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What are your aesthetic or concept preferences for novels?

Being a human and being a person are not the same thing. Just because another species thinks similarly to us does not mean the're 'humanized.' If anything, we're 'elfized'!
Fine. Unless the Vikings were correct, elves don't exist. But what about aliens? Aliens exist, and humans sure as heck didn't create them!

Also, there is a small chance that elves really did exist, to some degree.


toujours gai, archie
SF provides richer fodder for this topic. There have been some excellent SF stories with an alien viewpoint. But, at least for me, the more successfully alien, the less engaging was the story. Truly alien means I have no point of reference. Honor, love, treachery, hatred, and so on are meaningless terms, or are rendered so differently that they sound nonsensical, not "true."

I'm fine with non-human characters, but their ethics and emotions should fall fairly close to human, or else their triumphs and failures will mean little to nothing for this reader. At the same time, their physical appearance, their social structures, their religion and politics, their recreations and occupations, these can all vary pretty wildly. They do, in fact, provde the richest ground for the fantasy writer to explore. Tie some aspect over to human emotion, and things get really interesting. Presume, for example, an orc society or a dwarf society. Structure it differently, give it different dynamics. Then ask the question, what does betrayal look like? What does loyalty mean? Now we're talkin'.

As a postscript to my own post, one of the ethics that could really use some exploration is: what would chivalry mean to elves or dwarves or gnomes or trolls? And how might the ethic of one culture clash with another?
SF provides richer fodder for this topic. There have been some excellent SF stories with an alien viewpoint. But, at least for me, the more successfully alien, the less engaging was the story. Truly alien means I have no point of reference. Honor, love, treachery, hatred, and so on are meaningless terms, or are rendered so differently that they sound nonsensical, not "true."
Interesting point, and this is a little bit of an obsession with me - to write an alien race profoundly different from our own but also tell an engaging story. I've tried to do that in my next two books, coming out in 2021 and 22.

Mind you, if you imagine a race that has achieved interstellar travel there are certain aspects of their culture that are guessable. They must have some form of co-operative culture, science, personal relationships, superego values and obsessions, economic values and goals etc


I neither care much for most of urban fantasy (you got magic and mythological creatures, but your characters still live in a capitalist society overall), science fiction nor for talking animals as main characters, I too need a humanoid as main characters, nor for most of ... uhm, how do I put this. Fantasy that is mainly directed to a straight male audience.
But every of these subgenres has exceptions.

I love the "classical" fantasy tho and I'm surprised people make the association of DnD = medieval. Maybe it depends on our homebrew worlds, but to me it's more renaissance to steampunk / fictional victorian era. There are lot of non-medieval elements and inventions.

And I love fae and elves, too bad most of it is smut. ^^'
Nothing against smut, but I dislike it when the the whole romance and love interest are objectified.

I also will always love dragons and oh boi, Fourth Wing tricked me into reading these high schoom drama with a sidedish of dragons.
In my old age I've really started to embrace action tropes, like I don't care if some of them are a bit trite, as long as you feed me big explosions and the cheesy one-liners are fresh.

Romance is fine as a side plot, but I don't like reading descriptions of other people having sex.
Gushing, throbbing and quivering are words that make Jack put books down.

Obsessed with mastermind stories, like at the end of the book when all the little things that happened turned out to have been carefully coordinated by an unexpected character for unexpected reasons.

I don't mind violence at all, but hate body horror.
For an example, at some point it seemed like the show Criminal Minds switched from being about "catching really bad guys" to "how evil, nauseating and gratuitous can we make the murders."
That's what I mean; I don't mind violence in a story, prefer it actually, but that isn't the same as "more violence = more better."

Not a huge fan of hard magic. Feels a lot like making magic non-magical to me.

I read alot of classics as a kid and still like big words well used and intelligent dialogue.
For instance I'm currently devouring Patrick O'Brians Jack Aubrey series (Master & Commander), adoring it and wondering where it's been all my life.

Getting pretty worn out on epic fantasy, tbh. I wish novellas would make a comeback. Give me like a fantasy detective solving small town crimes in a medieval setting or something.
I'll give pretty much anything an honest shot but some definitive ways to garner my interest are:

Wizards, sorcerers, mages, magisters, etc etc. I am a BIG sucker for magic and those who cast it on any and all levels. While I do love the aesthetics of the classic wizard, I love when stories get a bit weirder with what defines such a thing and allow for magic being this broader varied thing that the characters put differing spins on, playing with what foundational rules are in place. Magic being treated as a massive, varied craft will always hook me.

I do have a bit of a horror bias, so fantasy that touches on those kind of elements in its setting and story intrigue me a fair bit. Not necessarily grimdark, I feel that comes with certain connotations that don't match up to what I mean, but fantasies that acknowledge and explore how unsettling, uncanny, or disturbing things can be for the standard person living in that world or at the very least those things that the characters encounter on their journey. Like, our own world's ecology is full of fascinatingly weird and often disturbing fauna and flora even though it's just... nature! I imagine living in a world where dragons truly did exist as these massive destructive creatures, they would be horrifying in their own right even though that would just be the nature of that given world. When works include little bits and bobs regarding this kind of thing it generally makes me more appreciative of it lol

Speaking of- DRAGONS! Love me them big 'ol lizards and seeing what people bring to the table for them.

Not necessarily isolated to fantasy or the main character of any given story, but I love when a character goes through a descent into madness. Chasing godhood or immortality, forbidden magic, uprooting their whole life for a cause that will only ruin them-- it utterly fascinates me basically every time I come across it.

If I had to pick a version of fantasy so to speak, I think I ultimately prefer more original takes of fantasy races, settings, magic, so on so forth rather than more tradional variations. Dwarves, elves, and all the guys inbetween will have a special place in my heart but people building up and kicking around these other ideas hits different!
I have a certain affection for what's commonly referred to as "gunpowder fantasy",though that's probably just because I'm a Baroque Cycle fangirl. I also have an affinity for stories that feature some sort of Faustus-esque crazed alchemyst in any capacity....and on a slightly similar note Paradise Lost derivitaves are almost always a good time.