: fantasy monarchies

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Mon Feb 3 18:20:13 EST 2003


On Mon, 3 Feb 2003 14:57:24 -0800 (PST), Jon Noble wrote:

>--- Melissa Proffitt <Melissa at Proffitt.com> wrote:

>> 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.  

>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 too little
>of that.

And I agree with you.  It's just that it doesn't really matter, in the long
run.  There aren't enough people like you and me and all the other fans of
unconventional fantasy to make a mark on the genre.  For the numbers of
those stories to increase, the readership has to increase.  It sucks,
because I keep running out of books to read.  Good thing the YA market
doesn't suffer the same problem.  All I'm saying is that our desires for a
particular kind of fantasy novel aren't part of a large enough group to
evoke change in the market. 

>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.

What I think is, everybody who is interested in reading unconventional
fantasy is already doing so.  And the rest of them don't want anything
different.  What I see happening, as far as crossover readership goes, is
that there are three groups now: a smallish one that only reads SF, a
middle-sized one that reads both SF and fantasy, and a HUGE one that only
reads fantasy.  Those people are weighing us down and should be jettisoned.
:)

Basically, I agree with everything you say, but from my point of view, it's
useless to ask "why is everyone still doing the Tolkien thing?" because I
don't think it's really the authors' fault.  I think there are probably a
lot of would-be authors who are writing exactly what I want to read, but who
can't get published because publishers know that they are more likely to
make a million dollars publishing crappy Tolkien knock-offs than taking a
chance on some weird world where there aren't any kings and, I don't know,
you have to use bones to do magic.  (Anyone wonder how Martha Wells ever got
published?)

Now I'm depressed.  I'm going to have a good cry and make potstickers like a
mindless drone of the establishment.

Melissa Proffitt

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