Sam Sykes' Ode to a Dark Elf

Fantasy author Sam Sykes just wrote an interesting piece titled "Ode to a Dark Elf." You might think that it's about R. A. Salvatore's popular character, but not exactly. Here's an extract:

For some reason, fantasy fans (or at least, fantasy fans who frequently talk about the genre) have an immense problem with being identified as such. And if you pay at all attention, it almost always links back to the desperation to be accepted by that successful and respected older sibling: mainstream literature.

Fantasy always seems to be in a very big hurry to grow up, or at least to be seen as grown-up, hence why all we seem to write about these days is rape and widespread murder and all the other stuff we used to think made us look more adult when we were seventeen (note: I am not saying that these subjects, books or authors are inherently childish, but equating maturity with sex and violence certainly is). To that end, we get frustrated when people point at our magic wolves, our glowing weapons, our three-headed liches and say “looks like you’ve got some growing up to do.”

And maybe it’s just me for whom this particular criticism isn’t having a lot of effect on anymore. Maybe I’m getting too comfortable in my ways. Maybe I’m not thinking hard enough. Maybe I’m just too old to continue to give a shit over whether anyone might see me enjoying this stuff. But the fact of the matter is that I’m having a much harder time caring about what other people are thinking of me.

And I’m not alone.

Follow this link to read the entire post.

1 commentaires:

Cecrow said...

As great a fan of fantasy as I am, I do find it often falls short of achieving the literature category for the reason that - it doesn't aim at it. It aims at cool, fun, etc. Which is perfectly legitimate and entertaining as heck for a reader who just wants to indulge in that. The emotional highs/lows achieved are often greater, going at it that way, than anything that "great literature" can reach. But truly great literature can do both: have a society-impacting message to deliver, while offering a good ride, capable of being read at either level. To achieve both, you need to aim at both; and be aiming at the high-art purpose first. Whether that will sell in this market (more importantly, whether publisher think it will sell in this market) is the real problem.