrong and even within the confines of a fantasy story, someone's going to have a hissy fit, the conversation is going to bulldoze around you and over you as the I Know History types fap themselves silly.

    In a story that doesn't tap those things, you only need to be true to the internal story you yourself create. I started a little piece of story-dough that was an urban fantasy based in late 1980's Berlin. I lived there then. I was there. I walked the streets and shopped the shops and danced at the clubs. I was a citizen. I thought, this will be fertile ground. I was quickly paralyzed by the fact that 1980's Berlin I know is only the parts that I know. I didn't walk the entire city. I don't remember all the names. I have a foothold with which to start, but still a daunting amount of research to do the story any justice. Back to my other WIP where the world is my own creation and I only need to be internally consistent. Room to breathe.
     
  13. rktho

    rktho Five WIPs are more efficient than one

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    You misspelled "guardian"... were you attempting to summon @GuardianWynn?
     
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  14. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor Community Volunteer

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    It's a fuzzy line for me. Supernatural would include ghosts and psychic phenomena and things that might imaginably maybe have a scientific explanation but no one's anywhere near knowing what it is.

    Magic is spells and wands and Harry Potter.

    Technically, those are all supernatural, so I guess when I say "supernatural" I mean "supernatural things without the trappings of magic." That still leaves the definition of those trappings fuzzy. It's a case by case thing for me.
     
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  15. Dr.Meow

    Dr.Meow Contributing Member

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    In my defense I was typing on my phone, but yes. XD Thanks.
     
  16. S A Lee

    S A Lee Contributing Member

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    Write a story where the vampire is a cynical, occasionally self-degrading ass and quite content with that.
     
  17. RWK

    RWK Senior Member

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    I have six fantasy novels and a LitRPG trilogy published, and I would say that the reason is: because they sell.

    Genres exist because they represent what substantial numbers of the readers want. As to fantasy, you have six Tolkien-based movies and six (soon to be seven) seasons of Game of Thrones plus any amount of similar-themed work out there. The big boys have established a market.

    Set a novel with hobbits at the battle of Gettysburg, and you may draw some readers, but finding them is really tough, especially now with the tidal wave of books entering the market each year.

    The beauty of today is that anyone can be published; the trouble with today is it is hard to get read in any numbers.

    In the end, we produce a product. It is the author's choice whether he or she will target established markets, or be a purist.
     
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  18. jannert

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    One of my very favourite fantasy writers (who is also classified as a sci-fi writer for some of her stuff) is Kage Baker. There's somebody who doesn't write like anybody else, and doesn't write predictible stories. And yet her stories are so intensely readable, and funny with it as well.

    I agree with the OP @FireWater to a large degree, though. I do get fed up with the same tropes used over and over, and like @Iain Aschendale I tend to back away slowly when people start handing out Tolkienesque stuff with elves, etc. Ditto 'magic' and 'powers' and 'evil' and 'villains.' However, I never say never. It's all in how it's done, isn't it?

    But fantasy is such a broad category. As a reader, I'd love to see more unexpectedness and more imagination used in the conception as well as the execution of a fantasy story. Why? Because it's fun to go someplace new, where anything can happen! I feel that one thing fantasy should NOT be is predictible, and unfortunately a lot of it is.
     
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  19. Dr.Meow

    Dr.Meow Contributing Member

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    This is true, however it's easily avoided. You can create your own "Hitler", your own "Nazi's" and make them just as hated, but name them all different things. People will draw the connections pretty quick, but you also got away with doing a fantasy story about Nazi's without having to worry about minisule details at all. Same goes for anything else historic. When it comes to stories about Hippies, it gets even easier...everything about the hippies is mostly stories. lol Retold stories about different trips people had taking who-knows-what.
     
  20. GuardianWynn

    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    This reminds me. lol. I think about magic in two fronts.

    Magic is the explanation.
    Or
    Magic needs an explanation.

    Harry Potter strikes me as the former.

    I suppose that means you'd probably judge the magic system in my world as being supernatural as the core idea is that it is essentially just science in the new generation. Yet they called this particular art magic. You can measure and study it just like science and when someone moves water with magic, you can explain the science of why and how the water is being moved by the person. My magic has an explanation. lol


    Though more on topic. I call my work Urban Fantasy but it is actually set in the future like 2200s to be exact. Yet, urban fantasy still seems to be the more accurate term. I mean is future fantasy a thing? Like sure they have it but is it popular enough where I can say those two words and the person will invoke a image?

    We love titles and catigories, and by we I mean the human race. Even if something doesn't fit the exact definition of urban fantasy, it seems to be fair to say it is close enough to use the term to give people a quick and dirty explanation that my fantasy isn't Tolkien inspired.
     
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  21. RWK

    RWK Senior Member

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    Look at GRR Martin: he took all the usual components of fantasy and wrote a world-class series of books.

    It is the quality of the writer, not some setting gimmick, that makes books worthwhile. Besides, in this day and age very little is new; the golden age of wonder was forty years ago.
     
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  22. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    In my world:
    • Non-magic is any natural phenomenon whose physical effects obey the laws of symmetry and conservation (mass, energy, momentum...)
    • Magic is any natural phenomenon whose physical effects violate the laws of symmetry and conservation
    • Anti-magic is any natural phenomenon which does not manifest physical effects, but which reduces/eliminates physical effects which violate the laws of symmetry and conservation
    How about "Space Fantasy"?
     
  23. GuardianWynn

    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    lol. By this account my magic is just a rare obscure natural phenomenon that appears to violate the rules of symmaty and convervation but on a closer look obeys them perfectly.

    Space fantasy would be even less accurate as.... while yes in my universe people are capable of space travel but essentially no one ever does! Because teleportation is a quicky and mor effective way of long range travel. Even with its drawbacks.

    The only time you'd really see space ships would be like someone teleporting to Mars, building a fleet of space ships there to then fly to use. Since teleporting can't really transport large complete things like a space ship. lol
     
  24. IHaveNoName

    IHaveNoName Contributing Member Community Volunteer

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    This. I got into fantasy partly because it interested me, and partly because it's "easy" to write - I don't have to research the real world; I can just create my own, with my own rules and whatnot. I say "easy" because there's still a good bit of research involved, depending on what you want to do: various sciences, architecture, history, astronomy... you have to have a basic grasp of some or all of those things in order to make a believable world.


    And this. You do see the oddball book on the shelves from time to time, but it's mostly either straight fantasy, urban fantasy, or steampunk (which is becoming more popular, it seems) because that's what sells. Thankfully, we now have self-publishing, so you can write what you want and just put it out there.


    If "magic" is a quantifiable power, then it would probably fall under the realm of "science", thus making it either psionics or magitek. Take To Aru Majutsu no Index, for instance - it has both magic and psychic abilities, many of which could be considered magic (electrokinesis, matter manipulation, mental domination, etc.), but the latter can be measured and quantified by instruments. If it takes place in the future, it could be considered urban fantasy, cyberpunk, or (again) magitek.
     
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  25. 123456789

    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Honestly, we should stop blaming aspiring writers from writing crap we're "sick of." That burden is on the agents.
     
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