Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Fantasy and Sci-fi Section at Waterstone's

Fantasy literature is a strange cul de sac. It has its own corner in bookshops which is usually frequented by spotty, greasy haired nerds in faded Iron Maiden t shirts.
The 'Lord of the Rings' started a new genre. It's a magnificent book. It creates an entire world and an entire new language. In terms of sheer narrative drive it has few peers. I could say much the same thing about 'The Hobbit; but this is a childrens book.
The fantasy literature genre consists of pale imitations of the Tolkein original. The books are usually trilogies with titles like: 'The Fourth Lamentation of Thrall: The Chronicles of The Children of Warzworpeld; Book the Third'. The title tells you it must be bollocks; the cover
illustration undelines the message.
It is utterly puerile*. It's fine if you're fifteen and want to escape the world of girls that ignore you and galloping acne. When you get past the age of twenty and are still indulging in this crap then it's time to worry. Put your dungeons and dragons figurines in the attic and leave them there. You can stay at home and play a daft RPG like Warcraft with your mates online. That way no one will have to look at you.
If you must read fantasy, then head to the children's literature section. You can find Phillip Pullman's 'His Dark Materials', The Harry Potter series and C S Lewis's 'Chronicles of Narnia'. Sure, it's for kids, but adults can read it too. Some of it is even multi-layered so that it can be read by children AND adults.
* I'll make an exception for Ursula le Guinn and Meryn Peake, but that's it.


Herge Smith said...

I'm more Sci-fi than Fantasy. Guess it's how you were fetched up - my old man was a big time sci-fi reader, he got me to read Do androids dream of electric sheep? when I was 10! Bloody nutter.

And I was shitting HG Wells and Wyndham by the time I went to secondary school. Just couldn't get along with Dragons and Elves and that.

I do love His Dark Materials though.

That's top notch.

garfer said...

Sci-fi is different. It ranges from Phillip K Dick to Buffy the Vampire Slayer tie ins. Something for everyone there.
Don't know why they have to group it along with the fantasy wank.

Herge Smith said...

I dunno, to make us all feel pathetic.

And I sometimes by 'graphic novels' or comics as I like to call them. I might as well have a banner round my neck which says ' LOSER - DON'T ENGAGE IN CONVERSATION WILL TRY TO JUSTIFY BY SUGGESTING COMICS ARE JUST ANOTHER VALID FORM OF LITERATURE'.

Obviously that would be a big banner, and people would laugh.

Wyndham said...

Having the good fortune to ride on the Tube every morning, there's nothing so certain as to scream LOSER about a person than them reading Gnome World IV: Trigon's Codpiece, or whatever, on the Northern Line. Pullman doesn't count because that's such a hidge-podge of styles. If someone's reading a bit of quality sci-fi - I mean, with this name, I can talk! - then I don't mind. It's got to be quality,though: none of those bloody Star Trek novels.

garfer said...

I had thing about Marvel comics when I was a kid. I had hundreds of US originals. My mother was told by an aunt that they were 'an unhealthy influence'. She chucked them on a bonfire. God knows what that stash would be worth today.
Funnily enough, the same thing happened to my. He had the first 50 odd editions of Dan Dare in the attic. My grandmother burnt those.
Woman...tsk. They have no idea.

MHN for short said...

Some women do. And some women play their D & D with pride, as well as reading their JRRT and JKR and CSL, not to mention the Anne Rice Vampire Chronicles and the Mayfair Witches Series. But then, I'm not your average woman... Carry on fellas. ;-)

garfer said...


er...., I'll make an exception in your case.
Anyway, your taste in fantasy is at the perfectly acceptable end of the spectrum (apart from the D&D).

MHN for short said...

Thank you, kind sir! :-) I'll have to post a picture on my blog when I get my COSTUME for my character made.

Thought that would make your eyes roll. Was I right? :-)

garfer said...

Have a look at www.pixyland.org. It may give you some ideas for your costume.

MHN for short said...

Thank you. Thank you!