June 05, 2020, 11:13:23 PM

Author Topic: Should there be a PR only fantasy for the Goodreads choice  (Read 12194 times)

Offline Lanko

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Re: Should there be a PR only fantasy for the Goodreads choice
« Reply #75 on: November 12, 2016, 01:36:51 PM »
Well, PR or not, The Wheel of Osheim got into the semi-final round as a write-in.   :)

Goodreads email authors on the ballot, saying:

Take this time to thank your fans and let them know their efforts were not in vain! You’ll need their vote to make it to the Final Round of the Choice Awards. Here are some suggestions:
? Encourage readers to vote.
? Spread the word on Twitter and Facebook using #GoodreadsChoice.
? Update your status update on Goodreads, write a blog post, or send your newsletter to thank you readers for their continued support.
? Open Ask the Author and answer questions from readers.

Hah, I saw your blog post about Genres and I was thinking "Damn, could it be that Mark Lawrence was reading that thread?"

Anyway, great Wheel got in and good luck!
Slow and steady wins the race.

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Offline Eclipse

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Re: Should there be a PR only fantasy for the Goodreads choice
« Reply #76 on: August 22, 2018, 11:05:50 AM »
I changed my mind PR should be in lists due to some posts in this topic which changed it, I think it be best to have a  separate genre lists through. One for Epic, one for Steampunk etc.m
According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

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Offline J.R. Darewood

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Re: Should there be a PR only fantasy for the Goodreads choice
« Reply #77 on: August 22, 2018, 06:01:41 PM »
I'm with @cupiscent in that I find military fantasy pretty unpleasant, but to be honest of it were up to me all urban fantasy Dresden included (I mean fantasy in an urban setting is like calling an Asian "fusion" restaurant in SF authentic) would be its own thing so I could sit alone blissfully revelling in my epic fantasy Tolkien knockoffs with no outside interruptions (joking... But only sort of)

For me the real problem with PNR is the issue of scale. Look at it this way: in the 1980s the fantasy book audience consisted of myself and 5 other young males depicted in Stranger Things. We like magic and escapism and pretending we are heroes with swords instead of losers treated as subhuman trash by cheerleaders and football jocks. Today the 5 of us still love our epic fantasy, but the LoTR movies suddenly made fantasy accessible to illiterate football jocks who play Halo and some of them learned to read and now the 5 of us are joined by 5 military fiction fans. Next came a generation of kids raised on Harry Potter but I'm getting off track let's skip to that Mormon woman who applied the which 2 dimensional boy who is inexplicably obsessed with me do I choose plot it chosing between vampires and werewolves because let's face it men are monsters meant to be civilized by women. Now the 5 of us left over from the 80s who love epic fantasy are joined by a screaming barbarian hordes of teenage girls (and soccer moms who think Justin Bieber is cute). Romance in fact outsells every other genre like 10-fold, some say bc it's essentially the girl version of porn but another explanation is that it's female escapism, finding self worth in love triangles girls have been socialized to value on par with geek-males escapist fantasies of finding self worth in saving the world and saving the girl despite our marginalization as losers. The difference in scale is that as losers we're a small percent of the male species further reduced by our rare ability to read words that arent part of a fantasy football line up. PNR escapism appeals to more girls, and more girls in general are capable of literacy.

This generates a problem, however, flooded with these new readers, where do my dungeons and dragons friends go to read our escapist male fantasies about saving women from dragons? Sure it's patriarchal but it's all we have in our empty loveless lives and the lodge has now turned into a One Direction concert....

I guess that's my way of saying, maybe the issue with subgenres is one of size, moreso than just character

*This is full of typos but I wrote it on a phone so I'm lucky it's legible at all
« Last Edit: August 22, 2018, 06:13:09 PM by J.R. Darewood »

Offline Peat

Re: Should there be a PR only fantasy for the Goodreads choice
« Reply #78 on: August 22, 2018, 09:05:48 PM »
Hmm. If you were to classify urban fantasy as fantasy set in an environment contemporary to the author in a mash-up, does that make the Arthurian cycle and other European counterparts the first urban fantasy? :P
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Offline cupiscent

Re: Should there be a PR only fantasy for the Goodreads choice
« Reply #79 on: August 22, 2018, 11:26:36 PM »
Look at it this way: in the 1980s the fantasy book audience consisted of myself and 5 other young males depicted in Stranger Things... (etc)

Yes, but also no. I mean, in the 80s there was already, y'know, Mercedes Lackey writing girly horse books except fantasy, and Steven Brust writing gritty urban rogue fantasy and Katherine Kurtz writing gritty historical political fantasy and Charles de Lint writing urban fantasy and Harry Turtledove writing alternative historical fantasy and that's just off the top of my head.

Speculative fiction has always contained multitudes. It just contains a lot more multitudes these days. There are a lot more readers, yes. But there are a lot more books. (I remember someone talking about how back in the '50s and '60s it was possible to have actually read everything that came out in the year when you were nominating for Hugos; this is no longer possible.)

And while I've sometimes had frustrations about, say, the bundling of urban fantasy into fantasy (not least when I was querying agents, and every second agent who "represented fantasy" actually meant "only urban fantasy") however you draw the boundaries, there are always going to be books on the fringes that don't quite sit neatly in one category or another.

I mean, is Max Gladstone's Craft Sequence urban fantasy, or plain fantasy? (I'd say not urban, because it's secondary world.) So is Mary Robinette Kowal's Glamourist Histories urban or not? It's just real-world-with-magic, after all, but it's historical. Ditto Zen Cho's Sorcerer to the Crown. What about a portal fantasy? What about something like Harry Potter that's basically a portal fantasy but the secondary world is right here? And what about books that are straight-up secondary world fantasy, but with "too much bonking"?

All of this just to say: I think if you're going to divvy up fantasy, breaking off urban fantasy probably makes the most sense. But splitting up all the other subgenres for best-of-listing purposes is just going to lead to 101 arguments about the difference between epic and high and adventure and whatever else. Subgenres are useful for informal discussion, but get slippery for formal taxonomy. Because spec fic contains multitudes, and that's great/

Offline Peat

Re: Should there be a PR only fantasy for the Goodreads choice
« Reply #80 on: August 23, 2018, 01:03:13 AM »
But splitting up all the other subgenres for best-of-listing purposes is just going to lead to 101 arguments about the difference between epic and high and adventure and whatever else.

You say that like its a bad thing  :o  8)

Nevertheless, I completely agree about the breadth of speculative fiction. Gormenghast, the Book of the New Sun and Vance's Dying Earth all pre-date the 80s, to prod a bit at the genre's depth - as does Mists of Avalon. The feeling of it being a big tent where not everyone will like everything is old indeed, as best as I understand it.

However, I must demur that there are still some lines of demarcation. People usually split Fantasy and Sci-Fi in the spec fic pantheon (even if only be virtue of the &). Horror is also usually considered its own genre and not just a sub-genre of Fantasy. Likewise, Magical Realism is considered its own thing. If a sub-genre has enough numbers to support being its own thing, and enough of a different fanbase to make marketing with everything else tricky, it probably makes sense to split it off. And we've already got that without a 101 arguments over Epic and High fantasy (at least, those different genres in Spec Fic aren't why).

I think there's at least an argument for PR and/or UF to have that level of divergence.
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Offline J.R. Darewood

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Re: Should there be a PR only fantasy for the Goodreads choice
« Reply #81 on: August 23, 2018, 03:33:32 AM »
Look at it this way: in the 1980s the fantasy book audience consisted of myself and 5 other young males depicted in Stranger Things... (etc)

Yes, but also no. I mean, in the 80s there was already, y'know, Mercedes Lackey writing girly horse books except fantasy, and Steven Brust writing gritty urban rogue fantasy and Katherine Kurtz writing gritty historical political fantasy and Charles de Lint writing urban fantasy and Harry Turtledove writing alternative historical fantasy and that's just off the top of my head.

...

And while I've sometimes had frustrations about, say, the bundling of urban fantasy into fantasy (not least when I was querying agents, and every second agent who "represented fantasy" actually meant "only urban fantasy") however you draw the boundaries, there are always going to be books on the fringes that don't quite sit neatly in one category or another.

...

All of this just to say: I think if you're going to divvy up fantasy, breaking off urban fantasy probably makes the most sense. But splitting up all the other subgenres for best-of-listing purposes is just going to lead to 101 arguments about the difference between epic and high and adventure and whatever else. Subgenres are useful for informal discussion, but get slippery for formal taxonomy. Because spec fic contains multitudes, and that's great/


Haha @cupiscent , I guess my narrative there was a more of a historical fiction conveying the sentiment I infer from the epic fantasy stalwarts than anything grounded in actual fact. (Full disclosure I was reading all sorts of weird Piers Anthony SFF with plenty of bonking at the aforementioned age, which combined with Boris Vallejo covers was far more pornographic than any PNR I've ever read)

Whether we're talking about color palates or fiction, categories are always Wittgensteinian family resemblances, not hard and fast boundaries. I love things that don't fit into boxes, stuff that refuses to even land on the Ven Diagram. Art that refuses to obey any boundaries.

I guess what I'm questioning is: If the function of the word "fantasy" is to help someone find the flavor of ice cream they're looking for... are these audiences overlapping? Are PNR readers interested in Grimdark? Are grimdark readers interested in PNR?   Of course we can devolve into "I like detective stories set in 13 BC with a female protagonist but NO DINOSAURS THATS UNREALISTIC", but tastes have sociological patterns... there are demographics that overlap and those that don't (the Netflix "you might like" algorithm is case and point).  Are there entirely different communities here, or did someone's love of LoTR pique their interest in Twilight?

What does it cost us to use another word?  When it comes to established awards and whatnot there's a politics of exclusion here, but is there a way we can have our cake and eat it too?  Personally I'd put all urban fantasy in the SFF category, and leave the strictly fantasy for non-urban stuff, but that's just me (well maybe not just me, I think @Peat would agree). Is there a way to help epic fantasy fans keep their safe space in changing times while opening the field to cross-pollination and mutual discovery of each other's genres? Or is this a zero sum game where someone has to get pushed out?
« Last Edit: August 23, 2018, 03:37:32 AM by J.R. Darewood »

Offline Peat

Re: Should there be a PR only fantasy for the Goodreads choice
« Reply #82 on: August 23, 2018, 10:29:23 AM »
Sorry JR, I'm comfy with Urban Fantasy counting as part of the family in terms of resemblance and as part of the same flavour profile in terms of helping people find what they want - with Paranormal Romance being cousin UF's half-sister who pretty much never turns up to family events and doesn't get Christmas cards. I think that in a sea of vagueness its the most logical divvy up.

But its funny how what's logical here just happens to suit what I like and what I don't like.

And while I'm pretty sure that my experience of Fantasy fandom says there's a limited crossover in fandom with Paranormal Romance and that its misleading to say it has a similar flavour, that's all anecdotal and it's quite possible there's a big crowd out there where it isn't true.

I would say though that you're on a good logical point with whether LotR would pique someone's interest in Twilight and vice versa, largely because I had the same idea independently. My version of it runs like this:

Pick a wide ranging list of classic indisputable* Fantasy (Lord of the Rings, Conan, American Gods, etc.etc.). If you can look at a book and say "Yes, people who like things on that list will like this", its in. If you say "There's no obvious reason to think a fan of one will be a fan of the other", its probably not. It might appeal to fans of something that's in Fantasy but not core, but at some point genre divergence happens. We don't recommend Raining Blood to Muddy Waters fans.

The problem is that I suspect a lot of the Paranormal Romance stuff would make it in and a lot wouldn't. And I think arguing about the exact proportions would be too boring even for me.


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Offline Slaykomimi

Re: Should there be a PR only fantasy for the Goodreads choice
« Reply #83 on: August 23, 2018, 11:38:46 AM »
I havent read all entries now but I would agree that PR should be in romance or at least not in fantasy. It is just strange how things get shoved into categories by just having traits of things in it. But thats the mainproblem with genres and subgenres in general I think.

I would like to give examples on other industries where it all came to weird categories.

Videogamse: The Legend of Zelda, I love that franchise, could play it forever and for me it´s an RPG, most people argue it got no elements of RPG gameplay (except Zelda 2). I always backup with RPG is for Roleplaying Game, so any game You go into the Role of another Person and see the world from their eyes, I could even consider Super Mario Bros an RPG. Same goes for GTA, most people call it an open world game, some people call it a shooter, well shooting is a big part of the gameplay but as well is the story, characters and the exploreable open world. There are tons of examples where You could say it´s just 2 genres mixed together.

Music: I listen mainly to psyhcedelic and Hard Rock as well as Thrash and Death Metal. And I could never Cringe more as when people say Death Metal to Melodic Death Metal Bands, there are tons of differences and the only thing they have in common is the voice (which is also slightly different from original death metal voices) but they are thrown into the same subgenre of a genre most of the time, cause the people who are not too familiar with it can´t spot big difference. They hear, omg that guy from Amon Amarth makes a similar voice to that of Pestilence, they are the same and done. completly ignoring the things that seperates them (songstructure, the sound of the instruments, riffs, progression, etc).

I strongly agree to, I can´t remember who spoted it out that things like LotR movie made fantasy mainstream and more accessible to illiterate people and flooded it with people who can´t distuingish between the stuff we love and the other stuff that happens to have elements of what we love, even if its just a little bit, one tiny aspect that is the same.

For me (and I think for many people here) PR is not part of fantasy due to the lack of epic stories and stuff, but for the mainstream mass that doesn´t know about the details and just see the little part we have in common and call it the same, they always did and they always will. Of course it pisses us off cause we see a difference but the main mass doesn´t. It´s the same as it pisses me off when someone gives me some modern Melodic Death Metal and tells me "eh it´s the same as the stuff You listen too", just makes me wanna wring their necks. Same at games, when someone recommends me again some boring "horror" game just because I said I like doom I could smash them to pieces. And exactly these feelings are the same when people say PR is Fantasy, because we are selective and know the difference, we are not an ignorant mass who just puts it all into the same bag. It´s like "hey that zebra got fur and four legs, put it to the Lions, they will surely get along very well together".

But we should be happy, it could be worse. Imagine people who draw furry porn are suddenly considered artists of fantasy and people will be like "omg You read stuff like that? so You are into dressing up as some animal and get off to these weird pictures people scribble on the interenet?" only because Stuff like twilight is considered "fantasy" and theres some wolf banging a girl so this stuff must be the same. It would be extreme conclusion but I can see how some people could think like that.
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Offline J.R. Darewood

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Re: Should there be a PR only fantasy for the Goodreads choice
« Reply #84 on: August 23, 2018, 11:43:34 AM »

All this talk of furies is making me reconsider my aversion to Twilight.

Offline Peat

Re: Should there be a PR only fantasy for the Goodreads choice
« Reply #85 on: August 23, 2018, 08:20:50 PM »

All this talk of furies is making me reconsider my aversion to Twilight.

Its making me want to rewrite Furies of Calderon with each mention of Fury turned to Furry and see what hilarity ensues.

Offline Eclipse

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Re: Should there be a PR only fantasy for the Goodreads choice
« Reply #86 on: August 23, 2018, 10:37:43 PM »

All this talk of furies is making me reconsider my aversion to Twilight.

Do you like my new avatar? Twilight Eclipse !
« Last Edit: August 23, 2018, 10:51:48 PM by Eclipse »
According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

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Offline Slaykomimi

Re: Should there be a PR only fantasy for the Goodreads choice
« Reply #87 on: August 23, 2018, 10:47:19 PM »
oh my god, what have I done. * opens whisky, smells it, remembers that it´s unhealthy (who am I kidding too I don´t care if it´s unhealthy, I just don´t want to abuse a whisky to get drunk to endure the fact of that I just started a conversation about furries and make someone change his profile photo to the cover of twilight) to drink too much so just peeking a smell and enjoying it, closing the bottle and put it back to the others *
Truly, if there is evil in this world, it lies within the heart of mankind.

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Offline cupiscent

Re: Should there be a PR only fantasy for the Goodreads choice
« Reply #88 on: August 23, 2018, 11:25:24 PM »
I dunno that you can say Paranormal Romance doesn't have epic stories. Karen Marie Moning (one of the causes of this thread, with her books getting on the year's best fantasy GR list) has a series with eleven books in it.  However you feel about Anita Blake Vampire Hunter, the series has 26 books. That's clearly more epic than, say, Jo Walton's Tooth and Claw (but try shelving the latter anywhere but fantasy when it is literally Jane Austen except everyone's a dragon).

And in my experience (talking to readers, not my personal reading experience), there's often a bigger crossover between Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy, than between PR and regular romance. Which makes sense to me. It's a slippery sliding scale between urban fantasy with a romantic subplot to full-blown PR, whereas it's a big hop from sexy vampires at war with sexy werewolves, to doctors and nurses. (Though I guess certain breeds of historical romance might get a look-in, same way certain breeds of historical fiction occasionally pique my interest.)

There's a whoooole bunch of fantasy that I have absolutely no interest in, but I'm not going to say it doesn't belong in the genre.

Offline BradCarsten

Re: Should there be a PR only fantasy for the Goodreads choice
« Reply #89 on: August 24, 2018, 08:46:11 AM »
I agree. At this point the genre has grown so much it's time to split again. Calling everything Fantasy is like creating a genre called "realistic." It's far too broad to be of any use to anyone.
we should see every genre split in two. Imagine going into Barns and Noble and the Romance shelf is split into Romance/Fantasy Romance. Historical / Historical Fantasy. There will be a few that can't split- like Epic fantasy, but that fine, just chuck the rest onto their own shelf and call that Traditional Fantasy.
Riftwalkers (The King and Guardian): An Epic Portal Fantasy.