July 23, 2019, 09:29:29 PM

Author Topic: Do you notice preaching in fantasy books?  (Read 1092 times)

Online Alex Hormann

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Re: Do you notice preaching in fantasy books?
« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2019, 12:43:34 PM »
Possibly down to the types of book I read, but I notice it way more in Sci-Fi than in Fantasy. Though that could be because a lot of the SF I read is way more liberal than I am. As an example, I almost DNF'd Elizabeth Bear's new book when it called me a bigot within the first chapter.

As a general rule, I'm fine with having open themes. A lot of the Military SF I read is openly quite preachy about duty and honour, but it informs the story rather than getting in the way of it.

I must also admit, since I did my degree in creative Writing, I tend to notice things like this a whole lot more than I used to.

Offline Peat

Re: Do you notice preaching in fantasy books?
« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2019, 01:11:15 PM »

I must also admit, since I did my degree in creative Writing, I tend to notice things like this a whole lot more than I used to.

Once you start to see it, it becomes impossible not to see.

I mean, would I consider GRR Martin to be preaching that most people are bellends, that nobles are usually bigger bellends, and that principles must be flexible to keep those bellends in their place? Kinda yeah; he never stops to make a big explicit grandstanding monologue, but the characters and choices puts into the story time and time again hammer the message home. It is easier to ignore the latter, but when you subconsciously go looking for it, they're both as noticeable imo.
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Offline Bender

Re: Do you notice preaching in fantasy books?
« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2019, 01:41:41 PM »

As a general rule, I'm fine with having open themes. A lot of the Military SF I read is openly quite preachy about duty and honour, but it informs the story rather than getting in the way of it.

I thought preachiness had religious overtones. Do we consider Duty and Honor as preaching? Surely those are basic characteristics of any old fashioned protagonists.

Take Sandersons Stormlight Archives, pretty much every page involving Kaladin or Dalinar has something on duty and Honor. It's a bit repetitive, but I don't get the feeling of being preached to.

On the other hand, one of posters in another forum had hesitations on reading Red Sister trilogy due to Convent, Nun setting as he feared it may be preachy. I didn't find that too preachy either.
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Online Alex Hormann

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Re: Do you notice preaching in fantasy books?
« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2019, 03:26:25 PM »

As a general rule, I'm fine with having open themes. A lot of the Military SF I read is openly quite preachy about duty and honour, but it informs the story rather than getting in the way of it.

I thought preachiness had religious overtones. Do we consider Duty and Honor as preaching? Surely those are basic characteristics of any old fashioned protagonists.

Take Sandersons Stormlight Archives, pretty much every page involving Kaladin or Dalinar has something on duty and Honor. It's a bit repetitive, but I don't get the feeling of being preached to.

On the other hand, one of posters in another forum had hesitations on reading Red Sister trilogy due to Convent, Nun setting as he feared it may be preachy. I didn't find that too preachy either.


I see 'preachy' as any overt attempt by the author to tell the reader how to live their lives. Unless it's a massive monologue, I can allow characters to discuss things. it's only when the narrative itself id saying 'this is the way' that I find it preachy. Of course that line does blur in 1st person narration.

Preachy for me definitely goes beyond just religion though. I'd also include political messages like Peter F Hamilton tends to do, Ben Aaronovitch's anti-anything that isn't London, and maybe even Steven Erikson's rants against literary criticism in Crack'd Pot Trail. BAll of those are very much the author using books as a mouthpiece for his own views.

Offline cupiscent

Re: Do you notice preaching in fantasy books?
« Reply #19 on: June 14, 2019, 03:51:12 AM »
I do recall trying to read the Puppy-insert short fiction in the Hugo ballot a few years back and just about passing out from the weight of the "here is the point, let me tell you about the point, this entire thing is a Metaphor for the Point".

Offline Eclipse

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Re: Do you notice preaching in fantasy books?
« Reply #20 on: June 14, 2019, 08:06:38 AM »
Crank’d Pot was the book I was thinking about when I made this topic.

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Re: Do you notice preaching in fantasy books?
« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2019, 02:12:14 PM »
Crank’d Pot was the book I was thinking about when I made this topic.
Crack'd Pot Trail? I dnf'ed it. Not sure I'll pick it up again. How is the second half?
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Online Alex Hormann

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Re: Do you notice preaching in fantasy books?
« Reply #22 on: June 15, 2019, 05:34:01 PM »
Crank’d Pot was the book I was thinking about when I made this topic.
Crack'd Pot Trail? I dnf'ed it. Not sure I'll pick it up again. How is the second half?

Exactly the same as the first half. Seriously, absolutely nothing happens in that book. I try to avoid being negative about books even when I don't like them, but Crack'd Pot Trail is just a hundred-odd pages of Erikson ranting against literary criticism.

Offline Peat

Re: Do you notice preaching in fantasy books?
« Reply #23 on: June 15, 2019, 06:03:58 PM »
Willful Child by Erikson also felt very much like it was a "This is why everyone who's ever liked classic space opera stuff is wrong and horrible" book going from the opening pages, and I'm not even a huge fan of the stuff.
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Offline Matthew

Re: Do you notice preaching in fantasy books?
« Reply #24 on: June 21, 2019, 02:01:45 AM »
Mostly yes, and I hate it...

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet was very vocal about tolerance etc, but surprisingly I didn't find that preachy though. Guess it all depends on the writing, or the message itself and how it relates to your world view.

Quick edit: I notice it a hell of a lot in military sci-fi. Glynn Stewart in particular really goes out of the stories way to bootstrap gay characters into the plot even when sexuality has nothing to do with their actions.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2019, 02:03:36 AM by Matthew »

Offline J.R. Darewood

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Re: Do you notice preaching in fantasy books?
« Reply #25 on: June 24, 2019, 10:44:12 PM »
The Mists of Avalon is one that stuck out to me.

I was too young to really pick up on it when I read it but with retrospect, yeah, there's a very loud message here.
I was also quite young when I read it, and thinking back, I can't really tell what it's preaching... is it the christianity thing? But isn't that the basis of all arthurian legends?

Like you said in a previous post, I think it only bothers me if it's preaching something I don't agree with, which tends a bit towards hypocrisy, doesn't it?

For me, it's less the anti-Christianity (although that is present) and more the very heavy pro-feminism slant. At the time I was just "Oh hey, this book has a lot of female characters, ooh next page", but looking back, it is very  heavily pro-feminist. And hey, why not?

And on the anti-Christianity part - I think it's more anti-organised religion as Christianity has become, than anti-Christianity's message. Well, I definitely think that now that I've looked at the book's wiki page and seen this:

"About the time I began work on the Morgan le Fay story that later became Mists, a religious search of many years culminated in my accepting ordination in one of the Gnostic Catholic churches as a priest. Since the appearance of the novel, many women have consulted me about this, feeling that the awareness of the Goddess has expanded their own religious consciousness, and ask me if it can be reconciled with Christianity. I do feel very strongly, not only that it can, but that it must... So when women today insist on speaking of Goddess rather than God, they are simply rejecting the old man with the white beard, who commanded the Hebrews to commit genocide on the Philistines and required his worshippers daily to thank God that He had not made them women... And, I suppose, a little, the purpose of the book was to express my dismay at the way in which religion lets itself become the slave of politics and the state. (Malory's problem ... that God may not be on the side of the right, but that organized religion always professes itself to be on the side of the bigger guns.) ... I think the neo-pagan movement offers a very viable alternative for people, especially for women, who have been turned off by the abuses of Judeo-Christian organized religions."

I know preachiness is supposed to be a criticism but this is making me really want to read Mists...