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  1. #46
    Repudiated Ursus s271's Avatar
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    IMHO on one hand it's mostly just momentum of inertia inherited from fairy tails and folk lore, which were frozen in Renaissance/later-middle age because they were recorder in that time and were replaced by printed literature later (in China, with long history of printing, there is no folk lore per se, almost all the folk tails are retelling of classical literature). On the gripping hand it's more easy to empathize with middle age protagonist than with ancient and prehistoric people, which had distinctively different culture and way of thinking.

  2. #47
    Palinodic Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atw View Post
    Not sure if all this is directed at me. But, I wasnít implying Iím irritated by a world without splinter religion, or even of religion in general. I donít think, for instance, that Joe Abercrombie even has religion in his books, that doesnít stop me from loving them or the setting.
    The First Law trilogy is built around religion -- Juvens, who is the equivalent of Jesus. It is, however, a religion that has been mostly discarded, given lip service, seen as a time of legends and the dangers of magic. Until Bayaz shows up. And there is the question of who is the real Judas and what has happened to the various people involved (who are virtually immortal.) Bayaz and his enemy in the South represent two splinter groups, and there is further dissension within groups. The Northmen have also their own religion with their own rituals in which they essentially worship fate.

    Usually, people in fantasy worlds have some form of a belief system which includes the creation or operation of the world, etc., and there's often dissent among belief systems. The religions don't have to replicate Earth ones.

  3. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riothamus View Post
    I know that modern fantasy has been on the rise recently, but it seems like so much of it stuck in the middle ages. I know we have the romantic images of knights, and certain great works of literature come from that time period, but many of the legends that influence modern works of fiction come from before that time. So why is fantasy seemingly stuck in the middle ages?
    I see your point. But I think its pretty much a standard mainstay that fantasy settings take place in a time period similar to medieval Europe between the years 500-1500 A.D. Though it would be more interesting to have a fantasy world of the same type of caucasian humans, white complected elves and dwarves in a setting/culture more similar to a medieval middle eastern/asian culture for a change.

  4. #49

    Any recomendations?

    Not sure if this is the right thread to post this, but seems like you guys know alot about modern fantasybooks. I havent read this whole thread so if there are anyone who has posted books, i have missed them.
    Any recomandations on fantasybooks set to our time?
    I like Jim Butcher, but havent found any other books i like as much as his.
    I like dark fantasy, so any moderntime fantasy in that genre would be great to.

  5. #50
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    Hi Dandroid,

    Welcome to the Forum! I think that the best place to ask for recommendations is this thread: http://www.sffworld.com/forums/showt...=20845&page=40

    I like Dresden too. Another series that I think is similar, though less fun and more serious, is "Felix Castor" by Mike Carey. The first book is called "The Devil You Know".

  6. #51
    Palinodic Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dandroid View Post
    Not sure if this is the right thread to post this, but seems like you guys know alot about modern fantasybooks. I havent read this whole thread so if there are anyone who has posted books, i have missed them.
    Any recomandations on fantasybooks set to our time?
    I like Jim Butcher, but havent found any other books i like as much as his.
    I like dark fantasy, so any moderntime fantasy in that genre would be great to.
    Try this thread:

    http://www.sffworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12100

  7. #52
    Registered User EMMAXIS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hippokrene View Post
    For many settings, there's little reason why magic would superseded or inhibit technological/scientific progress. It might change the emphasis, but for most settings, magic is not for the masses.

    You rarely see, for example, magic used to mine iron, refine it, and craft it into armor and weaponry, let alone shovels, woodaxes, or cooking pots. You might get one Sword of Ultimate Power from magic, but if you want a functional society, you still need regular mining, smelting, and metalcraft.

    Part of the problem is that modern people see science and technology as rarefied arts that only 10% of the population deals with. Likewise, we see pre-modern people as uneducated. But lots of technology is required to solve basic problems.

    How do I irrigate a large amount of land?
    How do I provide a city with enough water?
    How do I build a wall to protect that city?
    How do I build a boat to travel somewhere else?
    How do I navigate that boat when I'm on the water?
    How do I make my cows bigger so I have more meat to eat?
    How do I preserve extra food?
    How do I get drunk/high?
    How do I make a road cross a large body of water?

    Most settings don't use magic to solve these problems. And a setting where magic and magic users were ubiquitous enough to solve them consistantly would look very different from medieval Europe.

    This is precisely why I do not like to use magic in my fiction. If magic was a common thing in the Middle Ages, the Middle Ages would have looked very different.

  8. #53
    Star Gawker ebusinesstutor's Avatar
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    Terry Brook's Sword of Shannara fantasy series is set in the future. And there are lots of urban fantasy series set in the present.

  9. #54
    Quote Originally Posted by EMMAXIS View Post
    This is precisely why I do not like to use magic in my fiction. If magic was a common thing in the Middle Ages, the Middle Ages would have looked very different.
    Ah, but magic is a fickle thing that only a select amount of people know how to use or have the ability to use. People also have limits. Furthermore,just because you have something does not mean you should use it to the point of excess. If you look at many real world occult scripts, sorcery has laws. What are the laws of sorcery in the fantasy universe in question?

  10. #55
    Personally I regard fantasy as being the middle ages, knights, peasants and the occasional dragon etc.

    Other stuff I don't really see as being fantasy, perhaps this is a massive stereotype from myself but its the stuff I like reading.

    I just can't envision stuff with mobile phones and other tech as being fantasy, that's the remit of sci fi in my eyes. Steampunk, vampires or anything else is also other genres from my point of view.

    The mistborn books I liked (well apart from the ending), though I'd still class them as fantasy and not far removed from medieval stuff, was still horses for transport and fighting with swords etc.

    So perhaps the answer is that books not in this kind of setting aren't really fantasy? Or I've just not read enough outside my viewpoint along this line...

    I'm open to suggestions of "fantasy" that is of a different tact to try and broaden my horizons.

  11. #56
    Things Fall Apart AZimmer23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grumbledook View Post
    Personally I regard fantasy as being the middle ages, knights, peasants and the occasional dragon etc.

    Other stuff I don't really see as being fantasy, perhaps this is a massive stereotype from myself but its the stuff I like reading.

    I just can't envision stuff with mobile phones and other tech as being fantasy, that's the remit of sci fi in my eyes. Steampunk, vampires or anything else is also other genres from my point of view.

    The mistborn books I liked (well apart from the ending), though I'd still class them as fantasy and not far removed from medieval stuff, was still horses for transport and fighting with swords etc.

    So perhaps the answer is that books not in this kind of setting aren't really fantasy? Or I've just not read enough outside my viewpoint along this line...

    I'm open to suggestions of "fantasy" that is of a different tact to try and broaden my horizons.
    I'm with you on steampunk; that sub-genre, to me, is more retro-SF, relying heavily on Verne and Wells-style vision, but to disclude anything that doesn't have swords or horses or knights seems a little limiting. I'm not trying to be confrontational here, just my opinion.

    Are the Dresden Files not fantasy? You have magic, demons, people use swords occasionally, but it's set in modern day Chicago. It's urban fantasy, but it'still falls under the overall fantasy umbrella.

    The novel I'm working on and currently losing my mind over pre-supposes that magic and alchemy were wide-spread in the past, but were slowly choked out and gained obsolescence by the rise of mass religion and science and many magical creatures and lore passed into other realms. But the first atomic bomb test split the veil that separates this world from others. As a consequence, the folklore and peoples of the arcane realities were again accessible, and magic and alchemy again became forces, albeit still in the hands of the few. Cell phones, for example, contain both microcircuitry and alchemically purified metals. Is this still fantasy? I think so, but not in the sense by which you are defining it. Sci-fantasy. Okay, I've heard worse labels. But I am not a real big fan of pigeon-holing anything.

    As far as I'm concerned, much of Umberto Eco's fiction could be viewed as fantasy, including Foucault's Pendulum, which is set in the time it was written, the 80s.

  12. #57
    Quote Originally Posted by Grumbledook View Post
    I'm open to suggestions of "fantasy" that is of a different tact to try and broaden my horizons.
    China Mieville dude.
    Also Felix Gilman.

  13. #58
    There are a host of examples and counter-examples speaking to why low-tech milieus historically dominated fantasy and is still a large segment of the market. I suspect it will remain a large segment of the market and largely be dominated by Anglo-European themes for some time, for no other reason that it IS an established market with an established consumer base.

    That said, it is clearly changing.

    There is a basic truism of any endeavor: any idea the casual thinker has about advancing the discipline (in this case moving out of the Medieval), is an idea well-trod by masters of the craft.

    Short version: the critique, while once valid, is now past its prime.

    Long version:

    Fantasy is often presented in a low-tech setting because that is the path of least-resistance Ė well-worn, familiar, and comforting to those seeking comfort Ė and this works for both authors and readers. It is easier for authors, in that it reduces the tension between the known and unknown in their world-building, and so reduces the need for complex cultural analysis and exposition. It is easier for readers, for the exact same reasons (all the various critiques around lack of action, pacing, etc.). It is basically an extension of KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid), and is a reliable formula for success, something attractive to publishers and retailers.

    Fantasy is also being presented in ways that explicitly challenge this trope. From Steampunk to Urban Fantasy, to alternate worlds splintering from our own, there are examples along the entire spectrum, from magic and technology co-existing (Modesittís Recluse and Imager), to magic replacing technology or visa-versa (Boyettís Ariel), to anything goes (Zelaznyís Amber).

    Authors are creating worlds where magic IS responsible for the mundane, making technology superfluous (Brettís Warded Man, Butcherís Codex Alera), and make this point in their writings. Elsewhere, magic is rare but the dangers of the world are likely to periodically, in millennial cycles, reduce civilization to the basics (Martinís Song of Ice and Fire, Eriksonís/Esselmontís Malazan). Elsewhere, magic is the province of the very few, and technology will threaten their hegemony (Zelazyís Changeling, Elliotís Spiritwalker).

    I suspect that we canít come up with a specific trope pushing the boundaries of the traditional Fantasy framework (swords in high-tech, Magic in contemporary times, magic in far future, etc.), for which we canít also find a specific example or counter example (Hebertís Dune, Butcherís Dresden Files, Piers Anthonyís Adept Series respectively).

  14. #59
    I didn't read every response in the thread so I apologize if I'm covering ground that others have already tread. I'll keep it short.

    It does often seem that many fantasy works are set in medieval-like time periods, however I'd have to argue that there are many more that are not. You don't even have to search out "current" authors to find it. Authors such as Mary Shelley and Robert Louis Stevenson managed to churn out some quite good (!) novels that blend fantasy and science into stories that are everlasting in the hearts and minds of readers worldwide, without bending knee to the idea that in order for it to be a good "proper" fantasy story, it must be set 500 years ago.

    I'd venture to say anyone who claims all or most fantasy is based in medieval settings is choosing their books based on the cover art.

  15. #60
    Just t be clear, this is NOT a thread for recommendations in the slightest.

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