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Julie

What draws you toward fantasy?

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I have not been reading for very long really but I love any book that will take me completely away from real life, I started off with the Hobbit and the ventured onto Terry Brooks when I was pregnant with my eldest daughter 8 years ago and have not looked back since, currently reading Book 4 of the Malloreon by Eddings. I find it really hard to put a fantacy book down once I have started it, I love the pictures they conjor in my imagination as I read them. I have to admit having a sci-fi film & comic book geek for a husband I am partial to both sci-fi and fantacy.

 

I have started to read some disc world as my mum is a complete nut for them, I really like the ones about the witches I think the characters are fantastic.

 

Any advise on other good reads would be appreciated, I have started reading Travel books and Crime Thrillers and have just joined the local book group which is helping me look at other types of books but I still would like to advance in the relms of fantacy!

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I grew up reading Terry Brooks & Mercedes Lackey. My favorite book was "Ladies of Mandrigyn" by Barbara Hambly. When I started writing, it was a natural progression for me to write it. I LOVE Joseph Campbell.

 

What I enjoy about fantasy is, yeah it's not real on the surface, but it's a type of modern mythology. It gives a forum for truth without being preachy. It's the quest, it's characters growing beyond themselves, accepting the different, the triumph of good over evil. It gives a message of hope when reality can be a bit bleak. It keeps a sense of wonder in the world - the kind children have that adults tend to lose. It keeps you guessing shapes in the clouds and wondering "Did dragons exist? Where are they hiding now?"

 

My Motto on my website http://www.reneewildes.com is "Believing Is Seeing." I like writing outside the box. When one NY published told me "high fantasy" romance was a cliche, and another one told me they liked me but I didn't fit slot A or B (& they didn't have a slot C), I found someone else who did share the vision. I have 2 fantasy romances w/Samhain, and the first one that's out was a Top Ten seller and garnered 2 5-star reviews, so I KNOW there are other people out there who share the same vision!

 

Never lose the magic. It's what keeps you going.

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Welcome to hoggy and Renee Wilde - maybe you'd like to tell us a little more about yourselves in the Please Introduce Yourself thread?

 

While I don't quite share your enthusiasm for fantasy, what you have both said in your posts would make sense to most readers of fiction, I think!

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I am an absolute fantasy fan. If I had to pick a genre, fantasy will escape my mouth within seconds. Reasons? Well, if I hated my life at the moment, I can escape within a created world, unfolding beneath my eyes. Just like what you meant by escapist.

I love made-up things. I can be creative at times, but I love authors who try to do something out of the ordinary. Magic and supernatural is the aspect that draws me closer. I'd like to see things that are different from reality.

I also like science-fiction. Not one of the best but it's ok.

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for me I get drawn to fantasy because I enjoy letting my mind escape and think of the possiblities of being in the story myself. (very child like I know) But also I love imagination and the creation of new creatures like in the chronicles of narnia. I love CS Lewis' stuff. Truly quality.

 

Also I've just read a book a couple of books from a trilogy called the chronicles of the brothers. It's about Lucifer, Gabriel and Michael in Heaven before the creation of the earth. The author is Wendy Alec and what she's done is write an interesting slant on the war in heaven and what the angels and demons get up to behind the scenes through bible times.

 

I found it very interesting indeed. But again for me it was pure escapism and I loved the imagination behind her work.

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I don't know how it started but Fantasy has alwasy been my fave genre. It could have been the books my parents read to me when I was small or that series about a magical cat I read in school but I don't remember a time when I havn't been into fantasy. It is the escapism - the ability to read a book and be drawn into another world.

 

Funnily enough, I find it easier to imagine main characters with wings (Lucifer Yaslana - The Black Jewel Trilogy) mystical beasties that can talk (Mr Tumness - Narnia) and cities under the sea or in the sky than I can get into books based in our here and now. Unless, of course, they are like Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere with strong other-world overtones. I also have a preference for historical fiction pre-1900's, mainly ancient times. Also, there are few books where a human stumbles upon a fantasy realm that I enjoy. I prefer to be completly immearsed so as to find it suprising to look up and I'm on a bus in the Real World!

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I read both fantasy and sci-fi although I don't find much sci-fi I like these days. It seems to me that fantasy has taken over where the kind of sci-fi I liked stopped. I read a lot of Asimov, Heinlen, Arthur C. Clarke, Wyndham, Herbert - all the classics and then some. I ferociously devoured every sci-fi book I could lay my sticky hands on. I'm still fond of a good sci-fi book (when I can find one). I morphed into reading fantasy with those cross-over authors who write books that fall on both sides of the fantasy / sci-fi divide - Le Guin, Julian May, Heinlen and McCaffrey specifically come to mind as I think back. 

 

If I analyse the kind of sci-fi that I liked the most, the stories dealt with the emotional and psychological impact of alien contact, new worlds, different cultures, universes etc and sci-fi authors haven't written those kind of books in ages, while the fantasy genre does. 

 

I think that what I like about fantasy the most is the ability to explore culture, religion, a way of looking at the world in a way that seldom gets people's ire up as it would if you were discussing human culture, religion, politics etc. Take Sherri S. Tepper's books for example which are powerful feminist literature but seldom do you hear people ranting about them because they are not earth. 

Dune explores many religious and political themes. Heinlen's Stranger in a Strange Land looks at earth from an alien perspective. I, Robot discusses what it is to be human. The Thomas Covenant books deal with depression, alienation, and modern man's inability to believe in the impossible. I'm more like the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland - "I try to believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

 

Having said that though - I'm still fond of a good swashbuckling Sword and Magic adventure - but then those books usually appeal to the side of me that likes a good action movie / kung fu movie, and I'm also a fan of Wuxia, which never gets a mention in any discussion of fantasy so I'm bringing it up. Wuxia is the invention of one Chinese author - Jin Yong and his books have, in some way or the other, been the basis of many martial arts movies. (If it has flying people and fantastical weapons in it - its probably drew on one of his stories somewhere). He isn't the only Wuxia author but he was the one who started the genre. Wuxia is firmly a fantasy genre. People have super-human abilities and magic conferred on them by advanced martial arts training, but swords+magic=fantasy no matter how the magic was obtained.

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Thank you for mentioning Wuxia, AR, I had never heard of it before as such but enjoyed Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and look forward to exploring it more.

 

The main reason I enjoy fantasy is appreciation of and joy in the imagination if the authors.  I love many of the old classics, and LOTR set me on the path long ago and is dear to my heart for that reason, but many new authors continuously delight me.

 

What I enjoy most are the descriptions of the various physical forms, the meticulous care of the building and detail of worlds, lands or cities, and the anachronisms and anomalies that are amusing and apt. Clever dialogue, again often completely anachronistic, makes me laugh, even when some of the books are fairly dark. A mix up of mythical, supernatural and the real world is glorious.

 

All these aspects, often far more than the actual plot, makes fantasy enjoyable and relaxing reading for me.  Clever graphic artists create maps and illustrations which can be found through web images; the art of book covers is a collectors feast and, for those of us who enjoy or rely on audible versions, excellent narrators make each story come alive even more. Just an ongoing celebration of imagination.

 

Some examples

 

Ghouls, in a modern world, are the logical creatures to clear up after a murder scene. Of course they need a refrigerated van for transport and to store bodies.  Until they have time to eat them - Iron Druid Chronicles.

 

The cleverly described city-state of Camorr, built on canals and vaguely similar to Venice - Gentleman Bastard series;  the grim crazy city-state and inhabitants of New Crobuzon -Perdido Street Station. 

 

An eccentric scientist who is thinking through the possibilities of harnessing  energy from the activity generated in crisis, has a brilliant moment of "Crisis Energy" revelation .... and then goes to look for his abacus and slide rule to get it down to formulae - Perdido Street Station again.

 

The careful blending of the djinni and the golem into life around Little Syria and Washington Square in 19th century New York and the fine historical detail of the societies living in those areas. The Golem and the Djinni.

Edited by grasshopper

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I see you read more steampunk which I have not yet gotten into. I keep meaning to because I really liked Wild Wild West with Will Smith which is absolutely a steam punk movie! (And should it have been viewed as such it might have got better reviews) I think the two new Sherlock Holmes movies with Robert Downey Jnr could also fall into a semi-steampunk category as well. 

 

What I'm waiting for with great anticipation are more good fantasy movies. With Game of Thrones being so successful as a TV series it might just happen. LOTR set the stage but the Narnia movies kind of killed the possibility of more following in its footsteps a little. I have a long list of books that I would love to see on the big screen. 

 

Oh two other really good movies that fall into fantasy realm are the two Detective Dee movies - Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame and Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon. Both are very good.

 

Sea Dragon:

 

 

Phantom Flame:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOw-sIBrSR8

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In that respect I regret the failure of "John Carter" a little. There was a nice flavour of steampunk about it, too.

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In that respect I regret the failure of "John Carter" a little. There was a nice flavour of steampunk about it, too.

 

I've been meaning to see that for a while because I'm a fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs. I have all (most of his Tarzan books) and the Barsoom Series.

 

 

What I enjoy most are the descriptions of the various physical forms, the meticulous care of the building and detail of worlds, lands or cities, and the anachronisms and anomalies that are amusing and apt. Clever dialogue, again often completely anachronistic, makes me laugh, even when some of the books are fairly dark. A mix up of mythical, supernatural and the real world is glorious.

 

All these aspects, often far more than the actual plot, makes fantasy enjoyable and relaxing reading for me.  Clever graphic artists create maps and illustrations which can be found through web images; the art of book covers is a collectors feast and, for those of us who enjoy or rely on audible versions, excellent narrators make each story come alive even more. Just an ongoing celebration of imagination.

 

 

 

 

World building is of course an integral part of fantasy. When you consider the complexity of the universes some authors create it blows the mind. They make up complete functional languages - Elvish any one? Ecosystems, economies, complex political and social structures and of course the basic 'rules' of the universe in which magic and/or any other abilities not normal to our universe.

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Though, matter of fact, most fantasy worlds are more or less crude simulacra of medieval European kingdoms with wizards and dragons in. I would like to read something more inventive, say: about the Imhoteps or Ptolemys in a fantasy world resembling Egypt.

Edited by Romanike

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Though, matter of fact, most fantasy worlds are more or less crude simulacra of medieval European kingdoms with wizards and dragons in. I would like to read something more inventive, say: about the Imhoteps or Ptolemys in a fantasy world resembling Egypt.

 

Stargate? 

 

http://www.tmycann.com/tag/egypt/

 

A request for submissions to an anthology of steampunk set in Cairo - http://horrortree.com/event/taking-submissions-cairo-gaslight/

 

another list : http://www.noreen-doyle.com/EgyptomaniaOrg/aef/EgyptSFF.html

 

Rick Riordan - Kane Chronicles

 

Thebes of the Hundred Gates by Robert Silverberg

 

Isn't Google wonderful!

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It is.

 

 

Rick Riordan - Kane Chronicles

 

I have read about half of Vol. 1 before I cast myself into Apophis' mouth from boredom. Not exactly what I meant by "Imhoteps or Ptolemys". ...

Edited by Romanike

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Escapism like everyone else.

 

And if done right a new template to explore the human condition. Donaldson and martin spring to mind. Fantasy may never win the accolades that the latest 'modern literary masterpiece' but that's often just bias. Like the movies that get into Cannes. Some can be just as good if people are willing to look past the goblins and dragons.

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