April 26, 2018, 03:03:36 AM

Author Topic: Where's the Intellegence?  (Read 1636 times)

Offline BrandonMarkham

Where's the Intellegence?
« on: February 10, 2011, 12:53:00 AM »
(Mirrored from my blog)

The other day, I almost threw a fit when Aidan Moher posted on "A Dribble of Ink" "Are Fantasy Readers Dumber than Science Fiction Readers?". The title of the post comes from Jim Cormier someone made on Aidan's review of Daniel Abraham's "The Dragon's Path". The more I read the post, however, I found myself agreeing with what Jim has said. And this is what I have to say.
So, I ask, where is the intellegence in Fantasy? Where are the Daniel Abrahams and the R. Scott Bakers? Or even Steve Eriksons, Yoon Ha Lees, N.K. Jemisins? Do people really only care for the redundancy of Epic Fantasy? To twist the same thing until something new pops out? Well, it isn't really new, it's just different. It's really not different either. It's redundant.
It seems like the majority of Epic Fantasy publishers only want this kind of Fantasy, this sort of redundancy. However, Fantasy readers are smart, and I know a throng of such readers who want a change in this genre. I don't think we're being noticed. That, or we're not loud enough.
Either way, it's not the readers who are dumb. Fantasy is getting where it needs to be.

Offline Overlord

Re: Where's the Intellegence?
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2011, 09:58:21 AM »
I don't really see the need to overcomplicate things... Fantasy is simple because of its setting usually. Science Fiction is made complicated by technology.

Also, a Fantasy World is quite limited to a town, country or planet where as Sci-Fi can literally be HUGE and the setting can change with a single chapter entitled 'the journey' where the beginning they leave an icy world and at the end of that same chapter they arrive at a world overrun with volcanoes or something...
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Offline BrandonMarkham

Re: Where's the Intellegence?
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2011, 02:30:49 PM »
 It just seems to me, that most Fantasy is the same. A chosen one or a few heroes fighting against an ancient evil, or demons at that. I loved it when Jordan did(shoot, I still love it), but dang, does everyone have to do it just to fit the trend? I believe that trends in Fantasy are closely aligned with cliches. 
 Maya Angelou quoted that one fantasy change a myriad of individuals' realities. I believe that Fantasy can used to change this world. L.E. Modessit Jr. makes you think, Steven Erikson is quite the philosophical writer as well.
 I'll say this for myself, because I don't want to say "we". I don't need another Tolkien wannabe. I want more philosophical epic fantasy.

Offline Rhevian

Re: Where's the Intellegence?
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2011, 05:40:27 PM »
Try reading Gene Wolfe's "Soldier in the Mist", John Crowley's "Aegypt", or Mary Gentle's "1610: Sundial in a Grave". (The intelligence in some good Fantasy is often to do with Jungian psychology.)

Offline BrandonMarkham

Re: Where's the Intellegence?
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2011, 05:57:41 PM »
@Rhevian: Haha, that's so true. The first Earthsea was heavily influenced by the Jungian notion that every individual has a shadow.
I had a quote by Carl Jung on Fantasy...

Offline MTMaenpaa

Re: Where's the Intellegence?
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2011, 07:11:29 PM »
Roger Zelazny was an incredibly intelligent and talented writer, and Steven Brust is the closest thing to his predecessor today.  Brust's Taltos series tackles some pretty weighty themes, from politics to death and divorce.  Zelzany's Chronicles of Amber are philosophically heavy novels as well, given that their protagonist is capable of traveling through all possible worlds.

Also to say that fantasy is simpler because its contained to a town/village/castle/world is a fallacy.  Brust's Taltos series takes place primarily in the city of Dragaera, yet there is a vast class distinction in place as well as a racial prejudice against humans.  Erikson has one world, yes, but it is riddled with Warrens, ancient lost races and proof of what happens when you let an anthropologist write novels - culture.

Beyond that though, Zelazny's Amber series takes place in Amber, but also on our Earth and several other worlds, most of which our hero created himself to an extent.

To say that Fantasy lacks intelligence, that'd be like saying all musicians can only play three chords.
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Offline Eclipse

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Re: Where's the Intellegence?
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2018, 08:25:03 AM »
I’m surprised not many more people don’t read Brust

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Offline Skip

Re: Where's the Intellegence?
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2018, 05:00:10 PM »
Cannot the same complaint be lodged against any genre? Detective novels, thrillers, romance in its myriad forms, mysteries. Sturgeon's Law, folks. Don't sweat it. Value the good stuff in part because it's rare.

Offline Not Lu

Re: Where's the Intellegence?
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2018, 05:36:07 PM »
Epic fantasy is littered with farm boy battling the dark lord, princess saves the kingdom from her evil uncle, the quest to fill in the blank. But, those aren't the books that break out for the most part. Those books are the staples we live on while waiting for the great books emerge.

It's the authors who do something different with the tropes and create believable worlds with real life consequences for the characters who become huge. George R. R. Martin and Steven Erikson are two good examples where they created a new trope or expanded on lesser used tropes.

Offline Ryan Mueller

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Re: Where's the Intellegence?
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2018, 06:38:19 PM »
There's plenty of it out there. It's just not usually what sells the most.

I should also note that there's a ton of science fiction that isn't particularly intelligent either. You've got all kinds of formulaic military science fiction and space opera out there.

And these formulas exist because a vast majority of the readers of the genre enjoy them.

Offline Elfy

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Re: Where's the Intellegence?
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2018, 10:39:35 PM »
Dose anyone else find it interesting that the word intelligence is spelled incorrectly in the thread title?

Online Bradley Darewood

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Re: Where's the Intellegence?
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2018, 10:56:58 PM »
Dose anyone else find it interesting that the word intelligence is spelled incorrectly in the thread title?

*Does

Offline Elfy

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Re: Where's the Intellegence?
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2018, 09:00:39 AM »
Dose anyone else find it interesting that the word intelligence is spelled incorrectly in the thread title?

*Does
Thats what typing on a tablet does to you.

Offline Skip

Re: Where's the Intellegence?
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2018, 05:06:35 PM »
Dose anyone else find it interesting that the word intelligence is spelled incorrectly in the thread title?

*Does
Thats what typing on a tablet does to you.

It doses you.

Offline NedMarcus

Re: Where's the Intellegence?
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2018, 06:23:37 AM »
Dose anyone else find it interesting that the word intelligence is spelled incorrectly in the thread title?

*Does
Thats what typing on a tablet does to you.

It doses you.

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