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taem

does ASOIAF really belong in the fantasy genre?

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You ask where is the fantasy...I suppose it could be hiding in the crevice between the dragons and zombies just under the decade long seasons and to the left of the house of the undying, if you reach the shadow babies you've gone too far, you'll need to merge right when you see a warg arguing with a centuries old greenseer. It's probably around there somewhere.

Honestly, I don't get it. Because it's more gritty, less happy, and because they use military tactics and terms it's not fantasy? Essentially you're saying that because it doesn't confirm to your stereotypes of what fantasy should be, that it's not fantasy?

Also based on =/= is. The Scottish border doesn't have a magical wall that keeps out zombies and that's imbued with magic. And as to your "you could just as well sub in.." Well, you could just as well change any number of things in any story and change it...the point is, shadow babies happened, not some human assassin.

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Let me repeat: what I've been saying is that the appeal of ASOIAF, thus far, for me, and I suspect many others, has nothing to do with the fantasy genre. GRRM could strip out all the magic and just write about the political intrigues on Westeros and I still love this series. That is not true of any other fantasy series I've read.

:lol:

Now you're just trolling. Or you're talking about another author you haven't read if you think Erikson is anything but "high fantasy."

I'm not saying Malazan doesn't feature magic, I'm just putting him closer to GRRM than Tolkien. You will note I chose not to include him in my assertions here but only referenced him as a part of the tendency to drift away from Tolkien, which I think he does.

I haven't finished the series though. I'm ok with it but it's not grabbing me and I can't seem to stick with it. In recent years the only fantasy I've been able to embrace are GRRM and a reread of WoT in preparation for reading the Sanderson volumes, which frankly I'm dreading.

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Let me repeat: what I've been saying is that the appeal of ASOIAF, thus far, for me, and I suspect many others, has nothing to do with the fantasy genre. GRRM could strip out all the magic and just write about the political intrigues on Westeros and I still love this series. That is not true of any other fantasy series I've read.

That doesn't negate the fact that it is fantasy nonetheless. Now, it is not just a fantasy, it's also a political thriller. Just as say Harry Potter is both fantasy and boarding school genre, or Discworld is fantasy and comedy. But it is still fantasy. I can't help but feel that you're trying to reclassify it because fantasy isn't "serious" literature.

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If you cut out the Others and the Dragons and stuff, and just had the political intrigues, you'd still have speculative fiction. It might be science-fiction at that point (depends on how Martin frames the story), but it certainly wouldn't be mainstream or even historical fiction.



Again: you can have fantasy without magic. See Gormenghast.


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Let me repeat: what I've been saying is that the appeal of ASOIAF, thus far, for me, and I suspect many others, has nothing to do with the fantasy genre. GRRM could strip out all the magic and just write about the political intrigues on Westeros and I still love this series. That is not true of any other fantasy series I've read...

But then to my mind what this means isn't that ASOIAF is not a fantasy, rather that the basis of its appeal to you as an individual person is not its fantasy elements. Which is quite different to your opening gambit.

Ultimately GRRM chose to write the story with those fantasy elements in it rather than to write a piece of historical fiction and quite what the balance in terms of overall importance will be between the political story and the fantastical story is something at this stage which is still unclear (in so far as it is possible to pull them apart).

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I'm not saying Malazan doesn't feature magic, I'm just putting him closer to GRRM than Tolkien. You will note I chose not to include him in my assertions here but only referenced him as a part of the tendency to drift away from Tolkien, which I think he does.

Now you're saying something completely different. So ASoIaF isn't the same kind of fantasy LotR is. No, it isn't. But it doesn't make it a story of another genre.

Is Malazan fantasy for you? Because you're saying that GRRM is close to, or isn't fantasy, and that Tolkien is a prime example of fantasy (magic, elves and the like) and that Erikson's novels (warrens, mages, magic assassins, gods that do exist physically, Tistelves, blue-skinned people) fall closer to GRRM than Tolkien. You can say that what appeals to you from those books is the more "realistic" or the least magic-infused part of them, but that doesn't mean those books aren't fantasy.

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As I said earlier, there are many sub genres within fantasy, it is not all one thing. High Fantasy is just one of those sub genres but it is not the only one. And lol, Tolkien is not the god of fantasy, he didn't create it and his style isn't the only style there is.



I suggest taking at look at these two links for some info on fantasy and all its subgenres



Fantasy Genres



Fantasy Sub Genres


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I can't help but feel that you're trying to reclassify it because fantasy isn't "serious" literature.

You're obviously not the only one who's having that reaction. I am rather startled by that. I get the sense that fans of this genre are quick to see insult where none is intended or expressed. For whatever it's worth, while I don't read much fantasy anymore, it's my favorite genre from childhood and I have a deep love and appreciation for it. I've even read that Andre Norton book with Gulth the Lizardman lol.

If you cut out the Others and the Dragons and stuff, and just had the political intrigues, you'd still have speculative fiction. It might be science-fiction at that point (depends on how Martin frames the story), but it certainly wouldn't be mainstream or even historical fiction.

Again: you can have fantasy without magic. See Gormenghast.

I would not consider Gormenghast fantasy.

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I would not consider Gormenghast fantasy.

So the fact that the story takes place in a setting which is clearly not our universe at any point in its history doesn't make it fantasy?

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It creates an unreal situation based on introducing entirely fictional and impossible forces and uses this to explore metaphysical questions. So yes, it is spec fic and it uses clear fantasy tropes from the opening scene through the most recent scene. I can't see how anyone could argue it's not fantasy

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Now you're saying something completely different. So ASoIaF isn't the same kind of fantasy LotR is. No, it isn't. But it doesn't make it a story of another genre.

Is Malazan fantasy for you? Because you're saying that GRRM is close to, or isn't fantasy, and that Tolkien is a prime example of fantasy (magic, elves and the like) and that Erikson's novels (warrens, mages, magic assassins, gods that do exist physically, Tistelves, blue-skinned people) fall closer to GRRM than Tolkien. You can say that what appeals to you from those books is the more "realistic" or the least magic-infused part of them, but that doesn't mean those books aren't fantasy.

Erikson is different from GRRM for me in that what I say about Martin -- that you could strip away the fantasy elements and ASOIAF still would be just as good for me, the same isn't true of Malazan. There the magic quotient is integral.

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And people suggesting that something is inherently less worthy, or deep, or adult or anything because of fantastical elements are one of the few things I can't stand

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For the third time: "fantasy elements" include the setting, i.e. the imaginary continent of Westeros, and all the political paraphernalia that goes with that. Take the setting away from ASOIAF, and you cease to have ASOIAF.


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I understand what you guys are saying about Gormenghast, but to classify it as fantasy stretches the genre boundaries too much for me. Same goes for some Neil Gaiman that I suppose are considered fantasy. There are works by Stephen King and Clive Barker that are non horror that I also would not consider fantasy. Don't expect a comprehensive analysis of why just yet though, or ever, because this isn't a presentation on my part, I'm just thinking out loud.

And people suggesting that something is inherently less worthy, or deep, or adult or anything because of fantastical elements are one of the few things I can't stand

Nobody suggested any such thing. Show me anything I've said here that denigrates the genre. You won't find it, just to let you know in advance.

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I haven't read Gormenghast yet, but I take it it's alternate world fiction? That's a kind of fantasy.


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I understand what you guys are saying about Gormenghast, but to classify it as fantasy stretches the genre boundaries too much for me. Same goes for some Neil Gaiman that I suppose are considered fantasy. There are works by Stephen King and Clive Barker that are non horror that I also would not consider fantasy. Don't expect a comprehensive analysis of why just yet though, or ever, because this isn't a presentation on my part, I'm just thinking out loud.

Nobody suggested any such thing. Show me anything I've said here that denigrates the genre. You won't find it, just to let you know in advance.

I know nobody has said it here, just seems to be heading in that direction, once people start discussing whether we should see a book as fantasy. A bit like when critics called the Timetraveller's Wife literature and tried to insist it wasn't spec fic...

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I haven't read Gormenghast yet, but I take it it's alternate world fiction? That's a kind of fantasy.

The first two volumes (the ones that matter) take place in a crumbling millennia-old castle that is a world unto itself. There is nothing magical going on, but the story certainly doesn't take place in our universe, either past or future. The third volume has the protagonist leaving the castle and ending up in a sort of odd science-fiction situation.

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The easiest thing is to call it all spec fic, because sometimes the lines between sci Fi, fantasy and horror or something a bit different are too blurred to fit into a specific category

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The first two volumes (the ones that matter) take place in a crumbling millennia-old castle that is a world unto itself. There is nothing magical going on, but the story certainly doesn't take place in our universe, either past or future. The third volume has the protagonist leaving the castle and ending up in a sort of odd science-fiction situation.

Oh, cool. I'll have to check that out.

The easiest thing is to call it all spec fic, because sometimes the lines between sci Fi, fantasy and horror or something a bit different are too blurred to fit into a specific category

Doesn't "speculative fiction" have some negative connotations? I read that somewhere, or maybe I got confused with something else. Anyway, it's good to have a name that encompasses all that I think.

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