Hi Everyone! So, you know the drill by now, each Wednesday we grab a new blogger to come and do a guest post for us, they can write on any subject they’d like to, as long as it’s to do with Fantasy/Horror/SF. This week we have Gavin Pugh from gavreads.co.uk, chatting about stereotypes in Fantasy.
I love fantasy books, but if I say I read fantasy to someone who last experienced that particular genre as a teen, they immediately assume I read Epic Fantasy. Now, there is something wrong with that. I’ve spent many an hour reading these sorts of books, but I must admit that, as I grow older, I tend to steer around them and head for other things.
I guess my default is Urban Fantasy with a crime/mystery/detective twist as written by Mike Carey (who owes me a sixth book in his series), Jim Butcher (thirteen books and going strong), Ben Aaronovitch (who feels like he’s only just scratched the surface at three) and Charlie Stross (on his fourth – how do I make him write faster?) to name a few favourites. I guess the difference between their books and Epic, or Traditional Fantasy for that matter, is that they’re more like episodes of a TV series than a big arc. (Not that I don’t do big arcs – Mark Chadbourn kept me entertained for over a decade, with the trilogy of trilogies The Age of Misrule, where magic returned to the modern day and Celtic myth was reawakened.)
I also enjoy the sub-genre of books that treat London as an extra character; the most famous (but unread by me) being Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. China Miéville has had a go at it with Kraken (he really twists the idea of religion), so has Kate Griffin (who will make you see telephones in a completely different, blue light) and then we have Tom Pollock’s The City’s Son, which really is one the highlights of my reading year so far (and I’m not just saying that because of this blog) because of how he brings the surrounding city literally to life.
Though, speaking of Jo Fletcher authors, I had a great time chatting to Karen Lord about Redemption in Indigo for my podcast, which you can listen to here. We talked about how she drew on her own culture and myths to come up with the Indigo Lord. This brings me to another aspect of fantasy I enjoy. Authors who retell myth. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey retells a Russian fairy tale, and even foreshadows events without spoiling the tension.
I guess what I’m saying is that I like my fantasy with a little mystery and a little magic but also planted with a root in reality, like Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, which is a reality of it’s own. And I’d love the default to be nearer to marvels and wonders rather than just A Game of Thrones.
So, JFB say a hearty thank you to Gavin for this week’s post . You can also chat to Gavin on Twitter @gavreads and check out his blog here.