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Medieval and steampunk overused?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by KingHaek, Jan 25, 2016.

  1. KingHaek

    KingHaek Dreamer

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    Hi!

    So as many people have noticed, around 90% of fantasy is based on medieval times. The rest are either steampunk-ish or trying to be modern. I haven't really seen any good novels with any other type of world than those.
    I'm kinda new here, so has there been any good inventions other than those? I personally think that around 1600-1700's where the colonization of America began, the times were way more modern than medieval. Has anyone really written anything similar to those times? I haven't seen anything.

    So when creating new stories (an idea) I think new fields should be explored by changing the "world-type" and age.
    What do you guys think? Which times would be the best for fantasy, other than medieval?
     
  2. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Chronicles of Ancient Darkness (can't remember the author) is a good series based well before the medieval era; I'm tempted to say Stone Age, but it's been a while since I actually read the books.

    EDIT: Also, the Discworld series seems to take place before and up to the Industrial Revolution (at least in Ankh-Morpork). Several of the books revolve around inventions like the printing press, paper money and trains, which are a lot better than they sound.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2016
  3. Miskatonic

    Miskatonic Auror

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    A lot of Sci-Fi also takes place in the future. :D

    It's only overused if you are telling the same story as everyone else.
     
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  4. Drakevarg

    Drakevarg Troubadour

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    I try, for the most part, to avoid medieval stasis (the phenomena in many fantasy settings to remain at roughly the same stage technologically for thousands of years) by having a timeline to work with. So if I wish I can set my story anywhere between Stone Age and early Industrial Revolution (roughly speaking) within the same setting without it contradicting itself.

    That said, I think the call to bygone eras is part of the escapism of fantasy. Modern comforts are simply too familiar for the audience and there's a decided sense of adventure in being thrown from that. Of course, it backfires when everybody sets their story in roughly the same era simply out of genre convention, which can either speak to a lack of originality or a desire to use the mild paradox of a familiar-yet-fantastical scenario to explore new ideas, depending on the author. A similar phenomena can be seen in the flood of zombie fiction out there.

    And while personally I'm beyond sick to death of zombie stories, I won't deny that sometimes it works. The same applies to medieval fantasy. It's not about being original, it's about being interesting. Originality is overrated.
     
  5. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    I wonder if anyone's tried to write a zombie story set in the medieval era... It'd be easy to do with a necromancer involved!
     
  6. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    *Everything* is overused, yet we don't stop writing, do we? Even complaining about things being overused is overused.

    Other eras? There's a ton of fantasy set in ancient Rome or Greece or Egypt. A bunch more in Renaissance times. Then there's Naomi Novik and her Napoleonic dragons. Scads more set in China or Japan.

    IOW, yes, there are lots. I long for Amazon and other entities to categorize fantasy by setting and era rather than--or, at least in addition to--categories by theme.
     
  7. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

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    I tend to gravitate towards sci-fantasy. I'm also into Chinese and Indian media so Asian-based settings are nothing new to me.
    And, of course, I'd say modern day fantasy and magical realism are way more common than steampunk.

    What I'm getting at is that fantasy isn't nearly as same-y as you think. You just have to dig deeper. Avoid the Tolkien-lite, high fantasy sub genre and eventually, you won't even notice it.
     
  8. Incanus

    Incanus Archmage

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    I'm with Skip here. I don't believe there is any type of setting, or even a catagory of setting, that is overused. The idea is to make it your own. By the time you've added in a fresh cast of characters, a theme, a twist on magic or on monsters, an unusual combination of plot bits, a prose style, or any number of other custom details, you should have something relatively 'original'.

    How about asking: what is an under-used setting? Are there any? I can't think of one off the top of my head.
     
  9. Drakevarg

    Drakevarg Troubadour

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    Depends on what you mean by "underused." Certainly I'd like to see, say, South American mythology or voodoo-type stuff used more, but at the same time I can think of a handful of examples that make use of those themes at least in passing.
     
  10. Miskatonic

    Miskatonic Auror

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    Ireth -

    I have zombies that are created through an incubation type process that takes place in pods that are submerged beneath the water of this swamp. :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2016
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  11. Incanus

    Incanus Archmage

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    Nothing very specific, really. The point was to show that 'overused' and 'underused' settings are not actually that helpful in trying to decide what kind of story to develop. At least not for me.
     
  12. KingHaek

    KingHaek Dreamer

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    I just realized that there aren't that many fantasy stories based on Africa/Australia-like worlds. In a nutshell, a medieval-zombie-adventure in Africa would be pretty darn cool.
     
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  13. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    I've talked to people who say they wish there was more medieval fantasy, so it really depends on your point of view.
     
  14. Promise of Blood is set with colonial era tech. Alloy of Law, Shadows of Self and Bands of Mourning are all wild Wild West era. But I'm with you there is a stigma of medieval fantasy. I have three separate WIPs I'm working on. One is far future fantasy, another is I would say near Renaissance, and the last is roaring twenties.
     
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  15. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

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    Roaring twenties would be awesome!
     
  16. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    This sounds like the name of a UK punk rock band.
     
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