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Thursday, January 19, 2012

The return of the epic

After reading some of my past posts related to the degraded state of epic fantasy, it is a pleasure to be able to say that there are still writers who harbor sufficient regard for the genre to write it more or less straight rather than attempting to subvert it in some tediously predictable manner. While there is always a place in any genre for an interesting subversion - and few have ever done it better than Tanith Lee’s supremely dark take on various classic children’s tales - once the subversion becomes the norm, the novelty aspect is gone and the new sub-genre must stand or fall on its own merits rather than upon the borrowed merits of the genre it is subverting. And at this point, the antihero in epic fantasy, or to put it more accurately, the villainous protagonist, is about as novel and intrinsically interesting as the creaking Hollywood chestnut featuring the grand climactic mano-a-mano confrontation between the hero and antagonist in which the hero is all but vanquished when a last taunt enrages him and inspires him to battle back to ultimate victory. Yee-hee-hee-awwwwwn.

Read the rest at Black Gate.

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