Tuesday, June 01, 2010
Fantasy by Definition: Part 5
This has been a long series of posts but I’ve still barely scratched the surface of the Heroic Fantasy field. There are many other books and authors I could talk about, and I’ve barely touched on the whole subgenre of Urban Fantasy, which I know virtually nothing about. I’ve only read a couple of books in that field, and they were much more modern in setting than what I’ve discussed with the other four subgenres. That makes it very different to me. There are also many books that don’t fit clearly into the subgenres as I’ve described them.
Glen Cook’s Black Company books, for example, seem to cross the border between Sword & Sorcery and High Fantasy, though I tend to put them more on the side of S and S. Or take John Norman’s controversial Gor series. There we have an earthman transported to an exotic alien world, as in Sword and Planet fiction, but the earthman certainly isn’t chivalrous. And what is one to make of the Aldair books of Neal Barrett, Jr.? Aldair is an intelligent pig who lives on a future earth where beasts of various kinds have been raised-—Dr. Moreau fashion—-to a semblance of human form. There is even the Redwall series of Brian Jacques, which would clearly be High Fantasy to me if it weren’t about...mice.
But this is all good thing. We don’t want our fantasy to be churned out by some paint-by-the-numbers process. Besides, the exceptions just make the whole process more fun to argue about.
As for the films, from Conan the Barbarian to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, from Excalibur to Red Sonja. Well, most fantasy movies don’t do much for me, although I rather like two of the ones listed in my previous sentence. We could argue for ages undreamed of about such films’ quality, or lack thereof. But that’s another post, or maybe a series of them. :)
Thanks everyone for reading and commenting.