Fantasy Faction

Fantasy Faction => Fantasy Book & Author Discussion => Topic started by: Eclipse on September 13, 2019, 08:46:30 AM

Title: What is the fascination of mines in fantasy?
Post by: Eclipse on September 13, 2019, 08:46:30 AM
I’ve gotten bored of mines , I don’t think any have been that exciting. In most fantasy books we have to have a mine scene now?

Also bored of the Hero teaching schools Magic or weapons.

Anyone else had enough of brothels in their fantasy too. The tart with the heart of gold.

What are you bored of seeing in fantasy books?
Title: Re: What is the fascination of mines in fantasy?
Post by: S. K. Inkslinger on September 13, 2019, 08:55:34 AM
I mean, Harry Potter sold like 450 million copies, so if people are going for magic school that made a damn lot of sense. And brothels are like pretty much around us ever since human ever started their civilization and stuff. Heck a lot of human males around the globe still think a lot about it daily.

I'm bored of the world sucks, everyone is an ass grimdark vibes that are everywhere nowadays. Where's some good humor like Good Omens or The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy these days?
Title: Re: What is the fascination of mines in fantasy?
Post by: Eclipse on September 13, 2019, 09:03:29 AM
It’s mostly the weapon training that I’m mostly bored off It’s always the same.
Title: Re: What is the fascination of mines in fantasy?
Post by: Neveesandeh on September 13, 2019, 11:36:09 AM
I haven't had time to read for a while, but I've read a few newer books and I don't really think they had any mines in them. I guess 'The Poppy War' had a big underground prison, which sort of counts.

Brothels seem to be ever present, though, and usually, I think, far more santized than they deserve to be.

As for sword and magic training, I guess if you have a young protagonist, and most fantasy books do, then it's usually essential. It's better than someone just being handed their skills and powers on a plate. The genre probably could do with a few older and more experienced protagonists, though. Not every story needs to be shackled to the Hero's Journey.
Title: Re: What is the fascination of mines in fantasy?
Post by: DrNefario on September 13, 2019, 02:36:18 PM
I can't think of any mines except Moria, which didn't really feel very much like a mine.

And I love magic schools or military schools.

Taverns and brothels, though, have never felt very convincing. Like everyone's copying an original that wasn't very authentic in the first place.
Title: Re: What is the fascination of mines in fantasy?
Post by: Yora on September 13, 2019, 08:33:43 PM
I’ve gotten bored of mines , I don’t think any have been that exciting. In most fantasy books we have to have a mine scene now?

Also bored of the Hero teaching schools Magic or weapons.

Anyone else had enough of brothels in their fantasy too. The tart with the heart of gold.

What are you bored of seeing in fantasy books?

I've got past that point long ago. I think what this really is the "Ref Fair Fantasy" style. It has the looks of 19th century Romantic images of the middle ages, but actually follows 20th century social structures. It can have a charm, but actually evokes nothing about the way people in the premodern past lived and saw the world around them.

Magic schools and thieves guilds are certainly very high in the list for me. Industrial magic also belongs into this category. Worlds in which magic is mass manufactured and found on shelves in stores.

Also fireballs and lighting. If your magic could be imagined to be shot from a sci-fi gun, I'm not interested.

I think I got interested in ancient and medieval warfare shortly after the Lord of the Rings movie, because it really started to bother me how medieval people would have run straight into walls of spears and swords at the head of an army with dozens of rows of enemies before them and dozens of rows of other soldiers behind them. How would anyone think that this isn't guaranteed suicide?
A few months later I knew that nobody ever did. There are no movies or videogames that have even the slightest resemblance of realism when it comes to how premodern battles were fought. Books have the benefit of not having to be very specific in what the masses of soldiers are actually doing, but still most writers seem to be writing battle scenes that are simply impossible.
I'm not even a hardcore military nerd. I just watch a few videos on youtube and occasionally asked some questions on forums. And even I can see that all fantasy battles are completely ridiculous. In fantasy, the only level of warfare realism is the "80s Schwarzenegger movie" level of realism.

Annother thing I can't stand anymore are undead and demonic hordes determined to kill all of humanity for reasons. It worked in The Lord of the Rings, because The Lord of the Rings is about a megalomaniac who thinks he can rebuild Creation better than the gods did. Sauron does not want to kill all humans and elves, he wants to reshape them into the ideal citizens for his ideal world, with no concern for the destruction caused by the process or the wishes of the people. That story made sense and it had a deeper meaning.
But most of fantasy is just copying the things that Tolkien did, without understanding that Tolkien had narrative reasons to include them in the story. This is one of the many examples.
Taverns and brothels, though, have never felt very convincing. Like everyone's copying an original that wasn't very authentic in the first place.
That's exactly what I mean! To me, that's about the definition of what makes something a cliche.

Purely as a personal aesthetic preference, without any judgements of specific quality or executions, that whole Celtic-Germanic thing is leaving me rather cold.
Title: Re: What is the fascination of mines in fantasy?
Post by: Bender on September 13, 2019, 10:30:59 PM
What are you bored of seeing in fantasy books?

Meddling Gods.

This seems to be a popular theme that has absolutely no variation at all. The only refreshing version I read recently was in Divine Cities. Malazan had a unique take and Cam Johnston's Traitor God was heading in the right direction. Can't think any book that varies significantly from default theme. Would love some recommendations in this.
Title: Re: What is the fascination of mines in fantasy?
Post by: Peat on September 13, 2019, 11:09:56 PM
Am I the only person who thinks that the diversity and breadth of the fantasy genre is so wide that just casually flicking through it all makes it pretty difficult to encounter the same thing again and again?
Title: Re: What is the fascination of mines in fantasy?
Post by: Bender on September 13, 2019, 11:27:54 PM
Taverns and brothels, though, have never felt very convincing. Like everyone's copying an original that wasn't very authentic in the first place.

That's exactly what I mean! To me, that's about the definition of what makes something a cliche.

How can a tavern be a cliche? It's definition is standard. A place to eat, drink, make merry, sleep. Has tables and bartender and some wenches plus some musicians. Add in a kitchen and food. That's it.

What else do you all expect in a fantasy tavern?
Title: Re: What is the fascination of mines in fantasy?
Post by: Elfy on September 13, 2019, 11:51:48 PM
Am I the only person who thinks that the diversity and breadth of the fantasy genre is so wide that just casually flicking through it all makes it pretty difficult to encounter the same thing again and again?
No, you’re not. I typically read 3 books at a time, mostly fantasy, and I find myself entertained by the many variations on the theme that authors can come up with.
Title: Re: What is the fascination of mines in fantasy?
Post by: Neveesandeh on September 14, 2019, 12:34:07 AM
Am I the only person who thinks that the diversity and breadth of the fantasy genre is so wide that just casually flicking through it all makes it pretty difficult to encounter the same thing again and again?
No, you’re not. I typically read 3 books at a time, mostly fantasy, and I find myself entertained by the many variations on the theme that authors can come up with.

This is something I've started to notice. We're all familiar with the typical fantasy tropes, farm boy chosen one, wise old mentor, stop off in a tavern etc, but thinking back, I haven't actually read any books that completely play them straight for quite a while. There are a few things that will crop up once or twice that bother me, but none of the newer books I've read really feel all that cliche or stale, even those I've disliked.
Title: Re: What is the fascination of mines in fantasy?
Post by: cupiscent on September 14, 2019, 01:16:20 AM
I thought the title said "What is the fascination of mimes in fantasy?" and I was going to say, "Eclipse, what have you been READING??"

Sort of sad now. More mimes!
Title: Re: What is the fascination of mines in fantasy?
Post by: Eclipse on September 14, 2019, 07:24:08 AM
I thought the title said "What is the fascination of mimes in fantasy?" and I was going to say, "Eclipse, what have you been READING??"

Sort of sad now. More mimes!

Yes those too mimes have become very old hat 🎩 to me  if I read about another one I will scream silently with dread.
Title: Re: What is the fascination of mines in fantasy?
Post by: Lanko on September 14, 2019, 07:41:55 AM
I’ve gotten bored of mines , I don’t think any have been that exciting. In most fantasy books we have to have a mine scene now?

Also bored of the Hero teaching schools Magic or weapons.

Anyone else had enough of brothels in their fantasy too. The tart with the heart of gold.

What are you bored of seeing in fantasy books?

Only mines I remember are Moria and another one over lots of books... I think maybe instead of mines you meant ancient ruins? Yeah, those appear everywhere.

I never saw the Hero teaching magic or weapons, mostly were actually learning  ;D ... but even then, what exactly bothers you in their training? What good training did you read about?

Brothels... it's funny because they were a great part of life in those days, but they seem so cringe and awkward when written. I can't exactly pinpoint why though.

What I'm mostly tired of is people learning magic and then turning into Dragon Ball Z mode when fighting. Maybe I'm just being unlucky but a lot of battles involving magic that I recently remember seemed to me more like a video game script or a Bleach episode.
Title: Re: What is the fascination of mines in fantasy?
Post by: S. K. Inkslinger on September 14, 2019, 08:10:54 AM
more like a video game script or a Bleach episode.

Send those recommendations my way, hahah. I love battles like Bleach episodes.  ;D
Title: Re: What is the fascination of mines in fantasy?
Post by: Peat on September 14, 2019, 09:51:58 AM
Am I the only person who thinks that the diversity and breadth of the fantasy genre is so wide that just casually flicking through it all makes it pretty difficult to encounter the same thing again and again?
No, you’re not. I typically read 3 books at a time, mostly fantasy, and I find myself entertained by the many variations on the theme that authors can come up with.

This is something I've started to notice. We're all familiar with the typical fantasy tropes, farm boy chosen one, wise old mentor, stop off in a tavern etc, but thinking back, I haven't actually read any books that completely play them straight for quite a while. There are a few things that will crop up once or twice that bother me, but none of the newer books I've read really feel all that cliche or stale, even those I've disliked.

I haven't seen most of them played straight for a while either* and that's because they're no longer the genre's tropes, and in some cases never really were. I feel like if you were to round up all the major trad/epic fantasy releases of the last 5-10 years and start interrogating them for their tropes, you'd come up with a fairly different list - its all assassins and secret organisations and court intrigue and double-edged magic. I'd be curious to see what exactly Bender means by meddling gods and what he'd hold up as the trope played in full, as I'd say something like that seems to be popular.

And that's not even including all the Urban Fantasy that veers off in a somewhat different direction, or the semi-historical slice of life fantasies like Helene Wecker's and Marie Brennan's, or the fantasies drawing more from fairytales etc.etc.

Tbh, I'd love to see someone go back to the standard 80s model and write it again with heart and conviction, as it'd actually be pretty fresh for me right now.


*Wise old mentors seem to be in and always will be but, being a bit pedantic, I can only think of three actual farmkids of destiny in the whole of written fantasy - Rand Al'Thor, Paks, and Garion. Okay, it gets a bit (lot) higher if you start including servants and tavern boys, but the fact we're calling them farmboys seems to indicate just how loose with reality the standard fantasy tropes are.
Title: Re: What is the fascination of mines in fantasy?
Post by: Yora on September 14, 2019, 07:46:58 PM
Thank you for reminding me. I had my own personal assassin crisis a few years back, where I was desperately looking for contemporary fantasy books that don't have teenage assassin protagonists.

80s and early 90s fantasy really is where the good stuff is. Yes, a lot, and perhaps most of it was cheesy or even campy. But one think that camp has is earnest enthusiasm that makes the whole work more than the sum of its silly parts. In my heavily distorted perception of someone who doesn't really need it, contemporary fantasy always looks stiff and trying to be grounded and down to earth.
I am always looking for magical adventures, but I just can't find any.
Title: Re: What is the fascination of mines in fantasy?
Post by: Neveesandeh on September 15, 2019, 09:06:42 AM
Thank you for reminding me. I had my own personal assassin crisis a few years back, where I was desperately looking for contemporary fantasy books that don't have teenage assassin protagonists.

80s and early 90s fantasy really is where the good stuff is. Yes, a lot, and perhaps most of it was cheesy or even campy. But one think that camp has is earnest enthusiasm that makes the whole work more than the sum of its silly parts. In my heavily distorted perception of someone who doesn't really need it, contemporary fantasy always looks stiff and trying to be grounded and down to earth.
I am always looking for magical adventures, but I just can't find any.

That's the problem I have with a lot of Joe Abercrombie's latest work. It feels embarrassed to be labelled as fantasy. Every book he writes since the First Law trilogy has fewer overt fantasy elements in it. Red Country feels less like a fantasy novel and more like a mainstream novel set in a fantasy world. The YA trilogy he did isn't really fantasy at all, it's post apocalyptic. Joe's writing is fantastic, and I'll pick up the new trilogy in a heartbeat, but I pick up these books to read about weird and impossible things. When I want reality I just read a history book.
Title: Re: What is the fascination of mines in fantasy?
Post by: S. K. Inkslinger on September 15, 2019, 09:39:23 AM
Thank you for reminding me. I had my own personal assassin crisis a few years back, where I was desperately looking for contemporary fantasy books that don't have teenage assassin protagonists.

80s and early 90s fantasy really is where the good stuff is. Yes, a lot, and perhaps most of it was cheesy or even campy. But one think that camp has is earnest enthusiasm that makes the whole work more than the sum of its silly parts. In my heavily distorted perception of someone who doesn't really need it, contemporary fantasy always looks stiff and trying to be grounded and down to earth.
I am always looking for magical adventures, but I just can't find any.
When I want reality I just read a history book.

"When I want reality I just read a history book." I'm definitely keeping this quote for further usage, hahah.  :D
Title: Re: What is the fascination of mines in fantasy?
Post by: NedMarcus on September 15, 2019, 01:07:40 PM
... a lot of Joe Abercrombie's latest work. It feels embarrassed to be labelled as fantasy. Every book he writes since the First Law trilogy has fewer overt fantasy elements in it. Red Country feels less like a fantasy novel and more like a mainstream novel set in a fantasy world. The YA trilogy he did isn't really fantasy at all, it's post apocalyptic. Joe's writing is fantastic, and I'll pick up the new trilogy in a heartbeat, but I pick up these books to read about weird and impossible things. When I want reality I just read a history book.

It might be Game of Thrones influencing other fantasy, but I think this stage of fantasy will pass.
Title: Re: What is the fascination of mines in fantasy?
Post by: Yora on September 15, 2019, 01:36:24 PM
What I really want is Star Wars without lasers and space ships.  8)
Title: Re: What is the fascination of mines in fantasy?
Post by: Rostum on September 15, 2019, 01:48:11 PM
Have you read The Princess Bride?
Title: Re: What is the fascination of mines in fantasy?
Post by: NedMarcus on September 15, 2019, 02:08:36 PM
What I really want is Star Wars without lasers and space ships.  8)
But how do you get between the stars?
Title: Re: What is the fascination of mines in fantasy?
Post by: Skip on September 15, 2019, 05:29:51 PM
There's stuff I'm bored with even before reading it. Urban fantasy, vampires, zombies, grimdark. Beyond that? I guess I'm bored with court intrigue. And village intrigue, for that matter. Most of it just drags.

But really, just give me good writing, which can make anything interesting. Give me a passionate writer (note: earnestness is not the same thing).

I hear what folks are saying about the Fantasy of Yesteryear (this old coot is amused to find the 80s and 90s referred to as "back then" but is tolerant of young 'uns). I do think passion was part of the equation. The whole field was still new enough that one could get away with "Dwarves! In taverns!" and the reader would be right there for the ride.

But I also respectfully suggest that folks may be recalling the literature of their youth. There's nothing that will ever match the music from one's teens and early 20s. You'll never be that rocker again, and you'll never be that reader again. The first horror stories, the first mysteries, the first fantasy novels, these are going to resonate in ways that cannot be duplicated.

I submit as additional evidence the tone of people--I mainly see them in Facebook groups--who read what I regard as mandane, dull, even outright bad fantasy novels, and just rave about them. Greatest thing they've ever read. I'll bet you five dollars to a doughnut that their average age will be younger than the average age of people on this thread. Appalling as it is for me to say, these are the fantasy novels of their youth. These forgettable works will be the ones they remember, and against which they'll measure all their future tropes and boredoms.

And hey, @Eclipse. I don't have mines in Into the Second World, but I do have caverns. Really, really deep ones. I suggest you stay away. ;-)
Title: Re: What is the fascination of mines in fantasy?
Post by: Yora on September 15, 2019, 06:32:32 PM
Mysteries and twists are severely overrated.

A good story does not actually have to conclude in a huge twist. Though I feel like in this day, the whole idea that you could have a story without it would seem baffling and bizarre.

I submit as additional evidence the tone of people--I mainly see them in Facebook groups--who read what I regard as mandane, dull, even outright bad fantasy novels, and just rave about them. Greatest thing they've ever read. I'll bet you five dollars to a doughnut that their average age will be younger than the average age of people on this thread.
Star Wars episode 7 has 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. There are actually people who love this rambling dumpster fire of an incoherent train wreck. And I am only in my mid 30s.

Though it is true. My entire music collection is from when I was 16 to 20, or deliberately retro-style.
Title: Re: What is the fascination of mines in fantasy?
Post by: Elfy on September 15, 2019, 10:38:37 PM


I hear what folks are saying about the Fantasy of Yesteryear (this old coot is amused to find the 80s and 90s referred to as "back then" but is tolerant of young 'uns). I do think passion was part of the equation. The whole field was still new enough that one could get away with "Dwarves! In taverns!" and the reader would be right there for the ride.

But I also respectfully suggest that folks may be recalling the literature of their youth. There's nothing that will ever match the music from one's teens and early 20s. You'll never be that rocker again, and you'll never be that reader again. The first horror stories, the first mysteries, the first fantasy novels, these are going to resonate in ways that cannot be duplicated.

I submit as additional evidence the tone of people--I mainly see them in Facebook groups--who read what I regard as mandane, dull, even outright bad fantasy novels, and just rave about them. Greatest thing they've ever read. I'll bet you five dollars to a doughnut that their average age will be younger than the average age of people on this thread. Appalling as it is for me to say, these are the fantasy novels of their youth. These forgettable works will be the ones they remember, and against which they'll measure all their future tropes and boredoms.


And this is where the 'suck fairy' comes from. You read something in your early teens or 20's and it's the best thing ever. Years go by and your life experience and interests broaden and your reading tastes alter. 10 years on and you're looking for something to read and you pick up this book you remember loving when you were 14 or 22 and it's not the same. The book hasn't changed, you have and off the suck fairy goes, having claimed another victim.
Title: Re: What is the fascination of mines in fantasy?
Post by: Bender on September 16, 2019, 01:07:46 AM
I hear what folks are saying about the Fantasy of Yesteryear (this old coot is amused to find the 80s and 90s referred to as "back then" but is tolerant of young 'uns). I do think passion was part of the equation. The whole field was still new enough that one could get away with "Dwarves! In taverns!" and the reader would be right there for the ride.

But I also respectfully suggest that folks may be recalling the literature of their youth. There's nothing that will ever match the music from one's teens and early 20s. You'll never be that rocker again, and you'll never be that reader again. The first horror stories, the first mysteries, the first fantasy novels, these are going to resonate in ways that cannot be duplicated.

I submit as additional evidence the tone of people--I mainly see them in Facebook groups--who read what I regard as mandane, dull, even outright bad fantasy novels, and just rave about them. Greatest thing they've ever read. I'll bet you five dollars to a doughnut that their average age will be younger than the average age of people on this thread. Appalling as it is for me to say, these are the fantasy novels of their youth. These forgettable works will be the ones they remember, and against which they'll measure all their future tropes and boredoms.

Any serious reader will recognize that books don't age equal. I have good memories of Shannara, but for the life of me I would not go back to read them. Actually I tried and was surprised how bad they were now. But others like Drennai are still cool.

Anyone who claims books of "yesteryear" are better is sadly misguided and just plain wrong.
Title: Re: What is the fascination of mines in fantasy?
Post by: S. K. Inkslinger on September 16, 2019, 05:50:01 AM


I hear what folks are saying about the Fantasy of Yesteryear (this old coot is amused to find the 80s and 90s referred to as "back then" but is tolerant of young 'uns). I do think passion was part of the equation. The whole field was still new enough that one could get away with "Dwarves! In taverns!" and the reader would be right there for the ride.

But I also respectfully suggest that folks may be recalling the literature of their youth. There's nothing that will ever match the music from one's teens and early 20s. You'll never be that rocker again, and you'll never be that reader again. The first horror stories, the first mysteries, the first fantasy novels, these are going to resonate in ways that cannot be duplicated.

I submit as additional evidence the tone of people--I mainly see them in Facebook groups--who read what I regard as mandane, dull, even outright bad fantasy novels, and just rave about them. Greatest thing they've ever read. I'll bet you five dollars to a doughnut that their average age will be younger than the average age of people on this thread. Appalling as it is for me to say, these are the fantasy novels of their youth. These forgettable works will be the ones they remember, and against which they'll measure all their future tropes and boredoms.


And this is where the 'suck fairy' comes from. You read something in your early teens or 20's and it's the best thing ever. Years go by and your life experience and interests broaden and your reading tastes alter. 10 years on and you're looking for something to read and you pick up this book you remember loving when you were 14 or 22 and it's not the same. The book hasn't changed, you have and off the suck fairy goes, having claimed another victim.

I think that depends on the book and the reader, though. I remembered being quite fascinated with Eragon the first time I've read it. For the love of me I wouldn't go back to re-read it again.
Title: Re: What is the fascination of mines in fantasy?
Post by: Neveesandeh on September 16, 2019, 08:16:10 AM

I think that depends on the book and the reader, though. I remembered being quite fascinated with Eragon the first time I've read it. For the love of me I wouldn't go back to re-read it again.

I did go back to re-read it again once. I knew it wouldn't hold up, but it still was far worse than I had expected. The book simply has no plot. Sure, things happen, but none of it is causally connected.
Title: Re: What is the fascination of mines in fantasy?
Post by: Peat on September 16, 2019, 11:23:35 AM
I'd be an idiot to say there's nothing to the idea that the media we consume as late teens/early adults will always burn brightest, and often forms an impression on us that leaves us thinking "This is what it should be" and we then judge all later works by it.

But there is also the issue of the genre's mainstream shifting and sometimes, people's preferences getting left by the wayside. I have a definite weakness for easy reading fantasy with an optimistic air (among other things); there's a lot less of it on the shelves than there used to be. I think on that score, the genre is probably not as strong as it used to be, and that's not just me loving my formative books. There's a few other fields that aren't as popular as they once were too.

I think the genre has a lot of very talented authors today. But it's got very few that I want to tell everyone about and read all their books.
Title: Re: What is the fascination of mines in fantasy?
Post by: Yora on September 16, 2019, 11:43:38 AM
I actually still find a lot of really amazing storytelling all the time. It's just not in books.

Which makes me wonder once more whether fantasy books have become considerably bigger over the past decades? It sometimes seems to me that Malazan has become the new benchmark instead of being a gargantuan outlier. If that is really the case, it could be that novels have become somewhat bloated, aiming for huge scopes and page counts when really good stories can actually be very tight and compact. Many movies, TV shows, and videogames make heavy use of visual spectacle, but I don't think that actually makes the stories seem more gripping or compelling.