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

Olli Tooley

Told lies with Locke
#41
Well, that is tricky because it's a cultural subject.
Example: say that you are writing a fantasy that is based on the Iliad. Well, half of the story is moved by sexuality. Achilles wants Agamennon slave for himself. But, he also has a male lover. That is a fact, and it moves the whole plot (Achilles kills Hector because he has killed Patroclus).

The thing is: you'd have to create a society in which bisexuality or homosexuality has a role, and a weight. If you just put modern 'gay people' (a descriptor that is pretty recent and it won't apply to Achilles, btw) it just doesn't make sense.
An excellent point.
 

Olli Tooley

Told lies with Locke
#42
Oh... I just read recently that Julius Caesar was affectionally called by his soldiers "husband of all wives, and wife of all husbands", referring both to his bisexuality and the fact he had the habit of sleeping in married couples' beds.
That would make quite a story!
It's not quite as simple as it sounds.
He was almost certainly not bisexual, although there will never be any proof either way.
An early faux pas in his military career left him open to accusations of homosexual activity, which he vociferously denied.
Of course, the stain could never be removed, and the snide remarks never stopped.
You may think what you wish, but in my book he is unequivocally heterosexual.
 

GiovanniDeFeo

Has Danced with Dragons
#43
It's not quite as simple as it sounds.
But that is precisely the point... to give a sense of what these people were sexually (Caesar maybe not, but Marc Aurelius and Alexandre the Great were most surely were bi) doesn't exactly translates into our modern categories. For us bisexuality is perceived as an exception from the majority. For the Greeks (Homer times) it WAS the norm (thought that applies to paideia too, which to us would be a form of pedophilia). Well, to give a sense of that, in a novel, this is challenging. To put bisex or 'gay' people, it's just lame writing.
 

Olli Tooley

Told lies with Locke
#44
Yes, there is certainly plenty of potential to explore.
There is a huge difference between Greek and Roman attitudes, but different sexuality was a thing in both societies.
Sulla was undoubtedly not heterosexual (choosing my words carefully as not able to say gay or bi for certain)
As you say, for the Greeks (or certainly Athens) freedom to experiment was the norm.
It's for that reason the Romans stereotyped Greeks as gay, and therefore why they suspected Caesar of a dalliance with the King of Bythinia.
 

Olli Tooley

Told lies with Locke
#46
Didn’t Roman soldiers rape male soldiers after winning battles? I thought they used rape on any gender to enforce their conquests.
I haven't seen that in my research. Not that I am an expert by any means.
Basically, the Roman attitude the homosexuality was that it was alright but don't go on about it, and definitely don't be the subservient partner.
It was much more ok to be the dominant partner.
Nevertheless, it was absolutely not approved of or overtly acceptable.
In one incident an officer attempted to seduce a legionary, who killed him.
Instead of being punished, the recruit was commended.
 

GiovanniDeFeo

Has Danced with Dragons
#47
From what I understood, for ancient Romans you were 'effeminate' if you were 'receiving' sex from a man.
If you gave it, no. Also, it was ok to have sex with boys, less so with grown men.
'Greek' to republican times Romans meant effeminate and decadent (basically the old time cliché).
Anyway, a complex subject, that doesn't translate into our modern sensibilities one way or another (they were not 'more modern' or 'more prudish' they were just very different).
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#48

Darwin

Journeyed there and back again
#49
I visited Pompeii many years ago. The best thing I saw were the road signs for brothels. Google images "pompeii brothel road signs"
 

Olli Tooley

Told lies with Locke
#50
I also went to Pompeii.
An amazing place. Always odd when you actually stand in a place and realise how big it is.
Much amusement on going round one house overhearing a group of teenage Americans* expressing surprise that the entire house lacked a roof.
I had to explain that the rooms had roofs although the central area didn't.
Then I blew their minds when I explained they also had underfloor heating throughout.
* I'm sure they were not representative. ;)

The sheer number of bakeries and other eating places was enlightening as well. So much of human life doesn't change, not just the filthy graffiti :D
 

ethereal.denizen

A farm boy with a sword
#51
Personally, I would like to see more epic fantasy series with:
Magic. I don't necessarily need it to be or need it not to be super magic heavy. What I care about most is that what is presented is consistent and coherent. My gripe with heavy magic comes when it is used to cover up lazy writing and typically leads to these unbelievable things that make me roll my eyes and come out of the story (things like oh, at the last second there is this magical thing nobody knew about that saves the heroes with no prior mention, build up, etc). By all means, build up a huge magic system/world, just make sure it doesn't become a crutch.
Yes, yes. A thousand times yes.
 

Alice Sabo

Got in a fistfight with Dresden
#53
I may be against the grain, but I'm tired of massive armies attacking the great invincible evil. I gobbled up Daniel Abraham's series because they were so much smaller worlds. Fascinating, well fleshed out worlds with curious cultures, but the main characters didn't have to save the world. More of that please.

Not a fan of Grimdark. I am looking at Noble Bright, but not sure if that's what I'm looking for. A few fights/battles are fine, but I don't want a book that is all war.

If you want an old woman as a protagonist, I recommend the Tanyth Fairport series by Nathan Lowell. She's a 60 yr old shaman. Loved it. And the Blackthorn and Grim series by Juliet Marillier has an older wise woman as a main character. They are about interesting people having unusual adventures. I'd be happy with more of that, too.

Nor do I care for the unlikable main character. I'm okay with the pirate with a golden heart (Han Solo) type. But the assassins and such are just too dark for me. I had liked Michael Sullivan's Riyaria but the last book I read, a prequel I think, had some very scary stuff that put me off the characters.
 

Fisterra

Got in a fistfight with Dresden
#54
Female protagonists. There aren't that many outside Young Adult Fantasy, or at least that's what it looks like to me.

Elves. Look, I grew up reading Tolkien, I love elves and we need more. Or, you know, for authors to stop pretending that their book doesn't have elves by giving the race another name, like the Eletians in Green Rider.

On that note: Fae. The "no one ever said elves are nice" variety. Give me more of these bastards with their own agenda, please.

Also, what many others have already said: more magic. Although, right now what I like to read are books where magic (or simply the big important magic) has been gone for centuries and now it's coming back and no one is exactly prepared.
 

Maark Abbott

Journeyed there and back again
#56
I'll second the female protagonists thing, but with the proviso that they're more towards the nasty end of the spectrum. It's one reason why Kaenna in my work is an absolute bitch, but then there's also the past pogrom against her people that weighs in on her worldview.

Non-traditional races is a given but then I tend to look to Erikson in regard to that sort of thing. Probably where my ideas for the rafka and baiyairen came from.
 

Cyphon

Journeyed there and back again
#57
I don't know that I would label this "more of in fantasy" but it is a thought I had about a book I thought could be really cool. I am not a writer by any stretch and have never even attempted it but if I did try I would look into the idea of doing a book where the main heros power was rapping. And it wouldn't just be like you get in most fantasy where the author says something like "the lines flowed from him as the battle raged" but you woud legitmately write out the battle using rhyming lines. And of course, the power wouldn't work if the lines didn't rhyme. I think there is so much potential in a magic system like that.

And to go along with that it would be interesting to have a black hero/more black heroes (doesn't seem to be many of those in fantasy). Or more specifically, a more modern black hero.
 

Nuomer1

Journeyed there and back again
#58
Cyphon, that is one weird idea . . . . but I think I can see the roots it is derived from. Powers of Celtic Druids, filtered through 'Spellsinger' by Alan Dean Foster. Am I right?
 

Cyphon

Journeyed there and back again
#59
Cyphon, that is one weird idea . . . . but I think I can see the roots it is derived from. Powers of Celtic Druids, filtered through 'Spellsinger' by Alan Dean Foster. Am I right?
Never heard of Spellsinger.

Truthfully it just popped into my head as a fan of the Hip-Hop/Rap genre. I think if it was inspired by anything it would probably be Green Lantern. I like the idea of a magic system that is somehwhat only limited by the imagination if you will. Of course there are ways that could easily become broken so you would have to have limits. Examples being your lines actually have to rhyme, if each bar has the same amount of syllables you get more power out of your lyrics, etc etc....
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#60
Never heard of Spellsinger.

Truthfully it just popped into my head as a fan of the Hip-Hop/Rap genre. I think if it was inspired by anything it would probably be Green Lantern. I like the idea of a magic system that is somehwhat only limited by the imagination if you will. Of course there are ways that could easily become broken so you would have to have limits. Examples being your lines actually have to rhyme, if each bar has the same amount of syllables you get more power out of your lyrics, etc etc....
It's quite an interesting idea to use rap specifically. However, the relation between language and magic is a very old one. In fact, most real-world magic systems (Kaballa, alchemism, voodoo etc) rely on the user saying a spell / incantation just so, otherwise the spell is useless. In many magic-systems there's also the element of rhyming.