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Old 28th March 2012, 01:16 PM   #76 (permalink)
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Re: When fantasy is just too dark

I have to say that most of the authors you mention for their "fake" characters had their heyday in the 80s and 90s - fantasy has moved on since then!

However it seems to me that you want to chain fantasy to its pulp beginnings. Each to his own, I suppose - but I recommend you stay away from my books if you don't like characters with dramatic pasts or diverse emotions!
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Old 28th March 2012, 01:52 PM   #77 (permalink)
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Re: When fantasy is just too dark

No, not 'fake characters', 'fake depth'
And I would very much like to see more of fantasy 'back in the gutter where it belongs', but also more of the Delany/Le Guin 'not fake depth' type which seems now to have been but a fluke in the genre's development.
I see you're out with Angry Robot - congratulations! It must be a wonderful feeling, and I wish you an ever-rising success.
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Old 28th March 2012, 01:59 PM   #78 (permalink)
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Re: When fantasy is just too dark

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No, not 'fake characters', 'fake depth'
And I would very much like to see more of fantasy 'back in the gutter where it belongs', but also more of the Delany/Le Guin 'not fake depth' type which seems now to have been but a fluke in the genre's development.
I've read little to nothing by the authors you mention (Jordan, etc) - I read some Eddings and Brooks and was turned off the whole epic fantasy genre for nearly two decades

I don't think Le Guin et al were flukes. There's still good writing around, but as in their day, the good tends to get overshadowed by the commercially successful.

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I see you're out with Angry Robot - congratulations! It must be a wonderful feeling, and I wish you an ever-rising success.
Thank you! Got a busy couple of weeks ahead - signings and conventions and stuff - then it's back to the grindstone...

(BTW, sorry if I was grumpy earlier. I'm going down with a cold three days before my first book signing. This has not put me in a good mood )
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Old 28th March 2012, 02:15 PM   #79 (permalink)
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Re: When fantasy is just too dark

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I'm going down with a cold three days before my first book signing.
Oh, I'm also very psychosomatic. Last time I told everyone that I'll finish my next project in less than a month, I immediately went down with the flu.
Same thing happened a few years ago the very day I signed on to a second job - consciously I was proud of being such a perfect dude, but my unconscious mind rebelled at the lack of rest and me-time that this would obviously entail and I got a monstrous flu attack, but kept it at bay for two weeks with pharmaceutical warfare and managed to break the neurotic resistance.

Sleep more, rest your eyes when possible, lots of water, you know the drill. No one will know you're stoned on cold medicine during the signings
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Old 28th March 2012, 02:18 PM   #80 (permalink)
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Re: When fantasy is just too dark



I'm trying to look at it as "beating the con crud by getting it before I go"! I've had colds after both the last big conventions I went to.
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Old 28th March 2012, 07:07 PM   #81 (permalink)
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Re: When fantasy is just too dark

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With the 'social realism' they add fake depth through people's backs hurting, their food being icky, the doctors being incompetent, the horse having worms..
I think you are conflating "dark" with "irrelevant and distracting detail" , something that occurs in low-grade fiction of every hue and genre.
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Old 29th March 2012, 01:32 PM   #82 (permalink)
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Re: When fantasy is just too dark

Personally I rather like the detail. So long as it's not piled on in absurd quantities, I think it can really help. I'm much more willing to be interested in a world where the author has done some rearch into what it's like to ride a horse, how medieval society works and so on rather than just another chainmail-and-fencing-foils mashup. Likewise I'd rather read a book with decent characterisation. Fantasy can get generic very quickly.

But I agree that dark stuff can feel really fake. It's when the writer feels the need to put in details not for the sake of realism but just to up the misery-content that it feels false.

I wonder if this general discussion ties into the opinion occasionally made that good guys are boring. Yes, they are boring if you regard characterisation as a sign of rampant evil. I actually had to tone down some of the lunacy in Space Captain Smith when I looked at some of the real-world soldiers and explorers that his personailty is based upon. I think that evil characters are more boring, because they tend to do exactly what the Dark Lord tells them.
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Old 29th March 2012, 02:45 PM   #83 (permalink)
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Re: When fantasy is just too dark

That's what makes Gollum such an interesting character.
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Old 29th March 2012, 04:28 PM   #84 (permalink)
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Re: When fantasy is just too dark

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That's what makes Gollum such an interesting character.
Exactly. The bad guys are often much more interesting than the knight in shining armour.

Steerpike
Alan Howard Treesong et al
Ming the Merciless
Professor Moriarty
Miss Brunner
The Queen of Hearts
Morgana le Fay
The Joker
Shere Khan
Long John Silver
Captain Hook
Judge Holden
Mr Hyde
Mrs Coulter
Voldemort
Ebenezer Scrooge
Obadiah Slope
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Old 29th March 2012, 05:16 PM   #85 (permalink)
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Re: When fantasy is just too dark

Even better than bad guys - the ones who you're unsure which side they're on:

Severus Snape
Lord Gro

um, would come up with some more but I have to go and catch my bus home!
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Old 31st March 2012, 11:16 AM   #86 (permalink)
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Re: When fantasy is just too dark

Ive found this thread interesting because I like dark fantasy. I did struggle with Martin's series and Eddings not because they were too dark, but because they were too heavy on the political side

I loved the Farseers series by Hobb And yes when you have favourite characters get hurt or die, it really gets to you
And I also like most of China Mieville stuff, great characters

So what series/books would folks recommend that are dark, but not too political Always looking for something gritty
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Old 31st March 2012, 12:06 PM   #87 (permalink)
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Re: When fantasy is just too dark

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I actually had to tone down some of the lunacy in Space Captain Smith when I looked at some of the real-world soldiers and explorers that his personailty is based upon.
Too true when you look back at the life of some of the Victorian soldiers and explorers they make Allan Quartermain look like a wimpish stay-at-home.
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Old 31st March 2012, 12:44 PM   #88 (permalink)
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Re: When fantasy is just too dark

It's not quite the same era, but reminds me of a fantastic photo I saw on QI. It was in the days of early aviation, and showed two chap playing table tennis on the wings of an airborne plane!

Rune, I love the political aspects of A Song of Ice and Fire. Mind you, I'm quite into classical history and politics.
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Old 31st March 2012, 08:35 PM   #89 (permalink)
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Re: When fantasy is just too dark

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So what series/books would folks recommend that are dark, but not too political Always looking for something gritty
The Steel Remains, by Richard Morgan. Dark and violent, but wonderfully written. Less political than GRRM, more focused around three main characters, all war veterans, who find themselves facing...well you'll have to read it to find out

Sequel The Cold Commands is out, but I haven't read it yet...
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Old 31st March 2012, 11:34 PM   #90 (permalink)
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Re: When fantasy is just too dark

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JQP, put some big SPOILER tags on that, man!
Whoops, sorry. I think the time for editing is past.
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