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Something other than kings and assassins?

Discussion in 'Novels & Stories' started by Yora, Oct 31, 2019.

  1. Yora

    Yora Inkling

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    No, I haven't.
    I didn't list it as a criterion, but portal fantasy isn't my thing.
     
  2. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Portals are somewhat secondary. True, they get Lyra to different worlds, but that's about all. It's just a means of placing Lyra in radically different environments. I would suggest you give the first book a try and judge for yourself.
     
  3. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    - Not about thieves or assassins.
    I already weighed in on this one.

    - Not about political conspiracies.
    Most are ham-handed. But I confess even when done well I'm getting a bit tired of it. I'm reading The Dragon's Path by Dan Abrahams. The writing is very good, but I find myself skimming through all the political maneuvering.

    - Not grimdark.
    Totally. It's the literary equivalent of the splatter movie. Maybe fun every once in a while, but it has worn out its welcome with me. Sort of like I really loved the move Alien and it genuinely scared me (saw it in first release; thought I was going to see a science fiction movie). Now, such movies are little more than a monster parade.

    - Not set in a world that feels like 17th century or later.
    Of course I'm going to agree with this. I'm a medievalist!

    - Does not treat magic as a science and technology.
    I think I know what you mean. All rules and explanations with little sense of wonder. Most specifically, little sense of wonder from the characters themselves. The rules-based stuff is okay, it just doesn't get me excited.

    - Does not require a wheelbarrow to haul around.
    Yup. Give me the lean storytelling of yore. I'm not necessarily talking about short sentences, an absence of adjectives (which somehow sounds like the title of a mystery novel), or sparseness of emotions. After all, I loved just about everything Ray Bradbury wrote. But he never wrote a doorstop. He knew how to get off stage. Most modern authors would turn something like The Last Unicorn into a trilogy. With spinoffs!

    And no, there aren't many books being published nowadays that can meet all these criteria. Some of it's marketplace and some of it's just another manifestation of Sturgeon's Law.
     
  4. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    I think economic reality sets in these days, at least far as the series goes. Doorstops? Publishers don’t want them unless you’ve a proven record or you a one-in-100000 they feel confident they can make work and it’s the right genre. Heck, lots of indies have rapid release of “books” that are actually just one book broken into parts to make it look like more. I rapid released 4-5 books with Trail of Pyres in 1 day, with it being over 200k words, LOL.
     
  5. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Did that piecemeal release work well?
     
  6. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    I didn’t do it, I released ToP as a whole, but it’s the equivalent of 4-5 books as i’ve seen some others do. There was a sci-fi indie series I spotted a while back, and it had great reviews and hundreds of them...hundreds of 5 stars! And I was in the mood for a light sci-fi so I bought it. I won't get into how terrible it was, mind you, but the point was that book one just ended with no logical point of exit in the story, no cliffhanger, no nothing... just clunk! End of book 1, go buy #2. So, it was on KU, I downloaded it and flipped to the end.. clunk! Pretty obvious the writer had one big book and just chopped it into bits for a “rapid release”. And hell, by the number of reviews and ranking, somebody had to be reading it, LOL. So, one day when bored I dug around through KU and found what looked to be quite a few of these series. In essence, it was a bunch of $2.99 books to get the 70% royalties, but if you bought three books that might be half the size of Trail of Pyres (for example) you would’ve spent just as much. Although, I’m guessing it was a lot of KU reading that really made it work. My guess is very few people would’ve spent the $9.99 on one book, but some at least, spent the 2.99 three to four times. Although, I think it was a 6 book series.
     
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  7. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Thanks. I misread the post.
     
  8. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    The other historical example I can think of would be the 'thuggee', the followers of Kali, a South Asian goddess with a complex history. They joined groups of travelers, strangled a couple, and buried the bodies. British pretty much wiped them out.

    Maybe Ninja as well, if you go for the oriental thing. Yakuza might count as a thieves guild of sorts...maybe...

    Thieves guild, not really. Gangs, yes, possibly including those charged with 'making an example' of the gangs enemies.
     
  9. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    Weirdly, I think both of my series - "Labyrinth' and 'Empire' qualify on most counts. Lessee...

    None of the principle characters is a thief or an assassin (though Rebecca in 'Empire' comes close to the former, I suppose). Both exist, but in a background sort of way.

    Political Conspiracies - They drives the action in 'Labyrinth,' but as a strong background thing, not central. Empire...book II ('Capital') is chock full of politics and conspiracies, which are mostly a distraction from what's *really* going on. Politics plays into the rest, but not front and center.

    Grimdark - I don't care much for Grimdark protagonists. The MC in 'Labyrinth: Journal' might qualify in a sideways sort of way. I do have Lovecraftian abominations and there are moments of horror, along with some serious weirdness.

    Not set in a world that feels 17th century or later - borderline here. Bicycles. Hot air balloons. Blasting powder, though guns haven't been invented yet - mostly grenades (mounted on crossbow bolts in 'Labyrinth: Seed) and bombs delivered via catapult. Substantial social turmoil.

    Does not treat magic as a science and technology - by which I assume you mean magic is so commonplace people use it for everything a technological society like ours does. Magic in my worlds is psionic ability, grafted into select human bloodlines by the now mostly extinct ancient aliens (who employed a technology based in part on psi). Compared with most other fantasy series, the wizards in my worlds are...wimpy. Some do employ trivial 'household' spells, but those are far from commonplace.

    Does not require a wheelbarrow to haul around: still doing rewrites on the last books of the Empire series. Others typically check in at around 60K, with a couple in the 85-90K range.
     
  10. Ned Marcus

    Ned Marcus Troubadour

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    Which fantasies have people pulling wheelbarrows? I think I must be missing something here. Perhaps some metaphorical meaning.
     
  11. Yora

    Yora Inkling

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    I mean twelve volumes of 800 pages each.
     
  12. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    It's a reference to books or series so long you have to push them around in a wheelbarrow. And fantasy books do get pretty long for a lot of people.
     
  13. Ned Marcus

    Ned Marcus Troubadour

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    LOL! I completely missed that one. WoT comes to mind.
     
  14. Magicat

    Magicat Scribe

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    I have just picked up this thread. I too have trouble with most of the points you make Yora, especially grim dark and what I believe is called "steampunk". I listen to books on Audible as well as read on Kindle, and have discovered several good fantasy writers whose work meets most of your criteria, except they are set in contemporary time, eg Ban Aaronovitch (Rivers of London series); Shanna Swendson (Enchanted Inc series); Kevin Hearne (Iron Druid chronicles). Witches seem to have been fashionable in the last couple of years, I enjoyed Nora Roberts The Cousins O'Dwyer trilogy and Debora Geary's Modern Witch series. For books with just a touch of magic, you might like to look at Natasha Pulley's stand-alone books. If you can bear a Victorian setting, have a look at Genevieve Colman's The Invisible Library, and C J Archer's Glasswork and Steele series.
    James Maxwell's Shifting Tides books may fall foul of your "wheelbarrow" criterion, on Audible they are about 13 hours long and riveting listening with a lot of characters.
    I think it all depends on your definition of fantasy, and what "weight" of book you like to read. All of the books I've mentioned have a magical element, in that some of the characters in all have some magical gifts, and things definitely not normal go on throughout. All are also very easy reading/listening, some definitely amusing.

    I hope this helps. I have been struggling to find new authors/books for about a year now, especially ones that are not dark/have a damaged MC/seem to be a variation of GoT. I'm going to follow up some of the suggestions made by others, so thank you for raising this thread.
     
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