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Judg
01-22-2007, 10:06 PM
According to a recent newspaper article I read, mystery and thrillers are the biggest selling genres. But I consistently see more people reading this forum than those for the other genres. In NaNoWriMo, the SciFi/Fantasy statistics were far and away the highest, which tells me that there were more writers working in speculative fiction than any other genre.

Why do you think this is? What draws so many writers to this genre?

greglondon
01-22-2007, 10:13 PM
I thought "Romance" was the biggest selling genre.

Higgins
01-22-2007, 10:24 PM
I thought "Romance" was the biggest selling genre.

I read the Christian Forum and I'm Christian in Name Only. I read the thriller forum and I've only written non-thrillers.

Sci-fi may be a kind of cultural common ground and reading the forum may not have much to do with what you've written that has sold.

On the other hand, for the most part I write fantasy with a lot of sci-fi elements or sci-fi with a lot of fantasy elements.

AND YET, I could be including just as many Romance and Thriller elements...hard to say...the area where Sci fi meets fantasy is a bit ill-defined in many ways. Maybe Thrillers, Romance and Horror are all there too?

Or maybe a lot of sci-fi gets bought used? Maybe it has a higher resale value?

For that matter the Novels forum has at least 8 times the readership as the Sci-fi forum.

Judg
01-22-2007, 10:33 PM
Greg, the article was referring to sales in Canada. Maybe we're different. But the question still stands.

Sokal, I was comparing this forum to the other genre forums in Get With the Genre. I think the Writing Novels forum is the most popular, bar none.

Momento Mori
01-22-2007, 10:34 PM
I don't think that the popularity of this Forum (or any fantasy/SF Forum) can be taken to represent popularity of the genre. I think that fantasy/SF writers tend to be more enthusiastic in terms of participating in 'net discussions than perhaps other genre writers. Just in terms of Google searching, I've found more support groups/websites/other information for fantasy/SF than I have for mystery, crime and thriller (which is the other main genre I try to write in). As such, it's easier to be part of and take part in writing discussions.

None of this is intended to disparage mystery, crime or other genre writers by the way (the last thing I want is a serial killer writer taking umbridge!)

dclary
01-22-2007, 10:42 PM
I believe most writers in Nanowrimo are loser geeks with nothing better to do, and scifi/fantasy/vampire flicks appeal to them a lot.

At least, that's the word on the street... ;)

veinglory
01-22-2007, 10:42 PM
I wonder how the figures were derived. I'm willing to bet Canadians read romance in a similar proportion to the rest of us.

sunandshadow
01-22-2007, 10:51 PM
In sff you get to be the most imaginative and there are the least rules about what you can't do, I would think that would make it appeal to writers.

glutton
01-22-2007, 11:05 PM
It's not so much that I "want to write fantasy" as that "what I want to write is fantasy"... if that makes any sense at all.

Higgins
01-22-2007, 11:18 PM
Greg, the article was referring to sales in Canada. Maybe we're different. But the question still stands.

Sokal, I was comparing this forum to the other genre forums in Get With the Genre. I think the Writing Novels forum is the most popular, bar none.

So it may well be true that there are more sci-fi writers...but porportionately fewer readers than for other genres.

I suppose in some ways Sci fi has always been closer to its readers, maybe the sci fi readers just need more attention than the thriller readers?

After all Stephen King probably writes most of the Horror that gets purchased and it would be very hard to find a sci-fi writer with that kind of dominance over the market.

So maybe there is less money in Sci fi, but the readers get a more personalized product.

victoriastrauss
01-23-2007, 12:02 AM
I don't think that the popularity of this Forum (or any fantasy/SF Forum) can be taken to represent popularity of the genre. I think that fantasy/SF writers tend to be more enthusiastic in terms of participating in 'net discussions than perhaps other genre writers.I agree. In terms of actual output and readership, fantasy/SF is only about 6-7% of the total fiction market.

Here are some stats (https://www.rwanational.org/eweb/dynamicpage.aspx?webcode=StatisticsIndustry).

- Victoria

Jamesaritchie
01-23-2007, 12:14 AM
According to a recent newspaper article I read, mystery and thrillers are the biggest selling genres. But I consistently see more people reading this forum than those for the other genres. In NaNoWriMo, the SciFi/Fantasy statistics were far and away the highest, which tells me that there were more writers working in speculative fiction than any other genre.

Why do you think this is? What draws so many writers to this genre?

That's a good question. Romance is the largest genre. Just about twice the size of mystery/thriller. But mystery/thriller is about five to six times as large as either SF or fantasy.

I suspect it isn't a numbers game. I think SF and fantasy writers are simply much more inclined to form groups and talk about it.

benbradley
01-23-2007, 12:29 AM
I think there's always been a closer relationship in SF between writers and readers, and there's a greater feeling among SF readers that they want to write. And they don't want to just "write", they ONLY want to write SF. At least that's the way it was for me. I don't now eschew the idea of writing SF, I've just expanded my ideas of what I want to write.

Dean Koontz started out in SF and moved on to "mainstream" to sell to a larger audience and make more money with his writing. I think he's unusual in that respect (not in wanting to make more money writing, but rather in leaving the SF field, for whatever reason). Piers Anthony also wrote SF but apparently found he could make more money with fantasy (which is of course nowadays lumped in with SF under "Speculative Fiction"), and stuck with that, disappointing us "Hard SF" fans who enjoyed his novel Macroscope.

Many other SF writers have written "other things" but when not writing SF they usually write science-fact related works, rather than another genre of fiction. Isaac Asimov wrote in many fields including (for an example of non-SF fiction) mystery, but out of all of his work, he's still best known for his SF.

Higgins
01-23-2007, 12:30 AM
I agree. In terms of actual output and readership, fantasy/SF is only about 6-7% of the total fiction market.

Here are some stats (https://www.rwanational.org/eweb/dynamicpage.aspx?webcode=StatisticsIndustry).

- Victoria

The site says:


Mystery/Detective/Suspense is 29.6% of popular fiction sales
General Fiction is 12.9% of popular fiction sales
Science Fiction/Fantasy is 6.4% of popular fiction sales
Religious, occult, westerns, male adventure, general history, adult and movie tie-ins was 11.8% of popular fiction sales
So if you are writing Sci fi and are wondering what random elements to include you should go for Thriller and Romance or Mystery/detective suspense and sort of kick yourself into more popular terrain while avoiding the downsider things along the lines of Generally Religious or Occult Historical, any male Adventure Westerns, any thing Adult or with a Movie tie-in or any combination. So shoot for the Romantic Thriller end of the spectrum and avoid the Religious Male Adventure Western kind of thing.

engmajor2005
01-23-2007, 04:38 AM
I think that sci-fi and fantasy are most popular among aspiring writers. Maybe sci-fi and fantasy writers are more susceptible to hero worship and want to emulate their favorite writers? Maybe sci-fi and fantasy fans are more imaginative as a whole? But I would also wager that since speculative fiction is a smaller part of the market, it's also the hardest to break into.

dclary
01-23-2007, 04:42 AM
avoid the Religious Male Adventure Western kind of thing.
So, "Walker: Texas Missionary" is right out.

zizban
01-23-2007, 04:57 AM
I suspect it isn't a numbers game. I think SF and fantasy writers are simply much more inclined to form groups and talk about it.

"The fewer the men, the greater the share of the honour."

Aeryn
01-23-2007, 05:16 AM
Perhaps for the aspiring writers (and presumeably they are fans too) - it might be about trying to get more of it out there....?

I am drawn to SF/speculative/magic realism and horror, and lament the lack of it compared to other stuff out there. I try and write it myself...both to have something else to get my mind around, and also on the vague hope of getting more of it...err...out there. ;)
Worse still, I'm more into soft/philosophical cross-genre stuff...as opposed to hardcore SF or fantasy - there's even less of this! But hopefully, today's nano-participants, will be tomorrows treat at the bookshop! :D (for me anyway. ;) )

JDCrayne
01-23-2007, 06:01 AM
I write both SF/fantasy and mysteries, plus an occasional bit of horror. I think it's the "what if" part of SF that appeals to me. It's FUN to build aliens and alien environments and then weave a story around them.

Higgins
01-23-2007, 06:37 AM
So, "Walker: Texas Missionary" is right out.

To almost quote Walker and/or Texas Ranger from Taledega Nights: you made that non-existent novel your bitch.

Judg
01-23-2007, 07:00 AM
I thought that the extra room for imagination probably was part of the answer. It hadn't occurred to me that this is a group of people that likes to talk about it more, but that makes sense when I stop and think about it.

Aeryn, I know what you mean, I'm kind of in that camp myself.

But I think it's clear that when I'm finished my fantasy novel, I should think of turning to women's fiction. ;) Out-and-out romance I don't think I could handle, but character-driven stories that centre on women I think I could do.

But somehow, speculative fiction is just more FUN.

laurenem6
01-23-2007, 07:43 AM
It's not so much that I "want to write fantasy" as that "what I want to write is fantasy"... if that makes any sense at all.

That's a great line.

My thought on the subject is... less research? (arguable)

Lyra Jean
01-23-2007, 08:05 AM
So, "Walker: Texas Missionary" is right out.
:ROFL::roll:

badducky
01-23-2007, 08:29 AM
Hm... but the romance angle?

"Walker: Texas Missionary" from Ellora's Cave has all the makings of a hit.

JDCrayne
01-23-2007, 08:29 AM
But I think it's clear that when I'm finished my fantasy novel, I should think of turning to women's fiction. ;) Out-and-out romance I don't think I could handle, but character-driven stories that centre on women I think I could do.

But somehow, speculative fiction is just more FUN.

There's no reason you can't write speculative fiction with a female protagonist. Jirel of Jory was a great character.

RJLeahy
01-23-2007, 08:42 AM
There's no reason you can't write speculative fiction with a female protagonist. Jirel of Jory was a great character.


Very true. The protag for my scifi/adventure novel is female. I was bit hesitant at first, as I wasn't sure I could pull off a realistic female MC, especially in light of all I was going to have her do (and have done to her), but it turned into a joy to write.

glutton
01-23-2007, 05:54 PM
There's no reason you can't write speculative fiction with a female protagonist.

Quoted for truth. All the novels I've roughly completed so far feature female MC's, and of my two current WIPs one focuses on a male MC, but the main female often ends up stealing the scene; the other kind of shares protag status between its male and female leads. And yes, I'm male. I bet my leading ladies could kick the tar out of most guy heroes, too!

Judg
01-24-2007, 03:34 AM
I'm sure I could write books like that, but they'd still go on the sci fi/fantasy shelves. I just get the impression there are more people browsing through the women's fiction shelves.

It would all be academic, seeing as I'm working on a fantasy novel, except I actually do have an idea for a piece of contemporary fiction, with nary a witch, alien or even romance in sight. But it will have to wait. One project at a time.

Michael Dracon
01-25-2007, 12:51 AM
I think the main reason is because sci-fi and fantasy needs more imagination than other settings. That and it's extremely broad. The possibilities are endless.

That means more questions and discussion.

Maprilynne
01-25-2007, 01:10 AM
I think there are several reason all put together.

Sci-fi and fantays tend to be read by the nerds/geeks/etc. (just statistics, people) who also tend to be bookish, if not actually smart. They are a group who is more likely to attempt to write a book and since most people write what they read . . .

I think Victoria totally hit another reason on the head, that sci-fi/Fant. readers and writers also like to get on the computer and talk.

But I think a huge reason why there is so much fantasy out there (and often so much bad fantasy, no offense to anyone, I'm actually thinking of several of my husband's friends at the moment) is that people read, for example, a techno-thriller and if it is well-researched and well-done, no one thinks, oh boy, I could write that. Generally they think, wow, that was an incredibly twisted plot with more weapins and gizmos than I could ever learn in a lifetime . . . cool! When people get done reading fnatasy, many look at the fact that it is a world the author made up, with people the author made up, and names/characters/cultures the author made up and they say, well I could make something up like that too.

Someone started a thread a couple of weeks ago that basically said that a lot of people think fantasy requires no research because it's all made up. Because fantasy is basically make-believe--and we all know how to pretend--people automatically think its easy.

Not so! I have done so much research and notetaking and worldbuilding for my novel! Whew! If everything I wrote about my world and characters was actually in the novel it would be about 800,000 words. (I'll give you a hint, it's not.) But like any professional, a good writer (especially in fantasy) makes it look really easy--especially since its all made up. Thus, there's a ton of fantasy and sci-fi floating around.

Wow, that's probably moreof an answer than anymone here needed.

I'm just gonna go now.:)

Maprilynne

Judg
01-25-2007, 01:16 AM
Wow, that's probably moreof an answer than anymone here needed.
But a good, well-thought-out one. Thanks.

ChaosTitan
01-25-2007, 02:34 AM
There's no reason you can't write speculative fiction with a female protagonist. Jirel of Jory was a great character.

Every spec-fic book that I've written has a female protag. So does the WIP. In fact, the only book of mine that has a male protag was my first novel, and my only attempt at mainstream fiction.

*goes off to ponder that*

southern_cross3
01-26-2007, 08:58 PM
I think sci-fi and fantasy are very attractive to writers because the genres are perceived as being "easy"; you only have to have an imagination and no real research is required. It represents an area of freedom where almost anything goes.

Of course, anyone who has actually spent time writing it knows that it's far from easy, and in many cases can be much more difficult to write than general fiction.

Judg
01-26-2007, 09:07 PM
I think sci-fi and fantasy are very attractive to writers because the genres are perceived as being "easy"; you only have to have an imagination and no real research is required. It represents an area of freedom where almost anything goes.

Of course, anyone who has actually spent time writing it knows that it's far from easy, and in many cases can be much more difficult to write than general fiction.
Unfortunately there's some truth to that. I asked one woman at my writing group (we do write-ins, not crits) why she was doing fantasy and she said because when she was in a tight spot in the plot, she just had to pull out a little magic and problem solved. I didn't say anything, but I couldn't believe she was doing quality writing. But if it's just recreational, no harm done, I suppose.

Jamesaritchie
01-26-2007, 09:29 PM
I think sci-fi and fantasy are very attractive to writers because the genres are perceived as being "easy"; you only have to have an imagination and no real research is required. It represents an area of freedom where almost anything goes.

Of course, anyone who has actually spent time writing it knows that it's far from easy, and in many cases can be much more difficult to write than general fiction.

I think this might be the perception of fantasy, you just make it all up, but I can't imagine how any writer would think SF required no research. SF is darned near all research, and you'd better get it right.

Higgins
01-26-2007, 09:50 PM
Unfortunately there's some truth to that. I asked one woman at my writing group (we do write-ins, not crits) why she was doing fantasy and she said because when she was in a tight spot in the plot, she just had to pull out a little magic and problem solved. I didn't say anything, but I couldn't believe she was doing quality writing. But if it's just recreational, no harm done, I suppose.

She might injure her brain. But see Lewis Carroll on that:

Judg
01-26-2007, 11:58 PM
She might injure her brain. But see Lewis Carroll on that:
In this case, she was the young'un and I was the oldster... ;)

AzBobby
01-27-2007, 01:40 AM
Just some thoughts --

Nods to most of the theories posted here. Smart, imaginative people are most likely to write. So might be loners, geeks, and the less realistic among us. :) And the impression that sff is one of the easier directions to take is persuasive. All of the above are true to some degree.

I'd like to add one more -- the categorization of sff is pretty loose. Quite a few of the romance volumes are fantasy and horror crossovers. Many of the highest selling fantasy/sf writers ever -- such as King and Vonnegut -- are shelved among the general fiction at the book sellers. So the numbers may be hard to judge accurately.

Jamesaritchie
01-27-2007, 01:46 AM
Just some thoughts --

Nods to most of the theories posted here. Smart, imaginative people are most likely to write. So might be loners, geeks, and the less realistic among us. :) And the impression that sff is one of the easier directions to take is persuasive. All of the above are true to some degree.

I'd like to add one more -- the categorization of sff is pretty loose. Quite a few of the romance volumes are fantasy and horror crossovers. Many of the highest selling fantasy/sf writers ever -- such as King and Vonnegut -- are shelved among the general fiction at the book sellers. So the numbers may be hard to judge accurately.

I odn;t think I'd classify King as remotely SF of fantasy.

Kate Thornton
01-27-2007, 02:13 AM
So, "Walker: Texas Missionary" is right out.

Oh, wait, I thought you meant Walker: Texas Missionary Position

alaskamatt17
01-27-2007, 02:22 AM
I odn;t think I'd classify King as remotely SF of fantasy.

A lot of King's works qualify as fantasy. The whole Dark Tower series is fantasy, as are his collaborations with Peter Straub. Although this is not a very voluminous sample of his works, it is certainly an important one.

alaskamatt17
01-27-2007, 02:29 AM
As for the comments about using female protagonists in SF and fantasy, I don't see why anybody would even call this into question. Of course you can use female MCs.

George R. R. Martin's big fantasy series features plenty of female characters who are as close to protagonists as characters in that series get.

Philip Pullman's Lyra Belacqua seems to work out okay as a protagonist.

I think the majority of successful, published authors writing in the genre today have used female protagonists in at least a few of their stories.

Yuallica
01-27-2007, 03:06 AM
It could well just be us crazed fantasy writers posting more... look at the size of most books in our genre, after all- it's obvious we don't want to shut up :D

Or perhaps more fantasy readers are also writers? No idea whether that idea works or not, but perhaps a lot of people read other genres without writing them as well? Maybe that would explain why more of those books sold, whilst more of us seem to write fantasy...

I don't know why fantasy (or sci-fi, but I don't know anything about that at all) seems to be more popular with aspiring writers- for me, writing fantasy is automatic. Almost everything I read is fantasy, and quite honestly, I think fantasy.

KiraOnWhite
01-27-2007, 04:33 AM
Though I write fantasy, most of the books disappoint me...in the aspect of fight scenes. As for sci-fic, people like to read it since personally I think its both educational and entertaining. Does your mundane science textbook do that? No. Both fantasy and sci-fi are large ranged fields, allowing debut authors to enter easily. For Fantasy, its more of an imagination vs imagination thing on the outlook and imagination is something which most young authors possess. For sci-fi...the main task seems to be a , " Wow! Look at how cool our world can be!" thing.

AzBobby
01-27-2007, 05:07 AM
I odn;t think I'd classify King as remotely SF of fantasy.

King's work is not remotely fantasy to you?

Maybe I'm in a parallel dimension. Pretty much all of my favorite works of King's are unambiguously fantasy. I wouldn't call him an SF writer despite exceptions like Dreamcatcher, an old fashioned alien invasion story. Most other examples come closer to Twilight Zone style fantasy like The Stand even when he borrows SF themes. He crosses genres and writes some work without the fantasy element in his gigantic oeuvre -- but you don't classify him as remotely fantasy?

I think my context was to name various cross-genre authors like King and Vonnegut (an SF writer, remotely or otherwise). I suppose they reach the mainstream fiction shelves primarily because their "classification" is up for discussion, having enjoyed sales and attention beyond niche genre markets and making no label absolute.

thethinker42
01-27-2007, 06:22 AM
My thought on the subject is... less research? (arguable)

If that's the case, I've been going about it ALL wrong. LOL I research my fantasy and sci-fi stories almost as much as I research my military thrillers.

wm_bookworm
01-27-2007, 08:08 PM
For me, as a young fantasy writer, I have several reasons why I have chosen to write fantasy. The most obvious reason is because at a young age I was sucked into reading fantasy books, and have been hooked ever since. You write what you read is all too true sometimes.

But even bigger than that is the appeal of the worldbuilding part of it all. You can create characters and unique plots in the modern world, but that is not as exciting or fulfilling as making an entire world all of your own. Maybe this appeal goes back to childhood when all you do is imagine new things and places and people? After all, I used to have quite the imagination growing up. I still have that, but now it is more controlled.

And the final reason, for me at least, is my fascination with the medieval time period. I've been in love with the King Arthur legend since I was a kid. My favorite movie is Braveheart. My deepest want is to be a knight living in a castle. Okay, maybe not deepest, but I do have that desire. I'm living in the wrong century! Damn my time machine! It needs to function for me, so I can return to where I belong!

AzBobby
01-27-2007, 09:03 PM
I wonder whether the research/expertise demand has much to do with the "I can do that" factor of writers choosing sff. It may or may not. Most research is not so much "hard" as time consuming and the research demand for sff varies quite a bit. A writer might expect sff to be easy to write (or at least approachable) undeterred by the intention to do a lot of research for it at the same time.

Some writers read almost all sff; they "think fantasy" as Yuallica put it. Why would they favor writing anything else? As for the rest who might be fans of a broad literary mix, it's a good question why a disproportionate number would try sff first.

Do you suppose there is a confidence/security factor weighing heavily for the new writer?

Are writers attracted to sff knowing that in many eyes, there's a lower literary bar to clear? Because in many eyes it's "fun" instead of literary? Because they fear if they put a real relationship down on paper without a smoke screen of magic, no one would read it? Because it would be too personal to them if they did? Because of a deadly fear of boring others? All of the above?

Higgins
01-27-2007, 09:18 PM
Are writers attracted to sff knowing that in many eyes, there's a lower literary bar to clear? Because in many eyes it's "fun" instead of literary? Because they fear if they put a real relationship down on paper without a smoke screen of magic, no one would read it? Because it would be too personal to them if they did? Because of a deadly fear of boring others? All of the above?

All that and some other things such as pure escapism. The more you know about how the world really is right now, the more you'd like to do some less unpleasant fictional variations on it that can also obliquely address some of the reasons the world is so unbelievably nasty these days.

I guess that's impure escapism really.

AzBobby
01-27-2007, 10:13 PM
All that and some other things such as pure escapism. The more you know about how the world really is right now, the more you'd like to do some less unpleasant fictional variations on it that can also obliquely address some of the reasons the world is so unbelievably nasty these days.

I guess that's impure escapism really.

I take it you mean pure escapism would duck references to or parallels with the real world's problems...

You're right... The impulse to create fictional variations on the real world might go along with the "save the world" impulse many writers can have, and the inspiration for many writers to write at all. SFF is certainly my favorite format for commentary and satire on otherwise done-to-death topics like politics, religion and morality.

glutton
01-27-2007, 10:23 PM
I wanted to write a story about a warrior heroine who was, physically speaking, a powerhouse brute (or "monster" if you will) on a similar level as the epic heroes of old, but who was just a big softie underneath, a nice, considerate, fairly sensitive girl-next-door (if sort of a tomboy) type if you will, and who doesn't like to fight but finds herself having to do so out of her sense of responsibility (ie. she sees evil happening and knows she has the power to help stop it, so she does). Oh, and of course this involves single-handedly taking on small armies and giant monsters. Where else but in a fantasy could I get away with that story concept?

A caveat: Then again, since I'm unpublished, I suppose I haven't exactly gotten away with it in fantasy, either. I suppose I might have had better luck in the 70's or 80's... darn literary shifts. :(

Higgins
01-27-2007, 10:48 PM
I take it you mean pure escapism would duck references to or parallels with the real world's problems...

You're right... The impulse to create fictional variations on the real world might go along with the "save the world" impulse many writers can have, and the inspiration for many writers to write at all. SFF is certainly my favorite format for commentary and satire on otherwise done-to-death topics like politics, religion and morality.

And I suspect SFF writers and readers tend to be people who see a big gap between possible good things brought by good technical solutions and the array of bad things going on in the world as we know it. Those who perceive this gap and actively and willingly confront it may be a relatively small and close-knit minority compared to, say, readers of Romance who may well have come to some kind of resigned position with whatever ills they may find in the world at large.

virtue_summer
01-27-2007, 11:03 PM
A lot of King's works qualify as fantasy. The whole Dark Tower series is fantasy, as are his collaborations with Peter Straub. Although this is not a very voluminous sample of his works, it is certainly an important one.

Yes and even if you place the superpowers in Carrie and Firestarter in science fiction, you still have ghosts, vampires, and alter ego psuedonyms that come to life. If those aren't fantasy elements, I don't know what is. Or the Stand. It may start out more in the vein of science fiction but Flag's character and the way the story resolves are much more reminiscent of fantasy than anything else, I think.

AzBobby
01-29-2007, 03:04 AM
And I suspect SFF writers and readers tend to be people who see a big gap between possible good things brought by good technical solutions and the array of bad things going on in the world as we know it. Those who perceive this gap and actively and willingly confront it may be a relatively small and close-knit minority compared to, say, readers of Romance who may well have come to some kind of resigned position with whatever ills they may find in the world at large.

I agree but I wouldn't limit the appeal to "technical solutions." I tend to more often read sff stories that serve as cautionary tales. The stress between the perceived solutions to society's ills and their costs is always a workable sf story background: to present some scary situation juxtaposed with, or caused by, some version of our wish fulfillment. H.B. Wells' Eloi live in a sort of paradise in the future, but they're shiftless cattle. Hundreds of writers following Orwell's example have imagined an orderly society of the future in which the citizens have given up their freedoms. I liked a recent story in Asimov's that showed how civilization would collapse into a lawless hell shortly after nanotechnology reached the point of making dreams come true by manufacturing anything anyone wanted to have.

AzBobby
01-29-2007, 04:00 AM
I wanted to write a story about a warrior heroine who was, physically speaking, a powerhouse brute (or "monster" if you will) on a similar level as the epic heroes of old, but who was just a big softie underneath, a nice, considerate, fairly sensitive girl-next-door (if sort of a tomboy) type if you will, and who doesn't like to fight but finds herself having to do so out of her sense of responsibility (ie. she sees evil happening and knows she has the power to help stop it, so she does). Oh, and of course this involves single-handedly taking on small armies and giant monsters. Where else but in a fantasy could I get away with that story concept?

That story concept sounds fun to read, but I'd wonder why and how this combination of skills and personality traits came about in the main character. The tough softie is a tried and true audience pleaser (and so it would seem to my inexpert mind, salesworthy), but when the formula works it's because there are believable causes for the softie to become a super badass or for the super badass to become a softie. If you nail a background setup readers can buy, then the resulting situation you describe could fly.

glutton
01-29-2007, 05:18 AM
Well, I wouldn't say she's a super badass, or much of a traditional badass at all personality-wise. She's not very assertive or confident socially speaking, doubts herself a lot more than you would expect for such a powerful warrior, and one of her biggest flaws is that she has a tendency to run away from (generally social) problems that she can't solve with physical force, because of her lack of assertiveness and confidence. So she's almost purely a softie, except in combat- there, her great natural strength and beyond-Rasputin fortitude, combined with her talent for swordplay and unparalleled willpower, make her a force to be reckoned with.

As for why she became a warrior in the first place, despite being the softie she is, she's also an idealistic girl who felt that it would be a waste of her vast physical gifts, not use them to do good in the world. So she went and tried out for the local road watch... She's actually tried to quit being a warrior a few times- but her desire for peace always loses out in the end to her need to fulfil her potential for doing good, and so she continues to wield her bloody sword...

AzBobby
01-29-2007, 10:33 PM
In our real world, it's fairly unlikely for the most talented warrior on earth to be a nice person. Reason suggests that his/her terrible attitude and disregard for human life and feelings ought to feed his/her lifelong-honed skills in killing and hurting. For a good person to have martial arts skills, basic self defense, police or military expertise, etc. in our everyday world is a different matter -- it's just harder to buy it for the all-time champion warrior, gladiator, or conquering ruler against whom no equally bad person can stand.

In popular fiction, this horse sense is worked around with various formulae to make us love the characters more than we would love, say, an accurate depiction of the historical Spartacus (who according to some of the tales was the kind of brutal, sadistic person it took to lead a ragtag army in his day). The typical conquering-warrior type I've described above has believable reasons and motivations, evil or demented as they may be sometimes.

For the genuinely nice person to have phenomenal skills in killing and hurting, fantastic backstories are often applied. One of our modern cliches is the unbeatable martial arts master who grew up in an eastern monastery someplace where you learned to pray, worship peace and harmony, and kick someone's head right off their neck in half a second's time. Their unusual background not only gives them a mystical quality to help you believe in their superior skills, but it makes their conflicts entertaining. The super-nice, unfailingly courteous guy or girl who kicks major ass only when it becomes necessary can be hilarious. They're not usually believable, even temporarily for entertainment's sake, unless they come from a starkly different background from that of their attackers and frankly from anything resembling our familiar society.

I enjoy the Maggot stories by Charles Coleman Finlay. This ancient warrior type was raised from infancy by trolls, stupid brutes far larger and stronger than him. He had to develop amazing skills just to remain alive among them and their bullying. According to the narrative description, he's apparently a tall handsome strong type among humans and can fight various monsters and small armies of men, but it comes up now and then that he still remembers himself as small and ugly (hence the name they gave him, Maggot) because those ideas were drummed into him in his upbringing. The contrasts between his background and his situations in adulthood provide reasons for both his superior skills and his social shortcomings (that make us sympathetic to him). It's not hard to buy it when he fails to be a jerk to the weak and helpless, as opposed to those who challenge him (for whom he applies lifelong habits of verbal mockery, which was one of his few superior skills among trolls).

Some backstory that strikes a contrast between the characters' backgrounds seems important to make us believe in and like the super-tough softies.

JDCrayne
01-30-2007, 03:24 AM
I enjoy the Maggot stories by Charles Coleman Finlay. This ancient warrior type was raised from infancy by trolls, stupid brutes far larger and stronger than him. He had to develop amazing skills just to remain alive among them and their bullying.

That sounds like Burroughs and Tarzan all over again.

AzBobby
01-30-2007, 03:31 AM
That sounds like Burroughs and Tarzan all over again.

Yes, there's a lot of Tarzan to it. Its own era, settings, personalities, etc., but plenty of roughing it in the wilderness juxtaposed with temporary excursions into human civilizations.

glutton
01-30-2007, 05:10 AM
I have one character like that actually, who ran away from home as a child and grew up in the wilderness, reverting to a nearly feral state in order to survive. Not too nice of a person, though, that one.

Reason suggests that his/her terrible attitude and disregard for human life and feelings ought to feed his/her lifelong-honed skills in killing and hurting.

As for this, it makes a fair amount of sense, but my counter-argument with regard to the character I was talking about would be that her will to survive, despite her niceness, is even stronger than that of your average "evil" or amoral character to harm others or further his own success... Sure she is a softie, but in mortal battle she will do whatever it takes to win.

Besides, she's not really meant to be a "realistic" character, so much as a throwback to the over-the-top epic heroes of old. Her physical traits alone are blatantly superhuman, along with her willpower- this is a girl who survives, in various instances, getting stabbed through the heart, gutted, shot in the throat, shot in the head, burned all over with dragonfire, stomped on by a 100-foot dragon, hit with magical lightning (powerful magical lightning, not that wussified stuff you see in the movies sometimes, but massive bolts enough to turn her skin into a bloody crisp), falling hundreds of feet etc... not to mention her shrugging off magical domination and fear effects and death magic, throwing a 600 lb. giant in 200 lb. armor over her head, cleaving through said giant's ultra-reinforced full plate, killing multiple armored men in one blow, twisting off a monster's leg in an homage to Beowulf... when I said that she was a monster, I meant it!

How is she so outrageously buff? No one in her world knows, not even her, but rumors speak of divine providence, or magic blood...

And no, don't worry, she doesn't breeze her way through all her battles- those mortal wounds she lives through are more than enough to bring her to the edge of death, even if she does survive them in the end. And there are certainly guys who can compete with her in her world- other epic heroes who can outrun horses at a full gallop and swing dual battleaxes faster than most people can see, or tip over siege engines with their bare hands, or do wuxia-type flips in full armor, etc... not to mention actual monsters, which she certainly fights her fair share of.

And yes, as you can see I just love talking about her. :D

Zoombie
01-30-2007, 06:06 AM
Sounds like Herculese. Should be a demi-goddess. The other hero's should be demi-gods and goddesses too.

victoriastrauss
01-30-2007, 06:53 PM
That sounds like Burroughs and Tarzan all over again.It is, but it's also much more. There's some really interesting, unique world building, and Finlay uses Maggot's outsider status to comment on the more "civilized" societies Maggot encounters in a way Burroughs never did. Tarzan was strictly adventure (great adventure--those were my very fave books as a kid) but Maggot's story is a good deal deeper.

This is less apparent in the short stories than the novel, which I really recommend: The Prodigal Troll.

- Victoria

Diana Hignutt
01-30-2007, 07:00 PM
It is, but it's also much more. There's some really interesting, unique world building, and Finlay uses Maggot's outsider status to comment on the more "civilized" societies Maggot encounters in a way Burroughs never did. Tarzan was strictly adventure (great adventure--those were my very fave books as a kid) but Maggot's story is a good deal deeper.
- Victoria

I think you're doing a little disservice to Burroughs. There's a lot of thoughtful contrast between the jungle-raised apeman and his civilized relations in the first few Tarzan books. There's also a great deal of satire and depth in most of the books, but it is rather upstaged by the adventure...

zornhau
01-30-2007, 08:26 PM
In our real world, it's fairly unlikely for the most talented warrior on earth to be a nice person. Reason suggests that his/her terrible attitude and disregard for human life and feelings ought to feed his/her lifelong-honed skills in killing and hurting.
.

I disagree.

For example, William Marshal who was one of the most talented warriors on earth was death on both 2 and 4 legs. However, he was by all accounts a well liked and decent fellow. His deeds include IIRC, e.g., helping an old lady save her best matress from a burning building.

Warrior cultures usually find ways of firewalling violence.

AzBobby
01-30-2007, 09:48 PM
I like hearing stories against the grain, of course -- such as the mention of William Marshal, if reality was in sync with his legend. Saving the old lady's mattress from a burning building is a winner -- I'll take the side of a fire fighter any time. Since Marshal was a knight in a highly organized system, perhaps I could think of him in comparison to modern police and soldiers who manage their jobs without becoming monsters, some distance from the comparison to Spartacus. I lack the historical expertise to back it up, but a nagging suspicion holds onto me regarding the stories of medieval chivalry and heroic battles. Too many images of crusades against Arabs who did no wrong, trodden-down serfs in the lands of those same celebrated knights, and so on. I honestly like to believe in the exceptions. But since they run contrary to common-sense knowledge of the toughest fighters, any fictional treatment of such characters would have to do the special job of making them believable and presenting or suggesting the circumstances of life that merge to form their incongruent personality traits, even if based on true stories.

glutton
01-30-2007, 09:52 PM
What if they were a nice person before becoming a warrior, would you expect them to lose their niceness because of it? Or do you just think that the nice person, wouldn't likely become as good a warrior as the less nice ones?

AzBobby
01-30-2007, 09:55 PM
Glutton, I just re-read your description of your warrior again, and she sounds hilarious. She reminds me of the indominatable character played by Mickey Rourke in Sin City. Remember the execution scene? I won't spoil that laugh for those who've yet to see that movie. Despite the opinions I've been spouting I realize that reasonable explanations aren't always absolutely necessary and there is something to be said for the explanations between the lines, when the rendering of the character is so smooth or entertaining we just don't care about whether they make sense. Any rules or advice to support that special aspect of exceptional writing fly way over my head, though.

JDCrayne
01-31-2007, 04:37 AM
I think you're doing a little disservice to Burroughs. There's a lot of thoughtful contrast between the jungle-raised apeman and his civilized relations in the first few Tarzan books. There's also a great deal of satire and depth in most of the books, but it is rather upstaged by the adventure...

Yes, I was thinking about that when I read the previous comment. Burroughs was fond of building civilizations for his hero to explore. There was one group in a valley that developed from an outpost of the ancient Romans, and of course, there was Opar. Oh, and Tarzan and the Ant Men. It wasn't just running around and throttling stray Germans.

Vincent
01-31-2007, 04:41 AM
Funny, I had a dream about the Ant Men last night.

inanna
01-31-2007, 07:00 AM
I don't know why so many people aspire to write fantasy, I only why I do; I like it (for the record, I write Urban/Alternative Universe-type fantasy, rather than High S&S). For me - as a reader and writer - fantastic situations automatically serve to amp the drama and increase the number possible outcomes in any situation. That sort of thing sparks my imagination, and so I go where the inspiration is. Mystery/Thrillers and Romance may have a wider audience and be easier to break into, but I don't think I'd make it past Chapter One of some by-the-numbers attempt at a WIP in those genres. For now, it's Fantasy or Bust :)

Besides, I strongly suspect that magic is real, so it doesn't feel that wild to ground it in some reality of the Human Condition.

zornhau
01-31-2007, 02:02 PM
I like hearing stories against the grain, of course -- such as the mention of William Marshal, if reality was in sync with his legend. Saving the old lady's mattress from a burning building is a winner -- I'll take the side of a fire fighter any time. Since Marshal was a knight in a highly organized system, perhaps I could think of him in comparison to modern police and soldiers who manage their jobs without becoming monsters, some distance from the comparison to Spartacus. I lack the historical expertise to back it up, but a nagging suspicion holds onto me regarding the stories of medieval chivalry and heroic battles. Too many images of crusades against Arabs who did no wrong, trodden-down serfs in the lands of those same celebrated knights, and so on. I honestly like to believe in the exceptions. But since they run contrary to common-sense knowledge of the toughest fighters, any fictional treatment of such characters would have to do the special job of making them believable and presenting or suggesting the circumstances of life that merge to form their incongruent personality traits, even if based on true stories.

This probably deserves a separate thread, but I'll respond here for now:

Knights in general did their jobs without becoming monsters, because being a man of violence while functioning in polite society is 50% of what being a knight is about.

However, when they were "on the job", by our standards, they were monsters: sacking cities, harrying peasants, Crusading, whatever.

Also, the social system which supported knights was certainly hierarchical by our standards (though more reciprocal than people usually realise).

The problem is one of different moral context. Is a quasi historical character only likable if they are at heart a reformer?

Momento Mori
01-31-2007, 03:09 PM
zornhau:
Knights in general did their jobs without becoming monsters, because being a man of violence while functioning in polite society is 50% of what being a knight is about.

I was watching Terry Jones' documentary on medieval life and a lot of what he was saying was that the majority of knights were rough, barbaric SOBs who were aching for a bit of hack and slash whenever the opportunity arose. All the courtly pleasantries were confined to the royal court (where it was the fashion) and even then warrior kings like Edward I and Richard I weren't known for social niceties.

TsukiRyoko
01-31-2007, 03:22 PM
I'd say sci-fi and fantasy have an appeal that most writers go for. The idea of having the ability to create your own world something I've always seen as too satisfying to pass up, and I'm sure other writers feel the same.

As for thrillers being one of the said "most popular", I can buy into that. While most of us have too much decency to commit real-life carnage, that primal nature is still within us all. Being able to write about ripping someone to shreds or bludgering them to death with a mouse pad or spooning their eyes out onto a plate and making them eat it is highly appealing to this primal nature. :D

zornhau
01-31-2007, 03:55 PM
I was watching Terry Jones' documentary on medieval life and a lot of what he was saying was that the majority of knights were rough, barbaric SOBs who were aching for a bit of hack and slash whenever the opportunity arose. All the courtly pleasantries were confined to the royal court (where it was the fashion) and even then warrior kings like Edward I and Richard I weren't known for social niceties.

Terry Jones doesn't get it. Nor do many academics, for obvious reasons to do with lifestyle and predelictions.
A better source is http://www.amazon.com/Chivalry-Violence-Medieval-Richard-Kaeuper/dp/0198207301

Momento Mori
01-31-2007, 06:14 PM
Terry Jones doesn't get it. Nor do many academics, for obvious reasons to do with lifestyle and predelictions.

Hmm ... That's a pretty strong statement. I'm well aware of a propensity in academia to repeat dogma until it becomes regarded as established fact but can you clarify whether Kaeuper is a lone voice for this argument or is he part of a wider movement?

Higgins
01-31-2007, 06:35 PM
Hmm ... That's a pretty strong statement. I'm well aware of a propensity in academia to repeat dogma until it becomes regarded as established fact but can you clarify whether Kaeuper is a lone voice for this argument or is he part of a wider movement?


There's always Georges Duby if you want to know about knights. He was an academic and so is tainted by whatever stereotypes one happens to have about academics, but the books exist despite the stereotypes that so richly describe the evil inherent in academics:


http://www.powells.com/biblio?PID=27627&cgi=product&isbn=039475154x


http://www.press.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/hfs.cgi/00/12468.ctl


http://www.powells.com/cgi-bin/biblio?inkey=1-9780674400016-4


http://www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/1399.html

zornhau
01-31-2007, 08:19 PM
Hmm ... That's a pretty strong statement. I'm well aware of a propensity in academia to repeat dogma until it becomes regarded as established fact but can you clarify whether Kaeuper is a lone voice for this argument or is he part of a wider movement?

No no! I didn't mean they were dogmatic!

I just meant that academics are mostly liberal book-loving intellectuals. They just don't indentify with the warrior mentality, e.g. why a Norman would rather be lord of an embattled mound of earth in a Welsh valley, than hang out at his elder brother's castle in luxury. Worse, many of them tend to see the past through the eyes of modern ideologies, such as Marxism or Feminism.

And, they miss the good stuff: bravery, hardiness, ingenuity, adaptability, prowess...

Kaeuper looks at chivalry as a functional way of life and mentality in its own right, rather than as sham or a failed attempt to live up to standards as set out in the various reforming books of the time. He doesn't sanitise or idealise - he shows us that much of the ugly stuff was consistent with chivalry. But he does reveal how knights did live up to their real ideals. As for him being a lone voice - I doubt it, given the publisher and the series. His theories certainly fit the primary sources I've read.

Higgins
01-31-2007, 09:30 PM
No no! I didn't mean they were dogmatic!

I just meant that academics are mostly liberal book-loving intellectuals. They just don't indentify with the warrior mentality, e.g. why a Norman would rather be lord of an embattled mound of earth in a Welsh valley, than hang out at his elder brother's castle in luxury. Worse, many of them tend to see the past through the eyes of modern ideologies, such as Marxism or Feminism.



Maybe some academics are Welsh and not impressed with the Norman habit of digging defensive mounds in Welsh valleys?

Momento Mori
02-01-2007, 02:37 AM
zornhau:
No no! I didn't mean they were dogmatic!

I just meant that academics are mostly liberal book-loving intellectuals.

Ah! Sorry, my mistake!


Maybe some academics are Welsh and not impressed with the Norman habit of digging defensive mounds in Welsh valleys?

But ... the Welsh have got such nice valleys for putting a defensive mound in. They've got nice views and good digging soil ... And sheep. ;)

sunbeam
02-01-2007, 06:27 AM
Going back to the question in the title, I personally have no interest in writing non-fantasy.

Occasionally I read non-fiction. I might read a historical novel. That's about it. I used to read science fiction, but it doesn't interest me anymore.

The real world just seems utterly boring to me. Who would want to live there if they had a choice, let alone read about it when you are forced to live it.

Wal-mart. Malls. Interstates. Lawyers. Boring sex. Modern day vampires. Evangelists. Megachurches. More boring sex. Greying old people with ponytails. The internet. Flame wars. Unix. OSX. On and on.

The future. Uhhhh, whatever.

Can you get excited about any of this? I can't.

Zoombie
02-01-2007, 10:38 AM
Bah! Humbug! The world is as dull as you make it. We're living on the forefront of the FUTURE, for crying out loud. Robots, spaceships, lasers, cryogenics, biological engineering! All of these fields are being explored (though spaceships and cryogenics are going slower than I'd like) and the world is getting even more interesting every day!

War, intrigue, political, social and religious upheaval. Rebellion, conspiracy's, crime. These make up great stories to read, and they're happening AROUND you. How is that BORING! It's just because you're letting the minor obstructions and annoyances clutter up your mind. The world is a exciting, deadly, dangerous place, filled with good, bad and gray people all competing, fighting, shoving, loving, talking, swearing and generally being human.

What could be more exciting than that?



Elves. Elves and catgirls. But that's just my personal fetish, ignore it.

ink wench
02-01-2007, 05:52 PM
The real world just seems utterly boring to me. Who would want to live there if they had a choice, let alone read about it when you are forced to live it.

Wal-mart. Malls. Interstates. Lawyers. Boring sex. Modern day vampires. Evangelists. Megachurches. More boring sex. Greying old people with ponytails. The internet. Flame wars. Unix. OSX. On and on.

The future. Uhhhh, whatever.

Can you get excited about any of this? I can't.

Heheheh. The more I read the news, the more depressed I become about the state of this world. So yeah, I can relate. Writing fantasy allows me to create brand new, horrible worlds for other people. Maybe it's the whole 'misery loves company thing'? Or maybe I just get to temporarily feel like a god. :D And that keeps from me getting too depressed.

Ashtal
02-01-2007, 07:43 PM
According to a recent newspaper article I read, mystery and thrillers are the biggest selling genres. But I consistently see more people reading this forum than those for the other genres. In NaNoWriMo, the SciFi/Fantasy statistics were far and away the highest, which tells me that there were more writers working in speculative fiction than any other genre.

Why do you think this is? What draws so many writers to this genre?

There were a lot of young folks trying out NaNoWriMo, and my interpretation is that we are instead seeing a younger generation who are tuned into science fiction and fantasy because the popularity those genres have in TV, movies, American comics, Japanese manga and video games has grown tremendously in the last 10 years. IMO, of course.

Maybe we're on the cusp of a change in reader demographics, and its trickling down to those who want to write as well?

As for me, I'm cruising to my mid-30s and have loved fantasy and science fiction since I was a little kid. I don't read chick-lit, or romances, though a good historical or horror novel is open for discussion. SF is what I read, live and breathe, and it's what I want to write, too.

Dave.C.Robinson
02-06-2007, 10:22 PM
I don't pretend to have all the answers, but I do have opinions.

There seems to be a closer connection between writers and readers in SFF than in other genres, and it's a connection where the writers are actively helping new writers break in. I also think that the "geek factor" of the internet does play a part and so SFF writers are disproportionately represented on any internet forum.

However those are just my opinions.

As for me I write the genres because that's what I really enjoy. I don't have the same love for other genres, not enough to sink myself into one long enough to write a novel.

Judg
02-06-2007, 10:37 PM
There were a lot of young folks trying out NaNoWriMo, and my interpretation is that we are instead seeing a younger generation who are tuned into science fiction and fantasy because the popularity those genres have in TV, movies, American comics, Japanese manga and video games has grown tremendously in the last 10 years. IMO, of course.

Maybe we're on the cusp of a change in reader demographics, and its trickling down to those who want to write as well?

As for me, I'm cruising to my mid-30s and have loved fantasy and science fiction since I was a little kid. I don't read chick-lit, or romances, though a good historical or horror novel is open for discussion. SF is what I read, live and breathe, and it's what I want to write, too.
Ashtal, I hope you're on to something here. If it's a genre destined to become more popular, that can only be good, right? At least for us...

I've found all the different opinions very interesting and I think you are all probably right to some extent. Some of these things really hadn't occurred to me. I vote for e) all of the above. And the below...

Zoombie
02-09-2007, 03:10 AM
Being a sci-fi writer, I always thought that the reason more people write sci-fi on this board than other genera was because sci-fi is just better than any other genera :P

But I suppose it's because sci-fi writers like...well...technology. We're going to be writing about it a whole lot. Might as well use it a whole lot. Or at least that's how I see's it.

HorrorWriter
02-12-2007, 11:08 PM
According to a recent newspaper article I read, mystery and thrillers are the biggest selling genres. But I consistently see more people reading this forum than those for the other genres. In NaNoWriMo, the SciFi/Fantasy statistics were far and away the highest, which tells me that there were more writers working in speculative fiction than any other genre.

Why do you think this is? What draws so many writers to this genre?

Hey Judg,
I don't know if anyone else has asked this already, but where exactly did you read the article? Most statistics are not accurate; hopefully the person who wrote the article was affiliated with the NY Best Sellers List or some other precise source. In any case, I write mostly horror, fantasy, and very little science fiction. For me, the world is not how it should be, and through fantasy and science fiction, we as writers, can create our own worlds, in whatever facet we choose. Just my two cents...:D

Judg
02-13-2007, 02:42 AM
The newspaper was the Ottawa Citizen, and it was referring to book sales in Canada. I didn't save it, I'm afraid, and I don't remember where they got their figures from. In any event, it is certain that speculative fiction is not the biggest selling genre. It appears that writers seem to disproportionately drawn to writing it, although as several people have pointed out, it may just mean that they make themselves more obvious online. Still I think it's a fairly safe conclusion that there are more people writing it than would be justified by the sales. People have chimed in with all sorts of interesting reasons why this might be so, which seem to me not to be mutually exclusive. It's been fun speculating.

speculative
02-25-2007, 12:59 AM
It depends what spectrum of writing you are taking into account. If you take into account all types of non-fiction as well as fiction... Well, people who like to write but like to do research rather than use their imagination are more likely to write non-fiction. People who like to write who would rather imagine than do research write fiction. Within fiction, there is a range of imagination. SF/F is usually wholly made up, unless you are talking Ellison's definition of speculative fiction which is usually based on reality that is warped around the writer's imagination.

So, it doesn't seem a coincidence to me that in an imaginative field many writers choose to work in a genre that requires a great deal of imagination.

Nakhlasmoke
02-25-2007, 04:56 PM
...

So, it doesn't seem a coincidence to me that in an imaginative field many writers choose to work in a genre that requires a great deal of imagination.

Er, and a great deal of research. I write fantasy and at least half my time is spent researching. Where do people get the idea that writing fantasy means not having to research?

CelticRose
02-26-2007, 04:04 AM
I didn't choose fantasy; it chose me. It is my reality & I've never thought writing it was particularly easy. To create a world that is internally consistent & abides by it's rules is madly difficult. I also enjoy researching obscure subjects & perhaps that is some of its appeal? Some of us just are attracted to the extremely weird/unusual. It is also why so much of this genre drives me crazy. I can't abide the idea that 'anything goes' just because it's fantasy. That is so not true if one wants to write really well.