New poll - Nostalgia?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The topic of my last poll was humor.  To cover more than an aspect of it, I posted three questions instead of one and we now have the results.

What type of Humor do you prefer?
Sarcasm - 34%
Dark/Gallow/Mordid - 19%
Irony - 13%
Biting/Mordant - 6%
None - 6%
Satire, parody/spoof, puns, caricature/exaggerism or toilet - 3 % or less

Is Humor fundamental in Fantasy literature?
Yes - 52%
No - 48%

Do you like funny/parodic books?
Yes - 54%
No - 45%

Judging by the results of the last two questions, it's clear that Fantasy readers are quite divided in terms of appreciation of humor in Fantasy.  That came as a surprise for me, more so for the first question. I know that Grim Fantasy is the trend but even in the 'grimdark' world, authors like Joe Abercrombie can get a grin out of readers more often than not. Wouldn't it be kind of sad to have even less humor in Fantasy? As for the funny and parodic books, I think it's easier to understand that it's not for everyone.

If we keep the focus on the 'grimdark' trend, I think we can also explain the answers for the type of humor question. Don't forget that my blog is focusing on Epic Fantasy and that's the fashionable sub-genre these days.


Nostalgic anyone?

Last week, Tad Williams confirmed that he will be returning to his roots with a new trilogy set in the world of Osten Ard, a sequel to his first trilogy, Memory, Sorrow and Thorn. The confirmation has been received as very good news in the blogosphere and the comments of many readers on the web. While I'm not indifferent, it made me think about the next question for my poll.

I have only read two books by Tad Williams and both are the start of series, meaning The Dragonbone Chair, first book of the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy and Shadowmarch, the first book of the Shadowmarch quartet. I remember liking them both but not being compelled to finish the series so far. In my review of The Dragonbone Chair, I wrote this:
In the end, it was a fun read. Always good to return to the roots of the genre from time to time. I enjoyed it enough to read the rest of the story. But beware, if you read it, the beginning of the book is very slow (I almost put it down). You really have to get at least to the second half. I would surely have given this book a better score if I had read it some years ago.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to diminish the love that long time readers of Williams have or put a label of nostalgia on the reason behind this love.  I think that it's indeed a very good news. By the way, have you read Memory, Sorrow and Thorn? And what did you think about it?) This is simply the introduction to my question and as I said I think that for many series that were released a long time ago, they could have been a better read if I had read them before. However, that's really not the case for everything written more than ten to fifteen years ago.

So, are we nostalgic? I think so but that's not the specific question to which I would like to have your opinion. To be more precise, I want to know if you think that our good old Fantasy series (here's the nostalgia creeping back) are aging well. Most of you must have read some Tad Williams, Terry Brooks, Stephen Donaldson, Raymond E. Feist, David Eddings or even Robert Jordan. Are they aging well for a new crowd of readers who were introduced to Fantasy by Abercrombie, Martin or Erikson? Tolkien is aging well don't you think? We all have a different path that leads to the kind of books we are reading now and I think that it has a great influence on how we perceive books that were released a long time ago.

Furthermore, I always liked to pick up books form authors that were a source of inspiration for the modern Fantasy writers. One of the best ways to get a complete understanding of a genre is to return to its roots. But when we do this, that nostalgic factor isn't present and that's probably when we can better tell if a book has aged well.  Are you often returning to books you have read twenty years ago?

Moreover, Fantasy is evolving. As I mentioned in my comment about the last poll, there's a trend toward grim and dark Fantasy and we are reading less and less often about the farm boy from prophecy who will vanquish evil.

To add more perspective to this questioning, I took a look back at past polls with topics in relation with this subject. When I asked if innovation was overrated in Fantasy, you answered that it wasn't. From the list of most common Fantasy tropes, you clearly said that you were tired of the farm boy saving the world (add to that prophecies and evil dark lords) and most of you were introduced to Fantasy with the help of Mister Tolkien. And finally, you prefer a sequel from a favorite writer than a new idea.


Are the Fantasy series of old aging well?


Ghost said...

There's no one answer to that question. I think it depend on the series. Some fantasy series age well (Jig the Goblin for example) while others don't. Lord of The Rings may be a great movie series now but I think reading the book will be a chore for most young people nowadays as the writing style is very different from what they're used now.

Zaister said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zaister said...

Is it just me, or have covers for fantasy novels really become such a thoroughly dull affair? I mean, look at that current cover of The Dragonbone Chair and compare it to the original paperback cover. Somehow most covers these days, as posted here—or on the Wertzone—don't really show anything and look just boring, and about half of them look like they were made for some kind of Assassin's Creed game. I miss the old covers.

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