The Renaisance Faire Theory of Fantasy Literature

Is fantasy still just for nerds? Why is the fantasy genre so popular?

Fantasy fiction has evolved considerably over the past twenty years.  Most of the time when I read sentences like that I am extraordinarily skeptical, but this is an area where I have a certain amount of confidence.  I’ve always kept an eye on fantasy literature, always found it interesting, but I’ve had trouble finding books that I really enjoyed until the last decade or so.  Since the huge success of the Harry Potter books and films, and Peter Jackson’s interpretation of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (and the bloody Hobbit), the genre has changed a lot.  Some of the stuff that’s available now is even too serious for many readers.

The genre started to change even before that, however.  Serious works, like Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun were there, but they were hard to find.  George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire would have been written even if the LOTR films hadn’t been so successful, but I doubt it would have been made into a successful TV show that people talk about on the bus.  There’s a lot of speculation on why, particularly in the rise of Grimdark fantasy, but last week I came up with a funny little speculative theory, that I call the Renaissance Faire Theory of Fantasy Literature Evolution.  Plant your tongue in your cheek if you plan to keep reading.

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Writing Update

Or, How I learned to Stop Growling and Tell People What I’m Working On

People are constantly asking me what I’m working on, and I figured this is a good time to let people know “how it’s going.” If you know me, you know that I have the irritating habit (it irritates me, too) of trying to come up with an incredibly meaningful answer to the question “How ya doin’?” Hopefully this will suffice. People are also always asking me what I do for a living, and in case you missed that I quit science and science teaching (although I’m available as a tutor!) because of the exceedingly screwed-up academic world. I miss the cavernous libraries and lecture halls, but I’m able to visit enough to satisfy me.

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