What would you like to see less of in fantasy books?

Peat

Journeyed there and back again
#61
Because if you leave a backdoor for yourself, you've also left a backdoor for everyone else. See how tech companies operate today.

*shrugs* I am happy with the level of explanation shown in Wheel of Time. I don't need everything explained and would go mad if an author tried to. Not only would it be a gigantic waste of words, but it goes against the grain of what makes a sensible world to me. There's always mysteries. I get that's not for everyone, but there we go. Plenty of books that like to tie everything into a bow.
 

Darwin

Journeyed there and back again
#62
It's never said that the Forsaken couldn't have killed the gholam. I suspect they'd have done as well or better than Mat did. But "they" didn't make the gholam, only Aginor made them, and the gholam were lost like most of the other ancient treasures. One was found and release. (It's more than a little weird that the Forsaken kept all their interesting shit in stasis boxes before their ancient defeat.)

I thought Aginor making them was a decent rebuttal to your question "how could they also not kill it?" because Aginor dies soon after being freed from his prison in book 1. But google is telling me that Osan'gar, the reborn forsaken, was probably Aginor, and that he was Dashiva throughout most of the series. I missed that on my initial read and re-read. Seems like a gross misuse of Aginor's mad scientist abilities to have him follow Rand instead of designing new crazy shadowspawn.
 

Peat

Journeyed there and back again
#63
It's never said that the Forsaken couldn't have killed the gholam. I suspect they'd have done as well or better than Mat did. But "they" didn't make the gholam, only Aginor made them, and the gholam were lost like most of the other ancient treasures. One was found and release. (It's more than a little weird that the Forsaken kept all their interesting shit in stasis boxes before their ancient defeat.)

I thought Aginor making them was a decent rebuttal to your question "how could they also not kill it?" because Aginor dies soon after being freed from his prison in book 1. But google is telling me that Osan'gar, the reborn forsaken, was probably Aginor, and that he was Dashiva throughout most of the series. I missed that on my initial read and re-read. Seems like a gross misuse of Aginor's mad scientist abilities to have him follow Rand instead of designing new crazy shadowspawn.
According to WoT wiki, the equipment Aginor used no longer existed in the Third Age. Presumably rebuilding it, and then creating new races, would have taken too much time to be practical - if that was even possible.
 

rudyjuly2

Ran bridges next to Kaladin
#64
It's never said that the Forsaken couldn't have killed the gholam. I suspect they'd have done as well or better than Mat did. But "they" didn't make the gholam, only Aginor made them, and the gholam were lost like most of the other ancient treasures. One was found and release. (It's more than a little weird that the Forsaken kept all their interesting shit in stasis boxes before their ancient defeat.)

I thought Aginor making them was a decent rebuttal to your question "how could they also not kill it?" because Aginor dies soon after being freed from his prison in book 1. But google is telling me that Osan'gar, the reborn forsaken, was probably Aginor, and that he was Dashiva throughout most of the series. I missed that on my initial read and re-read. Seems like a gross misuse of Aginor's mad scientist abilities to have him follow Rand instead of designing new crazy shadowspawn.
It was hard to keep track of some of the Forsaken and the ones that got brought back. I miss some of that stuff too much. I think even the author struggled to keep track of some things. My head just spins at times. I should probably read an analysis book on the whole series to fill in some blanks. Despite 14 books the history of the Forsaken still had a lot of mystery.
 

Amaryllis

Journeyed there and back again
#65
Reviving this thread because I finally have something to submit for the OP that isn't just whining or nitpicking. Well, I guess maybe it's sort of whining, but then that's what the entire OP premise is conducive to. But it's definitely not nitpicking! Anyway:

Anachronistic/self-referential humor.

Obvious pass if it's a parody book that is SUPPOSED to be about that.

Thankfully it doesn't appear often, and mostly appears in very modern works, but oh my lord does it bug the everloving shit out of me. I don't care what style of fantasy you're trying to write, whether its weird, dark and gritty, pulp, traditional, whatever. Just write it and take pride in your work. Don't try to wink at me.

I'm thinking specifically of this happening at the end of Theft of Swords (the first Riyria book).
After the wizard does the scrying to try to find 'the chosen one,' the book doesn't tell you who it revealed, but one of the protagonists makes a joke that's something like 'Considering how this usually goes, I expected the chosen one would be somebody from around here [small, isolated farming village], haha!' to which the wizard smiles and replies 'Often, the unexpected happens.'

It's like, first of all, fuck you dude. This is like the most traditional fantasy story I have read in several years, and the author even admits he intentionally made it this way in the interview at the back of the book, because that was the kind of story he loved. The entire book has been completely and utterly 'expected,' and you're not going to pretend you're edgy with a cute little joke at the end
, but it also happens in the Kingkiller Chronicles as well, where Kvothe is talking about how the story he's telling would be if it was one of those stale storybook fantasy stories psh -- something about the hero finding a mentor or a clever talking animal -- and then goes on to tell the most blatantly storybook story humanly possible, to the point where people just call it 'adult Harry Potter.' Bruh, if you're going to tell a cliche story, just own it. I am 500 pages in and have already bought the damn book. Stop it with the 'HAI THERE READER, I SEE YOU AND WE'RE IN ON THIS JOKE TOGETHER LOL' stuff. I've seen this a few times recently in e-books I've bought on Amazon as well, and feel like it's becoming more common as all our pop culture stuff becomes ever more self-referential. I hate it. If you absolutely must add this kind of meta reference in a non-comedy, do it like Tolkien, who at least didn't try to make it a joke for the reader that would make no sense in-universe. Sam and Frodo doing it had narrative weight because of that.

I can deal with most fantasy genre conceits without missing a beat. But whenever the author references the fact that I am, in fact, reading a book, it deeply annoys me. This one tears me right out of a book, and it becomes very hard to get back into it. Can you not save it for the author interview (since Orbit ALWAYS adds them), or for your website, to tell me that you ALSO read TV Tropes, and are a kool dude? I didn't need to know that badly.
 
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ethereal.denizen

A farm boy with a sword
#66
I would really like to see less plot devices making characters do things that they wouldn't do... at least not without a heck of a lot of character change that hasn't happened. I mean stuff like, say, the king decides to pal around with the new prisoner for no other reason than the prisoner "needs" an infodump for the story to move on. Stuff like that.

This removes any semblance of emotional realism, which I think is incredibly important in genre fiction, and breaks the suspension of disbelief.
 

Alice Sabo

Helped Logen count his fingers
#67
The big bad that wants to take over the world to destroy it. I never really understood that. Why destroy a world to rule it? Most of the time it's populating the world with demons or demonish creatures that will eat/slay the "good" populace. But if you destroy them, what have you got left to rule/eat?

It's like the monsters in those b-movies...why do they only bite the heads off?
 

Peat

Journeyed there and back again
#69
That's a good point about big barbaric northmen. I like them but I am now really struggling to think of series that don't include them. They've really flown under the radar insofar as fantasy standards go...
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#70
I'm also conflicted about big, barbaric northmen.
There's never enough of those guys :D

The Steel Remains has one - Egar Dragonbane. That dude could have walked out from Abercrombie's novel straight into Morgan's.
He's a berserker class too. I love him already.
 

Theophania

Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune
#71
I've seen this a few times recently in e-books I've bought on Amazon as well, and feel like it's becoming more common as all our pop culture stuff becomes ever more self-referential. I hate it. If you absolutely must add this kind of meta reference in a non-comedy, do it like Tolkien, who at least didn't try to make it a joke for the reader that would make no sense in-universe. Sam and Frodo doing it had narrative weight because of that.
Absolutely. Another example would be the Jim Butcher's Butters POV short story Day One. Personally, I think it's the weakest thing he's ever written, and a big part of the reason is that the whole story seems to be a vehicle for endless gaming/pop culture references. I'd go so far as to say that the story is sacrificed to make it fit the pop culture stuff. It's probably really amusing for someone who enjoys gaming. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people. The Dresden Files has always had references to Star Wars etc, but until recently they haven't been so frequent and so obvious. They have been, as Amaryllis says, subtle enough that they made sense in-universe. I don't like gaming, but I know Harry Dresden does. Now it seems that Butcher assumes that all his fans are also pop culture fans.
 

Sparrow

Journeyed there and back again
#72
Absolutely. Another example would be the Jim Butcher's Butters POV short story Day One. Personally, I think it's the weakest thing he's ever written, and a big part of the reason is that the whole story seems to be a vehicle for endless gaming/pop culture references. I'd go so far as to say that the story is sacrificed to make it fit the pop culture stuff. It's probably really amusing for someone who enjoys gaming. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people. The Dresden Files has always had references to Star Wars etc, but until recently they haven't been so frequent and so obvious. They have been, as Amaryllis says, subtle enough that they made sense in-universe. I don't like gaming, but I know Harry Dresden does. Now it seems that Butcher assumes that all his fans are also pop culture fans.
I'll second that!
I've completely lost interest in the Harry Dresden series, in no small part due to Butcher's schoolboy humor and lame pop culture references.
Not only do I not play video games, I HATE STAR WARS!
 

Peat

Journeyed there and back again
#73
That sort of reference is a very different kettle of fish in an Urban Fantasy where the characters have probably read and heard of the things than it is in a Trad Fantasy where it's more of a 4th wall breaking wink. Imo and all that.

Although I now kinda want to see a Trad Fantasy in which the MC completely rips the 4th wall to pieces Deadpool style.
 

Theophania

Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune
#74
Peat - you're right, of course. Harry Dresden's Star Wars references have been there from the beginning, and it's part of who Harry is. Harry likes Star Wars and tabletop gaming, but not flying. I like flying but not Star Wars and tabletop gaming. However, I can live with that. A book character needs interests outside the plot; I don't have to share them.

However, the references to pop culture stuff have got more frequent and more intrusive - culminating in Day One which is basically an in-joke for people who like computer games. For those of us who don't do gaming of any description, to say it falls flat is a bit of an understatement.

I don't hate Star Wars. I went to see one of the films once. There was a pretty girl in it, and sand. That's pretty much all I remember, and I only remember the pretty girl because my husband's eyeballs fell out and he had to fish for them in the puddle of drool in his box of popcorn.

I haven't read any trad fantasy for ages, but on Reddit there's a little discussion of fantasy books that break the fourth wall, and some of them might just fit your desire: https://www.reddit.com/r/Fantasy/comments/4ntf0g
 

Peat

Journeyed there and back again
#75
Oh I'm not saying that the balance is right in Dresden, or that they can't irritate people... just for me its a very different device.

And I don't think any of those really fit the whole Deadpool "Knows he's a character constantly breaking the 4th wall thing". Order of the Stick does it at times too.