: fantasy monarchies

Jon Noble jon_p_noble at yahoo.com
Mon Feb 3 17:57:24 EST 2003

--- Melissa Proffitt <Melissa at Proffitt.com> wrote:
> On Mon, 3 Feb 2003 12:30:40 -0800 (PST), Jon Noble
> wrote:
> >I fully accept that LOTR has to be way it is to
> work,
> >and that it reflects JRRT's beliefs on the nature
> of
> >Good and Evil, but those books appeared almost 50
> >years ago!! Why is everyone still doing the same
> >thing?
> Because the drones who buy the endless knockoffs
> *want* the same thing.
> They want comfort and vicarious thrills, not real
> thought.
> Oops.  There goes the Cynicism Monkey again.  Back
> in the cage, boy....
> Anyway, the point is that if authors are writing it,
> it's because there's a
> market for it.  Publishers buy it because there's a
> market for it.  There's
> a quote from Lois Bujold's books somewhere that sums
> it up nicely, but I can
> only paraphrase it--egalitarians do just fine in
> aristocracies as long as
> they get to be the aristocrats.  These fantasy
> monarchies invite the readers
> to identify with the people in power, and by
> extension to imagine themselves
> as innately powerful.  After all, in such books
> you're born to the purple;
> that's a seductive fantasy, to believe you're
> inherently important and
> worthwhile.  Far easier than discovering your true
> and inherent self-worth.

I know there's a market for it (I sometimes feel I'm a
large part of it} and I enjoy reading a good
wish-fulfilment fantasy as much as the next being.
HOWEVER I also love it when I find something
different. Somthing that turns a couple of fantasy
conventions on their heads. And there is far to little
of that. Really the closest we get are books that send
up the conventions like Pratchett and DWJ's Tough
Tad Williams turned on a few - the nature of evil,
prophecy and deep history in Memory, Sorrow and Thorn;
George RR Martin shows us the dangers of getting too
attached to particular heroes or villians. However
there is so much more out there that can be played
with. SF authors have been playing with the
conventions of SF for a long time - probably almost as
long as those conventions have existed, but despite
the crossover of readership and authorship this hasn't
been a feature of fantasy.


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