Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
kuenjato

Bonfire of the Vanities: Which Fantasies will Survive?

Recommended Posts

I was reading the Eddings thread, and was struck by Jussi's post that Eddings used to be the #1 seller in Finland, and is now out of print.

This made me reflect: which, if any, of the modern fantastical authors will survive the inevitable decline in readership, and the constant eruption of new, different, "better"? Not the 'canon classics', like Tolkien or LeGuin, but the GenX and Mil. Class.

Frankly, I'm struggling to think of any.
 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure they qualify, but since they all published stuff well after 2000: Rowling, Pratchett, Gaiman or Rushdie should endure.

Edited by Errant Bard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bakker I’d say. Tad Williams. Stephen Donaldson’s early stuff. Abercrombie’s stuff has a charm that could endure. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rowling I could see. Rushdie is an Ivory Tower darling, so he will probably as well (I haven't read any of his stuff, has he written fantasy or epics?)

Bakker really crapped out on his second series. I used to think he'd survive and later thrive like Gene Wolfe, maybe PoN? It's more than solid even when connected to TAE.

Williams -- maybe MS&T? Everything else he's written is horribly bloated.

I could see the first Covenant trilogy, both in historical context and from its quality.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, Harry Potter is going no where, and I doubt Discworld will disappear either.  Sad to say I still see a full Goodkind shelf every time I go to the book store, he isn't going away soon.

But yeah, Bakker?  I would be shocked if I saw his latest book at the book store right now.  I love Prince of Nothing, and I am only a book behind on UC, but we can wish all we want and he is never going to be more than a cult author.  Think Myrvyn Peake at best.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, SkynJay said:

Yeah, Harry Potter is going no where, and I doubt Discworld will disappear either.  Sad to say I still see a full Goodkind shelf every time I go to the book store, he isn't going away soon.

But yeah, Bakker?  I would be shocked if I saw his latest book at the book store right now.  I love Prince of Nothing, and I am only a book behind on UC, but we can wish all we want and he is never going to be more than a cult author.  Think Myrvyn Peake at best.

Goodkind is still alive and publishing novels. He has comfortably fit into the conservative audience's niche. Let's see where he is at in 30 years.

I check for Bakker every time I go into a bookstore. I've seen his works in the Barnes n Nobles once in six years of visiting the Albuquerque branch--and this is a branch that sets aside whole tables for local authors like Daniel Abraham, Ty Franck, and GRRM among others. This time, btw, was when TUC was just published.

Not sure if physical book space is really a good metric, these days. 

Edited by kuenjato

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
56 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

Otherland is insanely popular in the Europe.

Is that the reason they made an MMO? I was surprised by that.

Otherland could have been a great duology or maybe trilogy. There is some great writing and seriously epic moments. There's also (at least) an entire book's worth of fluff and filler -- it even has a name: Mountain of Black Glass..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dunno about the MMO, but when Power Metal bands start having songs about it you know you're doing good. I mean, I also love the shit out of everything Williams write, fluff included, so I am slightly biased, but I remember wert talking about how it was like a huge main stream hit in I thin Germany.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
49 minutes ago, kuenjato said:

Not sure if physical book space is really a good metric, these days. 

I think it still is.  Independent book stores are actually doing quite well and outside of the niche ones they carry what sells.  I promise there is at least one copy of LotR in the local shop in my town at any time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, SkynJay said:

I think it still is.  Independent book stores are actually doing quite well and outside of the niche ones they carry what sells.  I promise there is at least one copy of LotR in the local shop in my town at any time.

And probably Harry Potter and GRRM. What else? I wish I had a snapshot of the fantasy shelves at the Waldenbooks I used to spend hours of my life at in the late 80's. Which of those authors still demand shelf space? 

I do think the internet will change this dynamic, somewhat. Beloved authors will still command devotion from their readers long after their popularity wanes. Whereas gatekeepers and/or school curriculums ensured the survival of certain authors (like Wolfe, who to the best of my knowledge was never a bestseller), will hugely popular authors like Brooks or Jordan endure, particularly given the inconsistent nature of quality in their serials? 

I can see MS&T, in terms of influence. Not sure about anything else Williams has written. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm reminded of how little this forum actually effects popular SFF tastes when I think about this. Apart from GRMM of course a lot of the eh, Golden boys f this forum are not as popular as people want to believe while a lot of the shit sells like cocaine. Although the growing popularity of, ugh, GrimDark has changed that a bit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To be remembered you have to write something unique or ground breaking.  It also helps if you write something short and self contained.  The problem for a lot of classic fantasy is that it is just to darn long.  People still read classics but most of the time classics are pretty short and if they are part of a series it tends to only be the first that is really well known.  The big authors of the eighties are all on the way out.  Eddings, Feist, Salvatore, Weiss and Hickman, Brooks, Williams. They're populists that aren't popular any more. All of them are running on fumes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

Uh, Brooks and Williams and Feist and Salvatore are all still extremely  popular. See my above post about how westeros does not equal all of SFF fandom.

They are all still producing books, as well. And active in self-promotion. I saw Salvatore's recent release on the new books at my local library. Williams did a joint interview with Christopher Paolini (!). Feist finished up Magician and went to work on something else, I think. And Brooks? Still stripmining his formula from 40 years ago.

Did Eddings popularity start to really wane after he died, or before? He didn't release anything for a number of years. I recall seeing Omnibus editions for the Belgariad and Mallorean a few years back, which means the publisher could no longer rely on the original five volume sets.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Roose Boltons Pet Leech said:

This is honestly impossible to tell.

H.P. Lovecraft died in obscurity in 1937 - and is now a cult author. Abraham Merritt was a leading fantasy author a century ago, and is now forgotten.

Impossible, but fun to speculate. 

Except I'm really drawing a blank here. Are there exceptional stand-alones in the "prestige" sff/f region? I'm not familiar with that branch of the genre, tbh.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×