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  1. #1
    Registered User Phyllis's Avatar
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    Am I Actually A Fantasy Fan?

    Am I Actually A Fantasy Fan? I'm having an identity crisis. I feel as if I'm 'coming out of the fantasy closet' and turning into a filthy fantasy hater.

    I've read the following fantasy novels through out my life:

    Redemption of Althalus - even when I was 13 I could tell that this was a badly and immaturely written story.
    Magician, Silverthorn, The Darkness at Sethanon (Raymond E Feist) - thought it was good at the time, but looking back I was really forcing myself to like it.
    The Lion, Witch, Wardrobe- C.S Lewis can go stick a pineapple where the sun don't shine for this christian propaganda crap fest.
    The Wheel of Time (Jordan)- I put this down about 50 pages into the first book due to incredibly crap characters and even crapper bad guys.
    Some other 'girl dressed as a boy who trains to be a knight under disguise and shags three blokes' story that I don't know the name of.
    The View from the Mirror quartet - Ian Irvine - I actually didn't mind these, but I had to force myself through some parts.
    Wit'ch Fire series - James Clemens - Something that looking back, only entertained me because I was 14.

    After reading some true classics (The Once and Future King, 1984, American Psycho and Lady Chatterley's Lover) I've come to realise that the majority of these books were pretty crap, and that I mostly forced myself to finish them just so that I knew what happened in the end (you know when you get to the point of no return. You're not that interested, but you can't just cut your losses either). They were basically a waste of time, and as I'm mortal, there is only limited book reading time left.

    These however, were good or great:

    Harry Potter
    Deltora Quest (I was 11 when I read it)
    LOTR
    Daughter/Servant/Mistress of the Empire (wasn't too bad)
    The Vampire LeStat
    The Well of Echoes - Ian Irvine

    Yet I know that I love the idea of the fantasy genre. I love the imagination, the limitless possibilities. Am I just missing the 'good books'? Is there a wing of fantasy that would appeal to me better? I don't want to turn my back on this genre, I want it to be better. I'm appealing to people who may have been exposed to far more of the genre and direct me to the good areas based on their broad taste.

    (I was thinking about reading Songs of Ice and Fire, should I attempt this?)

    Does anyone else have this problem?
    Last edited by Phyllis; August 29th, 2008 at 03:01 AM.

  2. #2
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    1984, American Psycho

    Didn't realise thses were classed as fantasy?

    Give aSoIaF a try. If ya don't like that you might be in trouble or just have good taste(from your hates and likes it's hard to tell). Or you could try the new kids on the block, Abercombie, Lynch, Rothfuss etc.
    Last edited by ChrisW; August 29th, 2008 at 03:27 AM.

  3. #3
    I know exactly how you feel cause I felt the same way some years back.
    Every fantasy book that I picked up was utterly crap, so I quit fantasy and turned to some other genres, like horror, crime and mystery, even romance.
    And than one day I picked up the Harry Potter books to see what's all the fuss about it. And I liked it, it awoke that love for fantasy in me again. Maybe it's not the greatest literature ever, but it certainly has some charm about it.
    Than by accident I picked up ASOIAF and I was hooked again.
    Than Robin Hobb and some others.
    True, most of the books that I read are still just ok, average, but I'm in a constant search for that great one.
    So, just pick up some new books and sooner or later you will stumble on something you really like.

  4. #4
    Gentleman and Scholar Wulfa_Jones's Avatar
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    I've gone through patches like this in the past. I've just not been able to find a fantasy book I could get into and so just stopped reading them for a bit - started reading other genres and even comteprary fiction.

    I've always come back to fantasy. At the moment, there are some really good books at there depending on what you like.

    You might like the Dresden Files series - kinda like if Harry Potter grew up to be a private detective. Patrick Rothfuss is almost Potter for grown ups.

    Joe Abercrombie and Scott Lynch are producing good fantasy that isn't in the usual vein. James Barclay is pretty good - fast paced and action packed.

    I'd say you are still a fan of fantasy, it isn't cheating to read outside of the genre!

  5. #5
    The meaning of life???
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phyllis View Post
    The Lion, Witch, Wardrobe- C.S Lewis can go stick a pineapple where the sun don't shine for this christian propaganda crap fest.
    Hilarious!

    If you are looking for some really good quality fantasy, I would definitely recommend Robin Hobb. She writes exceptionally well - her characters are especially good. Her books are also very realistic and mature IMO.
    Give her books a try...

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Phyllis View Post
    Am I Actually A Fantasy Fan? I'm having an identity crisis. I feel as if I'm 'coming out of the fantasy closet' and turning into a filthy fantasy hater.

    I've read the following fantasy novels through out my life:

    [...]

    After reading some true classics (The Once and Future King, 1984, American Psycho and Lady Chatterley's Lover) I've come to realise that the majority of these books were pretty crap, and that I mostly forced myself to finish them just so that I knew what happened in the end (you know when you get to the point of no return. You're not that interested, but you can't just cut your losses either). They were basically a waste of time, and as I'm mortal, there is only limited book reading time left.

    [...]

    Yet I know that I love the idea of the fantasy genre. I love the imagination, the limitless possibilities. Am I just missing the 'good books'? Is there a wing of fantasy that would appeal to me better? I don't want to turn my back on this genre, I want it to be better. I'm appealing to people who may have been exposed to far more of the genre and direct me to the good areas based on their broad taste.

    (I was thinking about reading Songs of Ice and Fire, should I attempt this?)

    Does anyone else have this problem?
    Two thoughts:

    1) Every form of writing has variety in quality. You wouldn't want to judge 20th century prose fiction as a whole by the works of Harold Robbins or Ted Marks, or the merit of the the mystery genre by the collected works of John Creasey.

    2) At a certain level, quality becomes subjective: I'd even say that part of the enjoyment of reading is arguing those qualities with others in an effort to define them and work towards a better understanding of why some books work better for one person than for another. A lot of otherwise rational readers love the Narnia stories and have fairly good arguments for doing so. I read the first and never went back, but I realize that what I felt was a boring story with an agenda will enthrall another reader, even one who doesn't share the same world view.

    Randy M.

  7. #7
    Palinodic Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    If you liked a fantasy book and have actively tried to read other fantasy books, you're a fantasy fan, yes. A fantasy fan does not like all fantasy novels. In fact, fantasy fans vigorously dislike many fantasy novels, and argue with the fantasy fans who do like those novels but not other ones the first fans like. Welcome to fandom.

    So start with stuff you like. You like:

    Harry Potter
    Deltora Quest (I was 11 when I read it)

    There is a wealth of YA fantasy available, everything from Cornelia Funke to The Hobbit, which you might want to read if you liked LOTR. Experiment a little there. Look for plot premises described in the cover copy that interest you. The styles are going to vary widely. Since you liked Rice, you might like Stephanie Meyer's vampire YA series, or you might think it's dreck. Read a bit of it and see. Or you might like The Monsters of Templeton by L. Groff, an adult, non-category fantasy title.

    LOTR
    Daughter/Servant/Mistress of the Empire (wasn't too bad)
    The Vampire LeStat
    The Well of Echoes - Ian Irvine

    You don't overall seem to like secondary world fantasy that much, so that may not be the area that works best for you. If you liked Rice, you might like some of the contemporary fantasy series out there, many of which feature vampires and witches and some of which have a horror edge. You could try Patricia Briggs or Jim Butcher -- again the styles vary widely. You might find that you like the more humorous titles or that you like the dark horror titles. If you're sick of vampires, than historical and alternate history fantasy might be more interesting to you, like Jonathan Barnes' The Sommanbulist or Sarah Hoyt's Heart of Light.

    We're talking about several thousand authors here, all doing different things over decades, so it's a search, just as it is for any area of fiction. You don't have to read Martin's Song of Ice and Fire unless the books sound interesting to you. People will have recommendations and you can also comb through our big Recommendation Thread that is Stickied at the top of the Forum. We have a bunch of authors who have their own chat forums here, and you can go check out more about their stuff. The biggest names in fantasy also have adjunct forums dedicated to them, and you can check those out and see if you want to go through them or not.

    But as long as you're willing to read an occasional fantasy novel, baby you're in.

  8. #8
    Yep. I get this feeling every month or so, mostly when people recommend me books that they like, raving about how great they are, but they aren't to my tastes, so I start thinking "Is this the best the genre can come up with?" but then a few weeks later I am presently surprised by a good read and reaffirmed as a fan.

    Actually you described the feeling very well, almost too well (que spooky music.)

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Phyllis View Post
    They were basically a waste of time, and as I'm mortal, there is only limited book reading time left.
    silly me...i thought the purpose of reading sf/f was to waste time? (j/k)
    Last edited by KatG; August 30th, 2008 at 08:07 AM.

  10. #10
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    Patrick Rothfuss is almost Potter for grown ups

    I seen this before and I still don't get it. How the heck are they even remotely similiar accept for the fact they both go to a "magic school". There lives, experiences, character, friends and the story plot are no where near the same.

  11. #11
    Lemurs!!! Moderator Erfael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisW View Post
    Patrick Rothfuss is almost Potter for grown ups

    I seen this before and I still don't get it. How the heck are they even remotely similiar accept for the fact they both go to a "magic school". There lives, experiences, character, friends and the story plot are no where near the same.
    I don't know...there's a certain "academy" vibe that some books have. Ender's Game, Harry Potter, Soldier's Son, Name of the Wind. I really enjoyed Name of the Wind, but hadn't thought specifically about the parallel to HP. Having seen the comparison, though, I can see that some people would enjoy that aspect of it. I did.

  12. #12
    Registered User Phyllis's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replys everyone, I was expecting the overwhelming response to be 'you are such a crap fantasy fan'.

    It seems there is a wide variety of what is considered 'good' and different taste, so perhaps thats why people get put off the supposedly good books in the genre. I guess it makes things interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisW View Post
    1984, American Psycho

    Didn't realise thses were classed as fantasy?

    Give aSoIaF a try. If ya don't like that you might be in trouble or just have good taste(from your hates and likes it's hard to tell). Or you could try the new kids on the block, Abercombie, Lynch, Rothfuss etc.

    I was referring to them as classics in any genre, not fantasy classics.

    What is aSoIaF, pray tell?

  13. #13
    Lemurs!!! Moderator Erfael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phyllis View Post
    What is aSoIaF, pray tell?
    It's the series by George R. R. Martin, A Song of Ice and Fire which is generally considered to be the pinnacle of secondary-world fantasy. Though, as with anything else, there are people who don't care for that either.

    As KatG suggested, you may try reading some supernatural fantasy or looking into some other slice of the pie other than secondary-world fantasy. Some other YA authors or Jim Butcher may be a good suggestion from above. You may also look into authors like Jonathan Carroll or Graham Joyce, both of whom write more in the magical realism vein.

  14. #14
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    A Song of Ice and Fire which is generally considered to be the pinnacle of secondary-world fantasy.

    Prey tell who is this generally you talk of? Critics? Fantasy Fans? the general populace? Pretty sure there are plenty more people in all three groups who would give that title to LotR's. Even if you put "current" in there I still think that you are reaching.
    Last edited by ChrisW; August 29th, 2008 at 08:45 PM.

  15. #15
    Lemurs!!! Moderator Erfael's Avatar
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    Yes, I should have been more clear. In many fan communities (including a large portion of this particular forum), it's considered to be etc., etc....

    Disclaimer: That's not to say it's my favorite or the favorite of any particular person or persons here on this forum. It simply refers to the fact that whenever anyone comes looking for a recommendation around here, regardless of what they're looking for in particular, ASoIaF seems to be one of the top recommendations, for whatever reason.

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