I'm not sure I can ever again read any epic fantasy that isn't George R.R. Martin. He's just that much better than everyone else.
Sometimes I read fantasy that I'm sure I would have loved pre-Martin, and it just feels flat, unexciting, and shallowly characterized...I can still read old stuff (from the 1980s or before), since the tone is so different, but nothing recent. I guess it's similar to the reason that there haven't been many successful space-opera movies since Star Wars...when one product just dominates the field so thoroughly, it kind of kills the genre for a while.
Does anyone else feel the same?
Power to the J
July 11th, 2009, 10:30 PM
Nope. There's a bunch of other series I like. But I feel the same about certain things (I haven't read a Wheel of Time book since finishing Martin, and I'm still halfway through the series - which I used to love). I think you should check out Erickson, Bakker, and Abercrombie. Those are three fantasy series I've enjoyed immensely post-SoIaF.
July 11th, 2009, 10:31 PM
Well, there weren't that many successful space operas before Star Wars either.
As for Martin, there are several series that I would hold in higher esteem simply by the virtue of their being finished or looking to be finished in a reasonable amount of time. Between the lackluster (in my eyes) Feast for Crows and the long wait for Dance with Dragons, it's hard for me to keep Martin on a pedestal. And even before Crows, I don't think Martin ruined all other fantasy for me.
July 12th, 2009, 01:10 AM
I certainly agree that Martin is great, but he's not that great. In fact, I rate Erikson and Wurts ahead of him and a number of other authors, such as Tolkien, Elliott, Kay, Modesitt and JV Jones, on about the same level. Now, there are certain things that Martin does better than these authors, but there are other areas where they surpass him. And that doesn't even take into account some of the newly celebrated authors that I haven't read yet, like Bakker, Rothfuss, Lynch and Abercrombie
It's all subjective of course, but wow, if he really has ruined all other fantasy in your eyes, then that really suck for you.
July 12th, 2009, 01:47 AM
I'm not sure I can ever again read any epic fantasy that isn't George R.R. Martin. He's just that much better than everyone else. Does anyone else feel the same?I'm surprised no one has agreed with you yet. This used to be a VERY common complaint, but maybe people's attitude towards Martin has cooled down a little bit lately, since AFFC was published. I enjoyed AFFC, but some people found it disappointing. When A Storm of Swords was still the last book to be published, Martin still seemed invincible. People could not stop raving about him. Around that time, people were always coming on here and saying the same thing: Martin has ruined all other fantasy for me! (I think there may even be another thread like this, with a similar title).
I agree that there is a lot of fantasy that might have been good before reading Martin, but maybe not afterwards. For example, lots of what I call "beginner fantasy" like Eddings, Feist, even Goodkind. I read Jordan before reading Martin, and at that time it was one of the best things I'd ever read; after reading Martin, however, Jordan lost a lot of his appeal for me... so I know exactly what you're talking about. That's why I would probably not recommend Martin as someone's first experience with fantasy. It just sets the bar too high, in terms of dialogue, maturity, and realism.
However, I don't think you need to lose all hope. There are lots of other great authors out there. I think it might help if you tell us who else you have read and enjoyed. Besides Martin (and Tolkien, of course!) my favourites are Robin Hobb and Steven Erikson. Both great in their own ways, but very different from each other (the only thing they really share is that they're both awesome!). Bakker is good. Guy Gavriel Kay is good. Tad Williams is also okay, and his series was one that actually inspired Martin (although it's definitely not as good).
So who else have you read and enjoyed, or not enjoyed?
July 12th, 2009, 02:00 AM
Good point Evil. Martin diminished Jordan (and others) for me as well; that is certainly true. I still enjoyed Jordan after reading Martin, but I was no longer as blown away by him.
And thanks for reminding me of Hobb (don't know how I forgot her to begin with). She is another author I would put in Martin's league.
July 12th, 2009, 02:15 AM
I just got AGoT to read on holiday, to finally see what all the fuss was about. I know I'm in a minority, but I gave up after just over a hundred pages. I found the characters cliched and uninteresting, the setting tired, the pacing glacial. It's the high-water mark of the cod-medieval fantasy trope that was worn out twenty years ago.
July 12th, 2009, 02:16 AM
Here's a similar thread:
RUINED to other authors... (http://sffworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=283&highlight=martin+ruined+fantasy)
Help me!! I'm having a hard time find good fantasy books post Martin (http://sffworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9874)
July 12th, 2009, 02:48 AM
I went to a restaurant yesterday and had a very nice pasta dish for lunch. It was delicious, and the aftertaste lingered on my pallet for hours. But by the time I got home I was hungry, so I made a sausage sandwich. The pasta dish I had had for lunch was very nice, but I wasn’t going to starve myself of all other food because it just wouldn’t compare to the pasta--that would be stupid. And although the pasta was wonderful, I won’t be eating it again. If you continue to overindulge in your passion, it will eventually turn bland and your consumption of it monotonous.
There are plenty of other fantasy writers out there who merit reading. Sure, they are not producing material similar to Martin’s, but that is a good thing. You’ve just got to approach other works with an open mindset.
July 12th, 2009, 03:37 AM
Martin is good but good god he is no where near good enough that all other fantasy pales by comparison .
I never understand people who say they enjoyed say Legend by Gemmell, but after reading GRRM they decide that actually didn't enjoy it after all. Maybe Im just not as picky with my fantasy , when I read a book I file it in either 'enjoyed' or 'didn't enjoy' , I don't think I have ever sat reading a book thinking " this isn't as good as GRRM /Bakker / Hobb etc etc .
I guess with so many sub genres within fantasy as well that the issue has never arisen with me , GRRM may write great dark , gritty , low fantasy epics but why would I be comparing him to my favourite sword and sorcery / high / heroic fantasy novelist .