Discussion of modern fantasy

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Joram
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Re: Discussion of modern fantasy

Post by Joram »

Really, people enjoy THAT book? It gives childish un-literary book a new meaning.
Dr. Suess wrote a lot of childish un-literary books, but I respect him anyway. :P

But seriously, I know what you mean. I looked into the first one, and while I felt it reasonable given the target age (particularly considering how short it was) and better than some stuff I've read that was intended for more mature audiences (sad, sad), I have absolutely no interest in the other books. There's really nothing innovative, compelling, or even imaginative about the story. Plus, he built up the rangers to be so "mysterious" and "deadly", and it turns out that they're about as mysterious as the county Sheriff. Classical promise without delivery that has become more and more common lately (see The Wheel of Time for more promise without delivery, regarding villains rather than heroes).


Also, the author made a huge technical error regarding horses when the main character is told he can't train horses cause he's too small. If you rely on your size for ANYTHING when training a horse, you will fail. Plain and simple. No matter how big you are, they are about 10 times bigger. You cannot *force* a horse to do anything, nor will size help you avoid getting hurt. Also, while he never explicitly stated it, he hinted and implied all over the place that the "fancy" war horses ridden by knights were developed for show and were not really all that functional. Annoying in its inaccuracy (not that it's all that important in the grand scheme of things :P )
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bumbadadabum
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Re: Discussion of modern fantasy

Post by bumbadadabum »

Also, the author made a huge technical error regarding horses when the main character is told he can't train horses cause he's too small. If you rely on your size for ANYTHING when training a horse, you will fail. Plain and simple. No matter how big you are, they are about 10 times bigger. You cannot *force* a horse to do anything, nor will size help you avoid getting hurt. Also, while he never explicitly stated it, he hinted and implied all over the place that the "fancy" war horses ridden by knights were developed for show and were not really all that functional. Annoying in its inaccuracy (not that it's all that important in the grand scheme of things :P )
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thespaceinvader
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Re: Discussion of modern fantasy

Post by thespaceinvader »

Horses are something a LOT of fantasy authors make mistakes about. They see them as integral to the processes and workings of good fantasy (and they often are) but authors have a tendency to fail to do the research properly on horses.

The best authors tend to avert this in one of three ways: 1: Do the research. David Eddings was quite good at this as I recall. 2: Gloss over the horses - minimal research, and minimal treatment. Have pages or ostlers handle them at all times, and only have the characters ride them. 3: Don't use them at all.

But there will inevitably be places where research fails and something goes wrong in an area where some of your readership has significant expertise. The best authors make it not matter.
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Velensk
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Re: Discussion of modern fantasy

Post by Velensk »

I only read the first book.

I did not find it to be 'bad' in any way (aside from failures in research and a generally 'theme park' view of history but I'd consider these minor flaws considering the story being told). I just found it to be boring (over use of archtypes/cliches I'd seen before didn't help here) and very much aimed at different people. On the assumption that the reader has not read enough stories to have seen the archtypes repeatedly (a safe assumption for most of the intended audiance) I do not think that it would be as much of a problem.
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Frogger5
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Re: Discussion of modern fantasy

Post by Frogger5 »

I could do a nice long rant about deltora quest books. But a lot of you wont want to hear it.

TSI: Actually, David Eddings was accurate on a lot more things than horses. One thing he was completely not accurate on were mangonels. In the book they were portrayed as giant catapults that could fling huge boulders. When in reality, they were mini catapults. The other thing I didn't like about David Eddings was the way he 'showed off' his accurate information, as though to display his intelligence to impress the reader. The other thing I didn't like was the fact that all the knights were big beefy tough guys which were fun at first, then got boring. By the way, I'm talking about the Sparhawk series.
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Joram
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Re: Discussion of modern fantasy

Post by Joram »

@TSI: Yeah, I'm generally pretty forgiving of technical errors. Largely because I'm trying to write something myself, and the amount of stuff you need to know to write accurate fantasy is staggering. I just threw it out there because I found it interesting.


I agree with Velensk though, that The Rangers apprentice wasn't really bad, other than the failure to deliver on the ranger build up. But that's a good deal more forgivable than some of the things I've seen (and ranted about). Overall, I'd rank The Rangers Apprentice as acceptable. Not something I'd recommend to anyone, but tolerable enough for the target audience that it you told me you bought it for your kids I wouldn't feel too strongly compelled to give you a six page list of better books (not that I couldn't come up with such a list ^_^ )


P.S. This sentence serves no purpose other than to direct everyone's attention to my new campaign, featured in my signature.
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Herduk
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Re: Discussion of modern fantasy

Post by Herduk »

thespaceinvader wrote:Note: it is still possible to write good fantasy with the traditional set of species. You just have to make sure that you don't rely on your audience's expectations of what they should be to substitute for world-building and characterisation. The Dwarves by Markus Heitz and Stan Nicholls' Orcs books are both excellent examples. But coming up with your own worlds is a much, much better idea. Usually.
Or you can use the old species in the old world but with a new view like did Sergej Vasilievič Luk'janenko.
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