Around the Common Room: July 6, 2012

Once again, a linkfest for the ages!

Ray Bradbury’s death, some weeks back, drew quite a lot of beautiful eulogies. Among those who remembered him and his contributions to literature: Sarah A. Hoyt, Neil Gaiman, Hog’s Head regular Katherine Sas, Catholic writer Jimmy Akin, and President Obama. Also, RiaNovosti put together an infographic of Bradbury predictions that have been fulfilled.

In fantasy fiction:

In science fiction:

In General Literature:

In Things that are Just Plain Awesome:

In the… odd, very odd… you can now perfume your Kindle to make it smell like a real book. But when will we be able to easily flip open any story to any place we like, Kindle? Because then, you’ll have a better chance of competing with the hard copies.

And in all things Harry Potter:

Thanks to George, Arabella, and Carrie-Ann for many of these links!

4 thoughts on “Around the Common Room: July 6, 2012

  1. Thanks Jenna!! This is going to keep me in Fantasy Fiction glee for quite some time.

    But I have a question. Why is the story of Harry Potter, which is 7 books long and over 4,000 pages, not considered a “epic fantasy”? Looking at the tall stack of books sitting on my desk it sure looks like an epic to me. Sure, each book is a story unto itself, but they are all part of (in fact 1 year 0f) the total story.

    I searched for the definition of “epic fantasy” and found it broken down quite well here: http://www.epic-fantasy.com/genre/definition.htm

    The Harry Potter books seem to be the exact definition of an epic fantasy. It even covers the setting. – “The setting for the piece is often one that has a Middle Ages flavor complete with swords, castles, and a magical scheme”. Although it does not take place in the Middle Ages it does include swords, a castle, magical scheme and even the armor of knights.

  2. I like that explanation of epic fantasy, Moe!

    Possibly I should have said high fantasy, but the terms are not always defined the same way by the same people. What I meant was that the list seemed to focus on stories that were set entirely in a different world/different time, to the exclusion of urban fantasy, which is (loosely) a magical story working in or around a modern setting. Though Harry Potter almost qualifies as outside the modern, despite popping in and out of normal 1990s England.

    Actually, the point I ought to have made is that children’s books seemed to be excluded. All of those fantasies, if I recall correctly, were aimed at adults. :)

  3. I see. Thanks Jenna.
    In other words, same prejudice, but based on age group. ;-)

    The age prejudice does, indeed, seem most likely, as Harry Potter does seem to fit into both Epic and High Fantasy.

    High Fantasy
    From the Wiki definition https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_fantasy

    The Harry Potter books would still apply if it was High Fantasy.

    Genre overview- “High fantasy or epic fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy that is set in invented or parallel worlds.”

    - Harry Potter takes place in an “invented or parallel” world.

    Setting
    “These stories are often serious in tone and epic in scope, dealing with themes of grand struggle against supernatural, evil forces.”

    - Although HP can have some amusing moments, it is a serious book.

    Characters
    “Most high fantasy storylines are told from the viewpoint of one main hero.”

    - HP is basically told from Harry’s point of view.

    Good versus Evil
    “Good versus evil is a common concept in high fantasy, and the character of evil is often an important concept in a work of high fantasy… Indeed, the importance of the concepts of good and evil can be regarded as distinguishing mark between high fantasy and sword and sorcery. In many works of high fantasy, this conflict marks a deep concern with moral issues; in other works, the conflict is a power struggle, with, for instance, wizards behaving irresponsibly whether they are “good” or “evil”.

    - Obviously!

    It would be nice if there was a universally accepted definition for both Epic Fantasy and High Fantasy.

    It would also be nice if it was accepted that even though the HP books may have started as kind of a children’s book, just as Harry grew up with each book, so did the readers and the age level for which the books were intended.

  4. That question is a whole essay in itlsef! My first thought is that it would look like a lot of things, and thus we need to figure out what its trying to do. What effect, for example, does that level of creative self-consciousness do the process of writing the story? I’ll have to ponder that one.

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