Communicator (communicator) wrote,

Fantasy: The best of the year 2006

Because I have read some excellent fantasy books lately (by Kelly Link and Susannah Clark) I thought I would find out more about modern fantasy writing. nwhyte mentioned reading 'Fantasy: The best of the year 2006' (ed, Rich Horton) which was quite cheap on Amazon. I thought a short story collection was a good place to start - it would give me some idea of the range, and it meant I wouldn't get bogged down in some novel I disliked.

I'm glad I did it this way because two or three of these stories were wonderful, and quite a few were bloody awful. Fantasy seems to be a highly variable genre - perhaps more variable than it used to be. In fact my impression is that Fantasy is the inert carcass of an idea that died during the 1960s, within which a new species has taken parasitic life (idea taken from a Tate and Lyle label).

It seems to me that the old fantasy is fixated on cliché in the most extreme way. More extreme than any other genre. And it's not about rediscovering or rethinking a genre cliché, it's not about looking with fresh eyes at 'What would it really feel like to live in a sword and sorcery world?' or 'What new ideas arise from comparing Vampirism to heroin addiction?' No, it's about solemnly trotting through these old motions, with minuscule variance, to some telegraphed conclusion. There must be a market for the not-remotely-challenging.

And yet the good stories are so very good. I'm running out of computer time here, but I'll try to post a story-by-story review later, because I can recommend some of these authors.
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