Humorous Fantasy?

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oakbark

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A funny reply I got on a supposedly serious 3-sentence wip made me wonder about humor in fantasy.

I've read a lot of Jack Vance and he often had a pretty light and humorous tone without making his stories comedic.

Anyone published a funny fantasy?

I can't see a very big market for it but if you have, share how it did.
 

Torgo

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Terry Pratchett and Piers Anthony (with the Xanth books) both sold a lot of copies. Douglas Adams with the Dirk Gently books, too. Anthony Boucher; RA Lafferty; Robert Anton Wilson, sort of; and of course Vance, the Master.
 

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The Dresden Files books, while you wouldn't call them 'comic fantasy', do often rely on their winning, joky tone.
 

sciencewarrior

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I apologize in advance for the platitude, but I believe there will always be a market for good fantasy books. I don't think you should force yourself to be funny, because the end result is more likely to induce cringing than laughter, but if witty prose and well-timed jokes come naturally to you, then you should write to your strengths.
 

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A funny reply I got on a supposedly serious 3-sentence wip made me wonder about humor in fantasy.

I've read a lot of Jack Vance and he often had a pretty light and humorous tone without making his stories comedic.

Anyone published a funny fantasy?

I can't see a very big market for it but if you have, share how it did.

I think good comedy is always a good thing, especially in the realm of fantasy where being overly-serious is a mysterious disease. Vance is a good example of how to do it -- even in the Demon Princes series there are a lot of very funny things.

Zelazny and Banks (Sci-Fi as fantasy) are also pretty funny pretty often.

On the other hand, I often am not all that amused by stuff that sets out to be one funny thing after another. I'm not sure why. Perhaps its the Devils Candy effect (too much of a good thing that you want just gets painful?).
 

Randy Lee

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I enjoyed Craig Shaw Gardner because his novels work both as comedy and as fantasy.

There were amusing parts of Terry Brooks' magic kingdom books, but he has a way of reeling you in with the amusing parts and then making your think. I liked that too. Or maybe they weren't really amusing. Maybe I just thought they were.
 

benbenberi

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There was a little boom in "funny fantasy" back in the 90s - Craig Shaw Gardner and Esther Friesner come to mind, & there were a number of others, + a lot of anthologies of varying quality. After the boom, the bust. I don't think that sort of thing has much of a commercial profile these days, but I could be wrong. Or it could come back.
 

rwm4768

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I really hope humorous fantasy becomes popular again. Well, there's Terry Pratchett, but he might be an exception. I have a humorous fantasy idea that I did for NaNo a couple of years ago. It was really fun but needs some work. I intend to return to it someday.
 

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Also: Jim C. Hines, Stephen Brust, John Scalzi, and John Moore - especially Moore. They may not be strictly "humorous fantasy", as there's generally more to the plot than the joke, but all are written with a wink and a smile.

In YA, there's Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl series, Patricia Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles, Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus series... just off the top of my head.

And I see plenty of parodies go through the library on any given workday. (If you get a chance, glance through the cookbook parody 50 Shades of Chicken.)

IMHO, the trick is to have a little more to the story than just a series of jokes and one-liners. Even in a comedy, people want to care about the characters, and the plot needs some semblance of integrity, as does the world.
 
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Lissibith

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No love for Robert Asprin? Both the Phule books and the MYTH Inc books (at least at the start of each series, they both went downhill after a few books imo) remain among my favorite fantasy books of all time.
 

Wilde_at_heart

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Terry Pratchett and Piers Anthony (with the Xanth books) both sold a lot of copies. Douglas Adams with the Dirk Gently books, too. Anthony Boucher; RA Lafferty; Robert Anton Wilson, sort of; and of course Vance, the Master.

The Holistic Detective Agency is a must-read. Wasn't so crazy about the second one. And of course, Pratchett... Good Omens, which he wrote with Neil Gaiman is a good one as well.

I liked the Illuminatus! Trilogy by RAA, though I'd have liked it better if I hadn't read it right after Eco's Foucault's Pendulum where the humour was a lot more subtle, to put it mildly. Both are good for anyone with a 'conspiracy' bent.
 
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Brightdreamer

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No love for Robert Asprin? Both the Phule books and the MYTH Inc books (at least at the start of each series, they both went downhill after a few books imo) remain among my favorite fantasy books of all time.

Ages ago, I read a graphic novel version of the first MYTH book - loved it, but never got to read the book itself. Later, I read Dragon's Wild, the first of his most recent (and last, RIP) series. I'm having a very hard time convincing myself to pick up anything with his name on it, after that...
 

Debeucci

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Also: Jim C. Hines, Stephen Brust, John Scalzi, and John Moore - especially Moore. They may not be strictly "humorous fantasy", as there's generally more to the plot than the joke, but all are written with a wink and a smile.

In YA, there's Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl series, Patricia Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles, Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus series... just off the top of my head.

And I see plenty of parodies go through the library on any given workday. (If you get a chance, glance through the cookbook parody 50 Shades of Chicken.)

IMHO, the trick is to have a little more to the story than just a series of jokes and one-liners. Even in a comedy, people want to care about the characters, and the plot needs some semblance of integrity, as does the world.

Agreed. No need to go back 20-30 years to dig up quality authors of humorous SFF. Lots still alive and producing great works.
 

Lissibith

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Ages ago, I read a graphic novel version of the first MYTH book - loved it, but never got to read the book itself. Later, I read Dragon's Wild, the first of his most recent (and last, RIP) series. I'm having a very hard time convincing myself to pick up anything with his name on it, after that...
*makes a note not to ever pick that one up*

Though I tend to stick to his pre-2000 work. Phule's Company is an amazing book with some really vibrant and fun characters, and Phule's Paradise was nearly on par. After that in the series though... ehh...
 

Roxxsmom

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Seems like there was a run on light, humorous fantasy and SF in the 80s and early 90s. Not sure where that went. Didn't realize that Robert Asprin had died. According to Wikipedia, he was found with a Terry Pratchett novel next to him.

So humor KILLS!

Seriously, this is very sad. Douglas Adams passed prematurely too, and it's my understanding that Pratchett is not well. And Piers Anthony sort of went, well, nuff said, but his stuff stopped being funny to a lot of people. Mary Gentle has written some humorous stuff, but she's no spring chicken either.

So where's the younger generation of funny fantasy and SF writers? There's Ted's book, of course. Definitely worth a read. There must be more. It seems odd that humor would have just been a fad peculiar to the 80s.

I envy people who can do humor well. My readers tell me that there is humor in my novel, but it would be nice to be able to think, "we need a joke here to lighten the tone a bit," and to be able to come up with one consciously and have it work.
 
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DarkWriter223

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I don't normally read comedic fantasy but when I do I tend to read Pratchett.
 

waylander

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The works of Zack Pike starting with Orconomics
 

Ashigara

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If we stretch the definition of fantasy to include Isekai, a genre in anime where a character is reborn from our world into in a fantasy world, I'd include Konosuba as a humorous fantasy. A fantasy version of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.