New poll - Battles!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Nostalgia. It was the topic of my last poll with a more specific question in mind: Are the Fantasy series of old aging well?  Thinking back on the subject, I'm not sure they all do. Will readers who have read Brandon Sanderson, Joe Abercrombie, Steven Erikson or Mark Lawrence be interested in picking up Wheel of Time? Dragonbone Chair? Brooks' Shannara series? Lord's Foul Bane?

We can't really generalize on a list like that (or with every author of old you can imagine) but the interesting part of it if your answers.  What did you think?

Yes - 58%
No - 42%

Though call!


Now then, ff you haven't, you really should read the guest post of Jeff Salyards I posted earlier this week. Done? Good!

My topic for the next poll won't be related to grief but to another subject tackled by Jeff, battles in Fantasy. Mr. Salyards mentions that battles are not cherished by all the readers. I tend to agree with that feeling judging by the discussions with, and comments from readers of Fantasy novels over the years. However, I think that in the specific genre of Fantasy, ain't it weird that it could be so?

First of all, I know that battles are not an absolute necessity in a Fantasy story.  They tend to be more so in particular sub-genres like Epic or Military Fantasy. The gritty phenomenon has even but them to the foreground with a 'bloody' prospect. I looked at the list of books I have read in the last years and I didn't find any novels where no battle scenes were included. Anyone has some titles in mind? With that being said, I think that we ought to look at this from a different perspective. If there is to be a battle in Fantasy books, it doesn't have to be much detailed and maybe when it is, that's where some readers will skip ahead?

A battle with magic involved is quite different from a close quartered sword fight, the latter being less 'flashy' and more gruesome. However, as I said, it's in the level of detail that the distinction will be. A duel of blades can be described without blood involved, with heroics, flamboyant moves and stances with poetic names. But when Joe Abercrombie, Jeff Salyards, Miles Cameron or Richard Morgan are behind the pen, you will read about a blade piercing some part of the body, fluids flowing out and many other types of injuries.  Some authors do it to shock but others to give a more accurate account of the battle (and its aftermath as Salyards masterfully demonstrated). 

A battle can even be decomposed to its numbers. I remember that it was the case with The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman.  In that example, I agree that the battles can be tedious. Hopefully, some writers like Django Wexler or Miles Cameron can paint a better portrait of a battle where I could grasp more of what was going on, even if that's not always the case.  

I think that one of the drawback of detailed battles is actually the details themselves... let me explain myself. Battles tend to be confusing.  That's where the skills of the author will come into play.  You can describe a battle sequence with all the little details you can think of, still, the reader has to be able to easily imagine the scene. Moreover, it's not every reader who has the knowledge of all the weapons and gear a knight can wield or wear or of the different tactics, parts of an army or strategies.

I admit that more often that I would like, I feel confused in battle scenes but still, I would say that I like or even love them in my Fantasy readings. Where else could we find heroics?

Do you like battles in Fantasy books?

- Yes
- No

The more detailed the better?


Your comments are more than welcomed! What is your relatioship with battles? Any memorable ones?


Chris said...

I think some of Guy Gavriel Kay's books provide little or no battles?

I've been pondering over this myself as sometimes I'd rather read something without violence for a change. :S

Gabriele Campbell said...

Ths poll isn't working.

Ghost said...

Battles in fantasy is great when the story demands it. Take Adrian Tchaikovsky for example; his Shadows of the Apt series has battles all over the place but not every book in his series has it. That's the way it should be. Battles are great if it is properly written and the story needs it. Writers should not write them in just for the sake of having them.

Anonymous said...

Depends on the battle. I didn´t enjoy George Martin´s battles. Too cruel for my taste. So yes, I don´t like it so detailed when it comes to battles if it´s not including magic. In that case: I love to read them, but still I like them not too cruel.

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