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Author Topic: What do you think of fantasy lite novels?  (Read 3770 times)

Offline Eclipse

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What do you think of fantasy lite novels?
« on: May 12, 2016, 04:51:14 AM »
World's where there is no magic,The only thing fantastical about them is that the world is not earth.Stories like K.J Parker and GGK for example

Why not write a historical fiction instead especially when the settings are based on ancient Rome /Greek /Egypt /China ? What can it bring to the table that Historical fiction can't?

« Last Edit: May 12, 2016, 04:53:43 AM by Eclipse »
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Offline Lanko

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Re: What do you think of fantasy lite novels?
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2016, 05:02:54 AM »
Still need to read those authors.

The first thing that came to mind regarding you question is probably because in Historical Fiction they would have to specifically follow the historical events, no? Like in Bernard Cornwell's books. He can create characters and his own situations, but results of the main events are set in stone.

Probably Parker and GGK are not "held back" by this and can create totally new paths for their inspired cultures/countries and disregard time/regions/historical events or recreate them as they see fit.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2016, 05:04:29 AM by Lanko »
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Offline Eclipse

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Re: What do you think of fantasy lite novels?
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2016, 05:05:53 AM »
Read the Folding Knife it's awesome!
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 Peat

Re: What do you think of fantasy lite novels?
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2016, 07:20:06 AM »
Tbh, I don't care why they make those decisions when they write like they do. Whatever they need to tell the story, go for it.

That said, just because there's no magic, doesn't mean there's no fantastical elements - they still have the ability to add those if they wish.

The other big one is the ability to do as Lanko says and change the course of things dramatically.

Not huge things, admittedly. I suspect to a certain point they're called fantasy due to the author's involvement with the genre, not so much the applicability of all of it to their works.


edit: This GGK interview covers very well why he makes those choices - http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/oct/29/guy-gavriel-kay-jrr-tolkien-interview-fionovar-tapesty-the-summer-tree
« Last Edit: May 12, 2016, 07:29:28 AM by Peat »
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Offline ScarletBea

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Re: What do you think of fantasy lite novels?
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2016, 08:08:35 AM »
Yes, I used to think those were not fantasy books, if they didn't have magic and weird things and fantastical elements...
Being here on F-F, being exposed to such a variety of fantasy books, has quickly dispelled that notion, and some of the books I loved in the last few years don't really have that 'traditional touch' - but they are still very much fantasy.
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Online cupiscent

Re: What do you think of fantasy lite novels?
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2016, 08:44:20 AM »
I remember once hearing that Jennifer Fallon's Second Son trilogy (which personally I think is her finest work) wasn't eligible for a fantasy book award because there was no fantastical element. While it was set on a non-earth world (with two suns), the absence of magic, fantastical creatures, divine beings or other "fantasy" trappings meant it wasn't fantasy. After all, it could just be set on another planet in our own universe! (I thought that was nonsense. The books were clearly fantasy. Despite maths and astronomy being key pillars of the story, it was absolutely not about science.)

This is actually a topic very near to my heart, as my proposed Master of Creative Writing thesis was on "non-fantastical fantasy", and I was proposing to write about Parker and Kay. But the funny thing is that when you look closer, Kay always has at least one small fantastical element (often shades of divine intervention and/or spirits, by which classification much of Shakespeare is also "fantasy lite"...). And Parker has only recently started leaving out the oddity - the Fencer trilogy has some central, if baffling magic, and the Scavenger trilogy has some confused but very present telepathy and divine-incarnation stuff.

But certainly there's a strong historical vibe, but a freedom to the non-historical sandbox. As Kay noted in interviews regarding his new book, he's pulling in elements from a few centuries where those elements give him something he wanted to use in telling the story he's telling. (Perhaps that's what gives his work a richness and emotional resonance I can rarely find in historical fiction...)

Really, the answer to why write fantasy and not history is: because I want to, nyah nyah. ;D

Offline Lady Ty

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Re: What do you think of fantasy lite novels?
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2016, 10:39:53 AM »
I enjoyed that article by GGK, thanks @Peat and @cupiscent agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments.

'Fantasy-lite' is just one more description to try and put books into neat little boxes.  Why not welcome variety with an open mind? We each choose what we enjoy reading. I like all I have read of GGK ranging through different degrees of fantasy.

Fionavar, is packed out with legend, magic, monsters, dragons, just about every traditional fantasy stereotype you can imagine; then Tigana, where a magic curse is central to the plot, but more emphasis is on the results and the characters; finally to Under Heaven where an Oriental style world, its customs and the lead characters are the most fascinating, while the strange magic of ghosts and a wolf shaman touch gently and add a special extra dimension. I don't care which of GGK's work I read next, will take it as it comes with no particular expectation, apart from knowing it will be beautiful prose.

I read a funny, witty book a long time back, which has touches of fantasy, but they have called it 'magical realism', yet another confusion. It was The Good Mayor by Andrew Nicoll. I would never introduce it here, it is essentially a romance, but the unexpected sprinkles of magic and fantasy were a delight.

Any concepts of fantasy introduced in books can only make it more widely recognised and acceptable in the fiction world that has treated the genre as a whole pretty shabbily for a long time.
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Offline Mr.J

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Re: What do you think of fantasy lite novels?
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2016, 11:26:23 AM »
I am very happy with no magic, I can be put off if its done too much and too freely.

Even though there is definitely weird shit going on and a pissed off mage (Bondsmagi) I sort of consider The Lies of Locke Lamora as magic lite; it's not seen as a real thing in the world, and its not the driving force of the story at all. It's mostly just thieves being thieves. :)

Offline DrNefario

Re: What do you think of fantasy lite novels?
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2016, 01:47:15 PM »
I'm perfectly happy for authors to do what they like.

Generally speaking I'm never that keen to exclude something that wants to be in. I've seen it argued that Star Wars is fantasy rather than SF, and I just think: sure I can sort of see the argument, but why do you want to keep people out? What does it gain? How does it matter? On the one hand it's a space adventure, and on the other it's about a hero saving the princess with his magic powers. I'd be happy to count it as either, but I've got to say I lean towards SF. The pulpy SF that Star Wars channels was quite a lot closer to pulp fantasy than any SF purist might want to accept.

Who would benefit from kicking GGK and KJP out of fantasy? Is magic really the crucial defining element? Or is it just a certain level of unreality? Or is it any five from these eight possible elements? Or is it just about trying to bring books to the attention of people who might like them.

Offline Rostum

Re: What do you think of fantasy lite novels?
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2016, 11:48:52 PM »
Fantasy Lite? Really!
How about if the books recommended or I trust the author I read it. The incessent urge to catagorise does nothing for me at all. You don't need magic for it to be proper fantasy and most historical fiction equates to the based ever so vaguely on something that may have happened but didn't premise.

Offline Benstory

Re: What do you think of fantasy lite novels?
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2016, 01:33:36 PM »
I like them. Not for everyone, but then what is?
Over historical fiction, they give the author more freedom.

Offline Ryan Mueller

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Re: What do you think of fantasy lite novels?
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2016, 05:15:29 PM »
Not a huge fan in general. I like to see a lot of fantasy elements in my fantasy.

Offline Eclipse

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Re: What do you think of fantasy lite novels?
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2016, 05:38:10 PM »
I don't get the label argument? I didn't even bring it up in my post but if I wanted a Paranormal Romance and got something like Epic fantasy like Malazan instead I be like  :o so I think you need sub-labels in fantasy as people like different sub-genres in fantasy and that's great. I wish we didn't have labels either but I think we need them to explain the difference between certain books

BTW I picked Lite not because I was being insulting but didn't want people getting it confused with light hearted fantasy books, you type light fantasy books in search and you get recommendations for Michael J Sullivan and that's not what I wanted to talk about

As for me I enjoy some of them but not all of them of the ones I've read

I thought the GGK article was great and it helped me with why some authors write little fantasy in their books   ;D



« Last Edit: May 15, 2016, 06:10:35 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 Lady Ty

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Re: What do you think of fantasy lite novels?
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2016, 02:34:21 AM »
Apologies @Eclipse, I read it as a new buzz word, not your personal description.  ;)
You are right, we do need some descriptions to distinguish between different fantasy styles when choosing what we like best.

My frustration comes from prominent reviewers and critics trying to argue something is not worthy of a literary prize or award because it has fantasy or Sci Fi elements.   Sorry if I confused the issue.

BTW, because this thread reminded me, just started another GGK which has tiny flicker of strange magic, but fascinating distortion of the Byzantine Empire.  :)

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Offline Rostum

Re: What do you think of fantasy lite novels?
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2016, 08:24:23 PM »
Likewise please accept my apologies I loathe the categorisation of books into thinner and thinner slices. I can see what you are getting at. Fantasy where everything is fantastical can be great but so can a real world setting with one ever so slight change to what we know and live in. It depends on the story and the storyteller. If it keeps me rapt I will read until I finish or fall asleep and often read books in one or two sessions.