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Fantasy Stories Are Unpopular

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Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:26 am
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ZeroKelvin says...



I have heard it argued both ways that fantasy is an unpopular genre at the moment, especially amongst the teenage and young adult demographics.
Firstly, I would like to determine whether this is in fact true, or whether it is just a commonly propounded attack on fantasy. Or, perhaps, whether it is something else entirely.
Secondly, I would like to know why.

Would anyone care to help tackle this gordian knot?
"He who fights with monsters should take care lest he in turn become a monster...
...And if you stare for too long into an abyss then the abyss stares back into you."
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Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:06 pm
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SubjectBlue says...



I disagree, fantasy is very popular nowadays especially in younger crowds.
Every second teenage novel nowadays is an adventure fantasy, a ton of movies both for teen and adult and for one good example, just recently HBO produced a series based on George Martin's amazing "song of ice and fire" named as the first novel- the game of thrones.

I think it's quite the opposite, fantasy is flourishing nowadays like never before.
That is just my opinion though.
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Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:16 pm
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ZeroKelvin says...



Hm.
Who are HBO? I don't think I'm familiar with that publisher. One of the reasons I said that Fantasy was unpopular is because it currently seems to be under seige by paranormal romance, or just general paranormal. Twilight, Percy Jackson, that sort of thing. Some of it might be good, but it isn't technically fantasy.
"He who fights with monsters should take care lest he in turn become a monster...
...And if you stare for too long into an abyss then the abyss stares back into you."
- Friederich Nietschze.

Phn'glui Mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'Lyeh Wgah'nagl Fhtagn!
Ia Cthulhu! Ia Dagon!




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Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:37 pm
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Skins says...



Quite the contrary, if you ask me. Think of it like this: two of the most famous novel series around nowadays are the Harry Potter and Twilight series. Both are fantasy. I know you don't think that the paranormal stuff is technically fantasy, but, well, it is. I don't see many vampires and dead people wandering around the supermarket when I go shopping or anything. Fantasy fiction is basically fiction that has aspects of something that's made-up and isn't a part of reality.

I think YWS supports the fact that fantasy's popular too. Other than general fiction, the fantasy fiction forums on this site have the most topics in them by far. As well as that, bear in mind that general fiction is a far, far broader genre than fantasy fiction.

The amount of topics that are currently in the...

Action/Adventure fiction forums:
2369


Fanfiction forums:
1145


Fantasy fiction forums:
7121


Historical fiction forums:
758


Romantic fiction forums:
4349


Science-Fiction forums:
1205


General fiction forums:
9258


What I think you're actually talking about in this post though is the kind of fantasy that involves elves, wizards, dragons and stuff, right? Well, I think that's also pretty popular. If you look around the YWS fantasy forums, sure, there is a lot of paranormal fantasy, but there's also a fair share of the kind of fantasy I reckon you're thinking of. For example, Ranger Hawk is currently writing a novel that's all about dragons, wizards and that kind of stuff. If you look on Amazon too, for example, there's a decent amount of fantasy stories like the ones you're thinking of.

Besides, like fashion, music, television shows e.t.c. the popularity of book genres rise and fall. One day, sci-fi will be all the rage, and the next, everyone will be reading historical fiction. In a few years time though, sci-fi might be the most popular genre around again. Maybe fantasy fiction that involves dragons and stuff isn't all the rage right now, but in five years time, who knows? I definitely think that people are still reading it though.
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Wed Jul 20, 2011 8:35 pm
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ZeroKelvin says...



I do see where you are coming from, and I am somewhat convinced by your arguments. However, I would say that there IS a difference between paranormal and fantasy based on all of the bookshops I have visited, and several websites.

The way I currently understand it, paranormal is the real world with one or two basic changes, and then everything else follows on from there (or it should, anyway).
Fantasy goes in for a large number of changes on a more fundamental level.

Also, site figures do not necessarily reflect buying trends.

However, as you said, there is an influx of true fantasy in various sections. Funnily enough, in my own observations, less fantasy finds its way onto the young adult shelves than onto the adult shelves.
"He who fights with monsters should take care lest he in turn become a monster...
...And if you stare for too long into an abyss then the abyss stares back into you."
- Friederich Nietschze.

Phn'glui Mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'Lyeh Wgah'nagl Fhtagn!
Ia Cthulhu! Ia Dagon!




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Wed Jul 20, 2011 8:42 pm
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SubjectBlue says...



HBO, the TV cable company?
you don't know it?
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Thu Jul 21, 2011 3:39 pm
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RachaelElg says...



Dystopian novels are currently trending in he YA (Young Adult) world, as well as on television. It reflects the discontent a lot of people worldwide are having with their governments at the moment. Fox Network has its new series Terra Nova coming out. The Hunger Games were incredibly popular up until the last book, which left people split.

These are "science fiction" in the sense that they take place in the future and involve technology and the like. So, I guess that, yes, fantasy is currently unpopular in Young Adult, but it's not really a case of people looking at a fantasy story and going, "Ewww, fantasy." It's just that the dystopian, science-fiction-y story is trending. It fits the day and age we live in more. It's more relevant. Therefore, it's topping the shelves.

But, soon enough, the Next Big Thing will come along in YA and the tide will shift. Until there, there'll be lots of books that are derivative of Hunger Games with failing and failed governments and shattered worlds, etc. People'll get sick of it.

Before Hunger Games, Twilight was the thing, and Twilight spawned a multitude of television shows, and countless works jumping on the same supernatural boyfriend bandwagon. As a writer of what you call "true fantasy," I can see where you're coming from that the paranormal supernatural boyfriend novels aren't true fantasy. They feature romance plots more often than what I surmise you're after: the epic.

The problem with epic fantasy in YA is that the series that did it, The Inheritance by Christoper Paolini--(I will probably get flamed for what I'm about to say...)--was poorly written, copycat, and just bad. Eragon and sequels sold wildly, but to my knowledge, it never spawned an obsession like Twilight (which, as much as I dislike it, was something fresh). Eragon was a reaction novel to the Lord of the Rings movies that were coming out at that time. Very few things can hold a candle to LotR, especially not a purple prosed hash of Star Wars, LotR, David Eddings, and The Dragonriders of Pern.

Also trending in the early 2000s was, of course, Harry Potter, which is most definitely fantasy and is an epic, but is not the hard fantasy (made-up world, etc) that you're yearning for.

But back to Eragon, because you asked why hard fantasy isn't big in YA right now. Blame Eragon, really, for killing the embers from LotR that could have stoked a massive hard fantasy fire. Eragon and countless similar works that are fixated on the idea that in order to have a grand, epic, hard fantasy, you have to have these archetype characters and corny dialogue and elves and dwarves and An Ultimate Bad Dude and a hero who was a simple peasant boy. While Inheritance does have a large following of people, I don't think it's composed of people widely read in the genre.

There's another reason YA hard fantasy is sore and lacking, though, and that's because the adult fantasy realm is... stagnant. While the genre has a whole has finally moved away from the LotR-style story, and the typical fantasy now features more intimate narration, moral ambiguity, without the elves and dwarves and hobbits.... the genre still needs some shaking up. While there are some exceptional fantasy authors out there (some, in comparison to a whole slew of mediocre or lackluster ones), even those exceptional fantasy ones operate safely within the realm of fantasy, and none have exactly pushed boundaries. The exceptional ones write it darker, with better characters, with twistier twists, with more elaborate plots. It'd love it if that sort of quality became the norm, but if fantasy wants to become popular again and lose its stigmas as a sub-par, trashy, nerd/geek genre, it has to do something else and do it soon.
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Thu Jul 21, 2011 4:23 pm
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silentpages says...



I also am way more into High Fantasy (Other worlds, Epics, etc.) than I am Paranormal Fantasy.

Mostly because the majority of paranormal fantasy that I see on the bookshelves all follows the same basic plot (without being written very well, to be honest). Girl with guy best friend who's in love with her meets new guy who's some kind of supernatural being, and she's forced to choose between them. Sometimes it turns out that she is also a supernatural being, or at least half of one. With me, it got old pretty fast...

But it's still fantasy. It's just a subgenre, like steampunk or dystopian for science fiction. It's just such a different brand of fantasy, with SO much of it getting pumped out these days, that a lot of people place it in another section so that the Twilight-lovers (No offense to anybody who actually enjoys Twilight) can find it easier. Or something. XD

Anyway, that's what's supposedly hot right now. But at least among a lot of people I've talked to, people are already starting to get tired of the Urban Fantasy, and the Paranormal. First it was vampires, then angels and zombies... The market changes fast, and things can go in and out of style pretty quickly.

I've heard the following advice on multiple occasions:

Write what you want to write. Don't worry about the market, because by the time you have a decent manuscript of something that's trending, it'll be nearly out of style in the first place. If your novel is good, hopefully some people will be willing to publish it even if it's sorely lacking in vampires, werewolves, or zombies.

Yes, The Market is important, but that doesn't mean your quirky off-the-wall High-Fantasy-With-A-Splash-of-Steampunk novel is never ever going to see the light of day just because it's not in exactly the right category.

Write a novel. Make it a good novel. Edit until you can't edit no more. And if your book is excellent, someone will publish it.

That's the hope, anyway. *sigh*
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Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:18 pm
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ZeroKelvin says...



So fantasy is not in decline at all, you're saying. It has merely changed into another form, as all literature does. Soon, it will take on another form again, leaving behind traces of its former self.
"He who fights with monsters should take care lest he in turn become a monster...
...And if you stare for too long into an abyss then the abyss stares back into you."
- Friederich Nietschze.

Phn'glui Mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'Lyeh Wgah'nagl Fhtagn!
Ia Cthulhu! Ia Dagon!




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Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:59 pm
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silentpages says...



Yup. And maybe someday it'll complete the cycle and a new wave of Vampires etc. will crop up. And just because one style is popular doesn't mean that's the only type of fantasy that's getting published at the moment.

Best case scenario, your book starts a trend. :)
"Pay Attention. Pay Close Attention to everything, everything you see. Notice what no one else notices, and you'll know what no one else knows. What you get is what you get. What you do with what you get is more the point. -- Loris Harrow, City of Ember (Movie)




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Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:01 pm
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Stori says...



I'd just like to point out something. It seems to me that, no matter what's popular, it's difficult to find outstanding works by Christian authors. Maybe it's due to them having separate publishing companies, but I couldn't say if that really is the case.




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Rubric says...



The alternative is that there are plenty of Christian authors, even in fantasy, but that they lose more readers than they get by letting that be known.
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