Fantasy - a male preserve?

Discussion in 'Fantasy Authors' started by Sherwood Smith, Sep 3, 2013.

  1. Darwin

    Darwin Journeyed there and back again

    They're fairly polarizing books, but I like them. The protagonist always just does the most insane thing you could ever imagine as he strives for power in post-apocalyptic but now magical Europe. I don't want all of the PoV characters in fantasy to be role models; the crazy, bitter, and/or evil ones are way more fun.
  2. Alucard

    Alucard In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge! Staff Member

    I like grumpy old men PoVs a lot.
    Not exactly what a writer would think I would enjoy as a female reader in her early 30s.

    This is one of the reasons I like Abercrombie's books. Heroes in particular.
  3. Darwin

    Darwin Journeyed there and back again

    Interesting. "Grumpy old men" isn't the phrase I think about when reflecting on Abercrombie's work, or grimdark in general, but you're so right! Curden Craw is just flat out likable. Seeing a more world-weary Black Dow is cool too. The original trilogy is at its best with grumpy old men, too, now that I think about it. Bayaz, Glokta, the closed council, etc.

    But hey! What are you doing reading man-books? Wouldn't you prefer a nice sparkly-vampire teen romance book?
  4. TomTB

    TomTB The Master Tweeter Staff Member

    If there was a 'brave' button, I'd be hitting it repeatedly right now ;)
  5. Alucard

    Alucard In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge! Staff Member

    Yeah I kinda noticed that with him. He has an aged, experienced grump in all his books. He does that well. Nobody does crazy as Abercrombie either. Whirrun is one of my favs.

    Well I'm not a teen and I like my vampires powerful, ferocious and downright scary so no?
  6. Anti_Quated

    Anti_Quated Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune

    Given the strong indications I'm heading down that road as I hit my mid-30s, the curmudgeonly, grizzled, and cynical often resonates well with me, so I'm with you on this one.
    What's that saying? Men age like wine?.... ;)
  7. Darwin

    Darwin Journeyed there and back again

    To be fair, grumpy old women are just as interesting! Granny Weatherwax, anyone?
  8. Jaden_Diamondknight

    Jaden_Diamondknight A farm boy with a sword

    I liked when vampires were smart zombies.
    In any case, to me, the PoV needs to fit the thematic and how it changes, depending on the events. You aren't going to be all snarky and sassy when you're seeing people you love dying in a war. Otherwise, it would break the immersion and the sense of urgency.
  9. Nuomer1

    Nuomer1 Journeyed there and back again

    Agreed, such a character would need to be very well written . . . and his (her?) existence would probably offend some people.
    The sad thing is that such cases can be found (are found, with increasing frequency!) in the 'real world'. That is why my reading choices are generally light escapist stuff, the world is dark enough already without people reminding me of its worst bits.
  10. Jaden_Diamondknight

    Jaden_Diamondknight A farm boy with a sword

    If you want an unsympathetic despicable villain for one of your manuscripts, just watch the news. You may find something there.
  11. Peat

    Peat Journeyed there and back again

    Most of them are too unrealistic!

    (Half said in jest, half not).
  12. Darwin

    Darwin Journeyed there and back again

    Reminds me of Elaida.
  13. SaranderBrander

    SaranderBrander A Muggle

    I wish I'd discovered this forum thread years ago at its beginning where it levels some criticisms at Brandon Sanderson's books similar to my thoughts on the matter when writing my Mistborn parody. Since then Brandon Sanderson has released "Bands of Mourning", and his slightly sexualized gender-fluid character MeLaan probably doesn't do much to allay those criticisms. But maybe there's a reader out there who applauds his attempt at a different sort of female-ish character?

    On a more general note, I think our society in general is still experiencing an increasing trend of more women being involved in nearly everything that wasn't as welcoming to them before. Politics, STEM fields, even sports that people actually watch! I've always counted a lot of great female authors among my favorites. Diane Duane, Anne McCaffery, Sherri Tepper, Susan Cooper, etc.... but that doesn't mean we've reached parity yet.

    See where things go in 10, 20, 50 years? Maybe there'll finally be equal numbers and equal footing then?
  14. Leon L. Moran

    Leon L. Moran Possibly a Darkfriend

    I agree that Robin Hobb and her characterization of Fitz Chivalry are an excellent example of this.
  15. Bierschneeman

    Bierschneeman Journeyed there and back again

    So looking over my wife's book shelves I see a large majority of female authors.

    Large collections from Anne bishop, Anne mcaffery, Patricia Briggs, Kelly Armstrong, Shana Abe, Elizabeth Hayden, Mercedes lackey, jk Rowling, tanya huff, juliet marillier, Anne rice, Elizabeth kerner, and so many more.

    The only things I see not of female authors are huge collections like Wot, Narnia jim butcher, most of these i put therebecause i knew she liked tgem and tracked down all the books with a few trips to used book stores for Christmas or something.

    My book shelves (excluding non fiction) i see a few single books by a few random female authors.

    I'm not sure what this says, I'm just stating it. You can tell from my posts of what I read on this thread or that, I'm not adverse to reading female authors, I'm in fact going through mary Shelley s feminists novels right now and reading a non fiction woman studies book, but maybe it says I need to read more. I don't think I've read a single female fantasy authors book.

  16. Bierschneeman

    Bierschneeman Journeyed there and back again

    I asked her, she said it's intentional, she prefers strong heroines, and female authors are more likely to do this, and do it better
  17. Alucard

    Alucard In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge! Staff Member

    I'm sure your wife can recommend plenty if you wanna read more female fantasy authors. But I'll also list some who's books I have enjoyed. I actually made it my reading challenge a year or two ago to read a number of female authors during that year. I don't remember what the number was but here's some books by female authors that I've enjoyed. I'll link them so you can get the synopsis as well.

    These are all fantasy or fantasy-ish.

    • The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (modern fairy tale based on Russian mythology)
    • Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear (Steampunk meets murder mystery meets Jules Verne tribute)
    • War for the Oaks by Emma Bull (one of the first books that jump started urban fantasy, published in 1987)
    • Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke (one of my favorite books in general. Closest you will get to reading Dickens in fantasy)
    • Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy, #1) by Robin Hobb (probably the best done character development I have ever seen in any first book. The series goes downhill imo, but the first book is amazing.)
    • A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet, #1) by Madeleine L'Engle (middle-grade book, but what really stands out is imagination like no other. Strong characters all around. Wonderful and uplifting.)
    • Uprooted by Naomi Novik (Novik successfully tapping into her Polish heritage and all the stories her grandma told her to tell us a modern fairy tale unlike anything in anglo-saxon fantasy.)
    • Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor ( sci-fi/fantasy mix and a first contact story set in Lagos, Nigeria. Okorafor, like Novik bringing her heritage to tell a unique story.)
    • White Trash Zombie series by Diana Rowland (My favorite urban fantasy heroine. Strong, yet flawed. No romantic triangles and bullshit, just plenty of character growth. Diana Rowland is herself probably the most badass woman writing in fantasy right now. Just reading her biography is enough to see that. ). The series could do with a better name, but I love it even for that. I don't get to read many books about women from Louisiana and that are written in such a real and raw way. I should probably mention I actually don't read them, I listen to them and I enjoy every minute of Louisiana accent with occasional Cajun sneaked in.
  18. Bierschneeman

    Bierschneeman Journeyed there and back again

    Oh, so I have read a female fantasy author, wrinkle in time, is a fond favorite of when I was in single digit ages. I read all four and I think the first one is lingering somewhere in my house.

    Bear and nightingale is already on the top of my radar (bad colloquialisms collide) because of the flood of raving reviews from this forum, and a fantastic description.

    Thank you for helpful suggestions, I will look into all of them.
  19. Mohammed Al Mulla

    Mohammed Al Mulla Killed a Balrog

    well, based on my personal point of view, I read Fantasy Novels because it contains things that I BELIEVE are missing from the present world.. which is concepts and codes.. these things are rarely found these days.. and you can see that many things control people, such as greed, lust, power, fortune, etc, and it is easy to convert one's loyalty.. in Fantasy, it is a world that characters hold tight to their believes and concepts, and welling to die for it.. read for example the part of Legend for David Gemmell when Druss sets with the chief of the Nadir, and discuss concepts and believes and both stay firm to what they have begun with.. even though both are sworn enemies, they still sat, ate, discussed and departed without any harm on either of them... also, when Druss was poisoned, the Nadir Chief kills the warrior to killed him using a poisoned weapon because he did not want such a hero to go down in such a way.

    I did not ready much for female writers, the only one i read for was Stella Gemmell, the wife of the ex-David Gemmell, and i had plenty of preservation, and I won't blame her, as she was actually and journalist and just converted to novel writing when her husband died and she had to complete his novel The Fall of Kings, which she did excellent in, but then wrote 2 novels (The City and the Immortal Throne), which i had my own preservation and wrote some posts about them with all my thoughts.
  20. Matticus Primal

    Matticus Primal Journeyed there and back again

    The Pudding recently put out a great post on the subject, and *spoiler alert* indeed the fantasy genre is about 79% male since 2010 on. If you're going by best sellers in the genre that is.

    I should also note that they lump Horror and Paranormal together and note that 25% of Paranormal are also Romance. Which means Horror, Historical and Romance are all female dominated.

    Again, this is just going by best sellers, so doesn't exactly look at the number of male/ female authors.

Share This Page