Pop culture in an epic fantasy?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Dragonie, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. Dragonie

    Dragonie Journeyman

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    Do you think these things ever go well together? I'm sure I've read at least a few books that've tried to incorporate some pop culture references into their epic fantasies, and I've always thought it was a bit weird. How would you do it so that it didn't come off as weird? Is it possible?
     
  2. sashamerideth

    sashamerideth Scribal Lord

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    If it were an epic fantasy set in the modern real world then it may work, otherwise I think it is a bad idea.
     
  3. Johnny Cosmo

    Johnny Cosmo Grandmaster

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    Not my cup of tea, but I might enjoy it if it's comical.
     
  4. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator

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    I avoid pop culture references at all costs, because it might be funny now, but ten years down the line it'll really date it, unless you're so subtle with it that people barely notice it in the first place, or you're using it to establish a specific date at which the story takes place, which is important to the plot.
     
  5. Bass_Thunder37

    Bass_Thunder37 Journeyman

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    Pop culture in high fantasy can be very good if used correctly, sparingly, and not just thrown in to be thrown in. But you also have to make sure that A) Most of your target audience will understand it, or B) They won't freak out about not understanding it.
    Example:
    (This is a highly shortened version of the scene. There would be much more description of Diamonvale. But I just wanna get the example up)
    "Oh thank Gravton!" Victor dropped his bags and shouted. "We've finally made it to Diamonvale!" He ran his hand over the diamond walls of the city.
    "Umm..." His face filled with curiosity. "Where is the gate? No doors, no windows... How the Hell are we supposed to get in?!" Ronin wagged his finger at Victor.
    "Hmph. One does not simply walk into Diamonvale."

    See? It's a tasteful Lord of the Rings reference that fits into context, most people who like fantasy would probably atleast know the reference, and those who don't know it wouldn't lose anything from the experience, because it's a minor sentence, just thrown in as a nod to LOTR fans.
     
  6. UnionJane

    UnionJane Journeyman

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    One approach that comes to mind is that you could create your own pop culture. Whenever a group of people live and thrive near other people, culture is created. What kind of culture would a fantasy in a epic (alternative history?) fantasy create? Essentially, what is "popular", why is it that way and how does it work? I think it would be fun and enriching to see how popular culture would function in a fantasy setting, although I advise against making allusions or paying homage to pop culture facets that actually exist today. As Bass_Thunder37 pointed out, it can be done tastefully, but realize it has to serve some sort of purpose in the narrative. Otherwise, why are you distracting your readers from what's at hand in your story?
     
  7. EParadise

    EParadise Journeyman

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    With the right setting it could work but as stated before, it goes in and out of style so quickly. You never know without testing the waters with different situations.
     
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