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.