Modern Fantasy, eh?

I was doing a little pre-work blog reading yesterday when I came across this gem. I really don't know what to call it. It's not an analysis because no actual analyzation happens during the post. It's not a review, because it's not aimed at a particular book but rather an entire subgenre (or maybe even genre as a whole). No, let's just call it an opinion. It's one man's opinion of the modern fantasy genre--specifically naming two of my favorite authors: Joe Abercrombie and Steven Erikson. And a kind opinion it is not.

I don't have anything to say about the article. Ok, that's not true. I have plenty to say. None of it is nice and I couldn't put even a fraction of it into less than a page. Hell. I'm going to try anyway.

It made my blood boil in the same way literary elitists in the English program at college did. Not just because it attacks writing I like. No, it attacks a whole category of Fantasy that I someday hope to be recognized within. It takes everything I do, all of my hopes and dreams and career aspirations, and calls them "postmodern blasphemies against our mythic tradition" because one elitist zealot has gone all St. Augustine on the literary tradition of Fantasy, with Tolkien and Robert E. Howard as his Lords and Saviors.

I love Grandpa Tolkien. You're going to find few modern fantasy writers that don't. Most owe their career to his influence, at least in part. Yet he is not the Fantasy Jehovah. His works are not law, cannonized by higher authority, their words sacred.

I won't even start into the comparison between Tolkien and modern writers. It's unfair, and frankly naive. Howard is a much better comparison and I would bet one of my dogs (the smart one) that the creator of Conan the Barbarian would love Abercrombie's First Law series or Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen.

I'm gonna stop now. I think my most apt description of that article is naive. Naive and foolish.

I actually came across the article from Joe Abercrombie's blog, where he wrote a response. It was enjoyable.

World Fantasy: Looking Back

World Fantasy was a wonderful time last year. I quite enjoyed it and though I didn't do the networking I needed, I feel that the overall experience was key in me getting out my queries and ultimately getting an agent. It gave me a sense of purpose and helped me realize (as I do every time I go to a convention) that I'm a small fish in an ocean. Or something like that. There are a lot of writers out there trying to break into the field and this knowledge, whether new or old, can be rather daunting.

I'm not sure what difference there was between Denver and LA Worldcons and World Fantasy in Columbus, but I was far more manic than I'd ever been before. I hardly slept the entire weekend. I wandered a lot, and when I did have a chance to talk to an editor I babbled. By the time the Saturday night parties started I was frazzled and sleep-deprived and finally gave up and drove home at about 10PM.

I was really nervous about approaching people. One of my big regrets was when a friend offered to introduce me to John Scalzi and I never took her up on it. Since, John's blog has been one of the many I've begun to follow. From a writer's standpoint I understand that his book reviews can really do wonders for a person's sales and some face time would have been nice even if my first book is still many years from print. From a personal standpoint his wit and opinions are just the kind I enjoy in a person and he seems like the kind of guy you want to be friends with. Makes me wish I had shaken his hand.


I have gone through the bowels of hell and back again. Yes, that's right. I had a cold last weekend. I've spoken before about how I deal with illness (read: not well) so needless to say I'm glad to be back on the upswing. A full 522 page manuscript has been shipped of to Caitlin for her line edit. Honestly, I can't wait to get it back. I demolished 12K words during that last edit and the novel is much better for it.

Speaking of which, here's a blog post for you from Lightning and Lightning Bugs on Six Things I Wish I'd Known When Writing My First Novel.

I had the great benefit of taking Brandon Sanderson's Fantasy Writing Class at BYU and so I had this kind of advice earlier than most prospective authors but I think one really needs to finish their first novel and then read it a year later and realize what rubbish it is and learn these things for themselves. Early iterations of Butcher's Price amounted to well over 200K words of writing that I tossed in the trash can before actually finishing the novel (which didn't turn out quite as well as it should have anyway).