Cora Buhlert gets in on the Epik Phantasie Phun:
Hmm, interesting thoughts to untangle, but I will say she’s wrong about me not liking the current slate of Epic Fantasy and all it’s war. I’m just obscenely critical of the things I like, it’s this thing I do, I tear things down to see how they tick. And part of seeing how they tick is watching gears slip and seeing when they do, and pointing them out. There seems to be this word dichotomy going around these days when it comes to critical thinking- most people seem to act like thinking critically means either you’re against something or you’re out to spoil everyone’s fun with overthinking it.
I vote for the second! Take that fun.
Anyway, an intelligent person should be able to do all of the above- be critical of something they enjoy, and still enjoy the hell out of it, flaws and all. So, anyway, side rant over. I don’t hate that thar Nihilistic Fantasy, not at all. I don’t hate that thar epic fantasy with dragons and moon elves and heroes and dragons and wise old men and blah blah blah. I like it, quite a bit, and part of the liking involves tearing it apart.
She does raise some interesting points, however. I think I agree that Epic Fantasy is more about quest- it’s about going on a journey, and I’m not sure if I agree with her saying Epic Fantasy isn’t back. It is, it’s just not BLOCKBUSTER BWAHAHA. She compares it to Urban Fantasy, and yeah, while Urban Fantasy’s sales can eat Epic Fantasy for lunch, that doesn’t mean the return of Epic Fantasy isn’t actually something that’s going on right now. It’s just going on a smaller scale, with fewer blockbusters and a smaller midlist presence, and it mainly exists in a lot of small(er) presses and has a mostly different face.
But- and this I think is key to remember- the new slate of Epic Fantasy has more blockbusters than Steampunk. Steampunk may be the new It Kid on the Blockies, but it’s sadly not OMG PUNCH URBAN FANTASY IN THE SALES kind of thing just yet. So if you can call Steampunk a Hot Genre right now, you can easily pull the same remark for Epic Fantasy.
And a lot of it has taken in a lot of stuff from Sword and Sorcery, which is pretty cool. But even still, I wonder- why war? Why war? And I keep coming with the simple answer- because it’s easy. For writers, it’s very very easy to just throw in a war, make it the focus, etc. It gives simple reasons for motivation that can appear at first glance as morally complex but is really just not all too deep. Making all your characters into villains that do one or two nice things to keep the reader invested isn’t really a complicated character.
Anyway, enough rambling.