December 11, 2017, 07:32:47 AM

Author Topic: Fantasy Books Gone Mainstream  (Read 4400 times)

Offline Lanko

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Re: Fantasy Books Gone Mainstream
« Reply #30 on: December 04, 2015, 03:04:27 AM »
Actually, I've never heard of Discworld until I got on this forum. Maybe it's more of a UK thing?
I knew kids that read Harry Potter. I knew kids that read Erigon and all of rick Riordan's stuff. I never new a person who even had heard of the name Terry Pratchet until I got into the Fantasy community. Then I started hearing stories about parents reading it to their kids and all that.
I was, and still am, confused.

Same here, and even longer than you.

I was reading a blog about writing and one article cited Pratchett and a lot of reasons to read him for inspiration. I was scared that there were like 45 volumes of Discworld novels and didn't started.
Much later I discovered that the order didn't matter, they were isolated stories, but in the same setting or a different part of that world.

I only read about his death much later as well, and there was an article on the Guardian bashing Pratchett which caused revolt among the fans. Specially since the guy who wrote it admitted he didn't even had read any of his works.

Then book club chose Nation, by Pratchett. A standalone, not set in Discworld, but a fictional Earth.

From what I heard, he was also knighted by the Queen of England, not long ago, so that probably helped a lot as well.
Slow and steady wins the race.

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Offline Raptori

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Re: Fantasy Books Gone Mainstream
« Reply #31 on: December 04, 2015, 03:44:11 AM »
Actually, I've never heard of Discworld until I got on this forum. Maybe it's more of a UK thing?
I knew kids that read Harry Potter. I knew kids that read Erigon and all of rick Riordan's stuff. I never new a person who even had heard of the name Terry Pratchet until I got into the Fantasy community. Then I started hearing stories about parents reading it to their kids and all that.
I was, and still am, confused.
I had never read any of his books, but I was definitely aware of Discworld - he was always mentioned in the same breath as Tolkien and Lewis in terms of influential fantasy authors. Guess it just depends.
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Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Fantasy Books Gone Mainstream
« Reply #32 on: November 28, 2017, 12:36:39 PM »
*doing an Eclipse* ;D

I noticed that Sanderson's Oathbringer entered at number 3 (or was it 4) on the Sunday Times bestselling list.
Are people more open to Fantasy books, now?

I'm not sure - the last Saturday paper I bought was dedicated to the "best books of 2017", and although it had a separate section for crime and for historical fiction, there was absolutely zero mention of any SFF books.
Or do fantasy fans not get their info from mainstream media, so there's no point in dedicating space to it?
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Offline Peat

Re: Fantasy Books Gone Mainstream
« Reply #33 on: November 28, 2017, 09:38:57 PM »
*doing an Eclipse* ;D

I noticed that Sanderson's Oathbringer entered at number 3 (or was it 4) on the Sunday Times bestselling list.
Are people more open to Fantasy books, now?

I'm not sure - the last Saturday paper I bought was dedicated to the "best books of 2017", and although it had a separate section for crime and for historical fiction, there was absolutely zero mention of any SFF books.
Or do fantasy fans not get their info from mainstream media, so there's no point in dedicating space to it?

Newspaper critics go for the unignorable and the 'worthy'/'trendy'. Most fantasy is neither - but that doesn't mean there's no mainstream interest in fantasy, or that fantasy fans don't read the mainstream media. Merely that we're on the wrong end of the snob stick. Its not different from, say, metal outselling classical but getting less attention in the papers, or the amount of reviews of lovely little independent places in Bristol/west London vs lovely little independent places in Yorkshire/south London.

Is the mainstream open to fantasy? I think it is here, but more the Gaiman/Morgenstern type than Sanderson/Jordan.
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Offline ultamentkiller

Re: Fantasy Books Gone Mainstream
« Reply #34 on: December 01, 2017, 01:00:30 AM »
I'm not sure. I always see Fantasy books in the New York Times bestselling list, and on the top placements for Amazon Kindle. I don't think that's a good indicator for if something is mainstream or not. To me, it's mainstream if 8 out of 10 people I ask have at least heard of it.

Offline Peat

Re: Fantasy Books Gone Mainstream
« Reply #35 on: December 02, 2017, 07:16:52 AM »
I'm not sure. I always see Fantasy books in the New York Times bestselling list, and on the top placements for Amazon Kindle. I don't think that's a good indicator for if something is mainstream or not. To me, it's mainstream if 8 out of 10 people I ask have at least heard of it.

I'm going to guess very few books are mainstream by that definition though. Or did you mean 8 out of 10 book readers know about it?

That said, yes, bestselling list doesn't mean that much considering the numbers involved. If a book has a high-ish percentage of the fantasy fandom buying it on release, its going to get in.
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Offline ultamentkiller

Re: Fantasy Books Gone Mainstream
« Reply #36 on: December 04, 2017, 09:06:19 PM »
yes, I'm sorry. Eight out of 10 book readers, for the most part. You can pretty much ask anyone on the street about Harry Potter, and they at least know who the main character is and what they do. On the other hand, Game of Thrones wasn't mainstream until the TV show. In fact, what books were mainstreamed before the show or movie? I can think of Hunger Games... Yep. I'm out.

Offline Dark Squiggle

Re: Fantasy Books Gone Mainstream
« Reply #37 on: December 04, 2017, 09:29:18 PM »
Mainstream books before TV/movie
Narnia
Golden Compass
LotR
The Martian
Eragon
Anything by Roald Dhal
What is a mainstream book?  Most books that are talked about are only really known for something else. How many people do you know who read Les Miserables? Everyone knows what it is, but noone's actually read it. How is this a fair way to measure "mainstream"? The mainstream person probably doesn't read altogether, and the "fantasy fan" or "SF fan" doesn't really exist. I call myself a fantasy fan, but fantasy only makes up, say 30% of my reading, and High Fantasy even less.
Terry Prachett is famous mostly in the UK, and among Douglass Adams fans in the US :)

Offline ultamentkiller

Re: Fantasy Books Gone Mainstream
« Reply #38 on: December 05, 2017, 12:41:32 AM »
Interesting. I had never heard of The Martian until it was being made a movie. Narnia definitely. the LOTR movies came out a couple years after I was born. The Golden Compass because of its controversy, which is the easiest way to become famous.

I can think of sci-fi examples for sure. Ender's Game. It's YA, but The Maze Runner and Divergent. Probably tons more. Fantasy seems harder though.

Offline DrNefario

Re: Fantasy Books Gone Mainstream
« Reply #39 on: December 05, 2017, 12:33:51 PM »
I think a thing is mainstream if people are likely to know something about it even if they haven't directly encountered it. If it's something that might, for instance, come up as a question on a daytime TV quiz. In literature, this means it's mostly about literary award types, big blockbusters and classics. Often when they have also been turned into a TV series or movie.

I don't feel that Sanderson has that level of breakout recognition, yet.

Offline Rostum

Re: Fantasy Books Gone Mainstream
« Reply #40 on: December 05, 2017, 01:22:57 PM »
Quote
Interesting. I had never heard of The Martian until it was being made a movie. Narnia definitely. the LOTR movies came out a couple years after I was born. The Golden Compass because of its controversy, which is the easiest way to become famous.

While I don't disagree with you, I am curious why The golden Compass would be considered controversial within any rational use of the word? I am well aware of religious discord on Pullmans works because he is an atheist but religious objection to his work with in UK was limited to the  people who believe the Easter Bunny is the work of Satan and some Islamic objection from outliers within that religion. Mostly it concerned his views and not his writing, 'how dare an atheist be given a voice' was the general tone. Was this really a big thing in the States or merely among fundamentalists?

Offline Peat

Re: Fantasy Books Gone Mainstream
« Reply #41 on: December 05, 2017, 09:11:45 PM »
yes, I'm sorry. Eight out of 10 book readers, for the most part. You can pretty much ask anyone on the street about Harry Potter, and they at least know who the main character is and what they do. On the other hand, Game of Thrones wasn't mainstream until the TV show. In fact, what books were mainstreamed before the show or movie? I can think of Hunger Games... Yep. I'm out.

Gods know. Here, to pick an example, Bernard Cornwell is advertised in every train station when he has a new release, he's sold tons of books, they're in every library, second hand shop, book shop etc.etc., and has already had one book series turned into TV. Yet when The Last Kingdom became TV as well, most of the conversations I heard about it featured people who didn't know about the book.

And I'm not completely sure The Hunger Games were mainstream here either. I think most books become mainstream quite a long time after their publication.

Offline ultamentkiller

Re: Fantasy Books Gone Mainstream
« Reply #42 on: December 05, 2017, 09:19:14 PM »
The Hunger Games was definitely mainstream over here. Teachers were reading it to their third-grade classrooms a year and a half before the movie came out. Which seems oddly young, but there it is.

Quote
Interesting. I had never heard of The Martian until it was being made a movie. Narnia definitely. the LOTR movies came out a couple years after I was born. The Golden Compass because of its controversy, which is the easiest way to become famous.

While I don't disagree with you, I am curious why The golden Compass would be considered controversial within any rational use of the word? I am well aware of religious discord on Pullmans works because he is an atheist but religious objection to his work with in UK was limited to the  people who believe the Easter Bunny is the work of Satan and some Islamic objection from outliers within that religion. Mostly it concerned his views and not his writing, 'how dare an atheist be given a voice' was the general tone. Was this really a big thing in the States or merely among fundamentalists?
I never finished the book or the series, so I have no idea. I just remember when I was younger the southern baptists screaming "evil book!" Could have been different in other Christian denominations though.

Offline Peat

Re: Fantasy Books Gone Mainstream
« Reply #43 on: December 05, 2017, 09:40:01 PM »
The Hunger Games was definitely mainstream over here. Teachers were reading it to their third-grade classrooms a year and a half before the movie came out. Which seems oddly young, but there it is.

Maybe things have changed since I was in school but you'd be lucky to read anything by someone still alive when I was there, nevermind published within the last decade... which of course has absolutely nothing to do with why reading isn't mainstream.

Offline Rostum

Re: Fantasy Books Gone Mainstream
« Reply #44 on: December 06, 2017, 01:19:55 PM »
I believe curriculum changes have meant English Lit has now reached the 3rd quarter of the 20th century in UK Schools and may now think you don't have to be dead to be worth reading. @Nighteyes am I even close?

Quote
I never finished the book or the series, so I have no idea. I just remember when I was younger the southern baptists screaming "evil book!" Could have been different in other Christian denominations though.

Ta muchly. Southern baptist translates to screaming nut job over here. The baseline being CofE which means you don't actually have to believe in anything at all.