Is Epic Fantasy Dead?

Image result for epic lord of the rings wallpapers

You know, Epic Fantasy?  Like Lord of the Rings material?  Is there still a place for this in the world?

More and more, I feel like I see Romance, Mystery-Thrills, and Science Fiction on the rise…but not so much fantasy.  Sure, there’s Urban Fantasy, maybe some “Paranormal” Fantasy that mixes some hot romance in there.  But the ORIGINAL fantasy?  The O.G. of Fantasy?  Where’s that at?

People don’t seem to have much time for fantasy.  Especially in the United States, where NOBODY has any time, we seem to prefer those heart-pounding standalone novels.  Mystery-thrillers that pack a punch.  Steamy romances that appeal to our guilty pleasures (eww).  Or a combination of the two in the form of a sexy vampire (why are these so popular?).

My theory is that epic fantasy novels a) involve too much imagination for the modern American or b) are too long, because there are very few standalone fantasy novels.

But isn’t the imagination and creativity worth it?  Isn’t the sense of journey, the sense of companionship built between the characters and the reader worth it?

I personally love fantasy, and I’d love to see it come back full-throttle.  I’m not just talking about my own series; I’m saying I’d love to inspire people to literally get OUT of this world and write about something beautiful.  Where did this all go?

As always, I want to know, What do you think?

 

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19 thoughts on “Is Epic Fantasy Dead?”

  1. Fantasy has always been kind of niche. While sub-genres like the paranormal romance and the like have become more mainstream particularly for YA literature, high fantasy remains a really niche market with a few devotees who will continue to read through the classics and the very occasional modern release. The more difficult job is in finding a publisher willing to publish a straight fantasy these days.

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    1. I totally agree, especially on your last point there. Publishers are really only hungry for what will sell; thus, it becomes increasingly harder for fantasy to become more popular. It’s kind of an oxymoron

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t feel epic fantasy is dying. Given the popularity with Game of Thrones, there’s still a market for it, but new ideas will need to be presented. I think readers are tired of traditional epic fantasy, but if a writer comes along and puts a spin on it, I can see that getting attention.

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  3. I wish I could identify….my husband was the fantasy buff, though he leaned more to Harry Potter than Game of Thrones. I began professional life illustrator but never got those assignments nor reached for them. Real world stuff tends to tamp down fantasy, right? Maybe if we encouraged our kids (and grands) to think large and let themselves dream more than overstimulate and overschedule them, fantasy (of the good kind) would blossom. You’re a good, thoughtful writer and I know you will bring your work to market…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I do wonder if more men are interested in fantasy than women…just a thought. But I totally agree with you. Maybe we just make life way too busy for kids, they don’t have time to dream. It’s a sad thing to think about, but you have a point. And thank you! That means a lot to me 🙂

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  4. I don’t think epic fantasy is dying. I’ve always preferred epic fantasy to urban fantasy because of secondary worlds, personally, and I think that there’s a lot of demand for epic fantasy recently. This is purely anecdotal but I’m noticing that bookstores in my country are stocking more epic fantasy series than they used. I think a lot of awareness towards epic fantasy was generated by A Game of Thrones and it might become even more popular since there’s going to be a Wheel of Time tv series, as well as The Kingkiller Chronicles on movie and tv.

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    1. Really? That’s interesting. I agree with you with Game of Thrones, people keep bringing that up as an example of popular modern epic fantasy. You’re right, there’s definitely still a market for it. And yeah I wonder what the correlation is between epic fantasy novels being popular and fantasy novels becoming tv shows.

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  5. I don’t think epic fantasy is dead, and rather than beat the proverbial dead horse that Game of Thrones has become for this conversation, I would bring up examples such as the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series, and the various mythology-based series of Rick Riordan, such as the Percy Jackson and the Olympians and the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series. All of the aforementioned would, in my opinion, qualify as epic fantasy, and in the case of the latter, span not only several books, but several series as well. The story that begins in the Percy Jackson series, leads directly into the Heroes of Olympus series, which then leads directly into the Trials of Apollo series. Each series has its own self-contained storyline, but sets up the next series quite nicely.
    Now, I will admit, that these may be viewed by some as being more in the vein of Mortal Instruments, but to me, they fit more in with the likes of Harry Potter. Even if several characters within the stories are gray, the main heroes, while fallible humans, are still clear-cut good guys going up against rather clear-cut villains, even if part of the story is determining exactly who the villain is.

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    1. Well said! I honestly forgot about Rick Riordan’s stories. Those are a perfect example. You’re right in saying that epic fantasy might not be dead…perhaps, just under appreciated in today’s day and age?

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      1. I think what is often underappreciated isn’t necessarily the concept of epic fantasy, but the notion that the only way to truly experience it is to actually sit down and read it. There are those that do read, obviously, but all too often, I run into people who just watched the movies rather than read the books. The best film adaptations of most epic fantasies, (think Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter) pale in scope and grandeur to the original written works, and that doesn’t even take into account the changes made for reasons ranging from artistic license to time and budget constraints. Then you have stories like the first two Percy Jackson movies that had so little to do with the written stories they were derived from, they were barely recognizable when compared to the original works.

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      2. That’s a good point. Here another person was saying that epic fantasy is making a comeback BECAUSE different stories are earning tv show or movie adaptions. But that’s interesting that you think that might take away from it in the long run.

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      3. I don’t doubt that TV and movies help spur interest. They definitely have their place, and can be very entertaining. If not for the old animated versions of The Hobbit and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, I would never have bothered to read anything by Tolkien or Lewis. But yes, I would say that stopping with just someone else’s vision of a fantasy world pales in comparison to letting your mind build it for you. And since we’re specifically discussing epic fantasy, what’s truly more epic? A rich story that you can immerse yourself in for as long as it takes you to go from cover to cover or a 2 to 3 hour synopsis that may or may not accurately portray the story?

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  6. I hope fantasy isn’t dying. If it is, this is the first I’ve heard of it. That’s primarily what I read and it’s what I write. A Song of Ice and Fire is popular now because of Game of Thrones and Terry Brooks is finishing up his Shannara series. I think the genre has just evolved from the traditional Tolkien-style epic fantasy.

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    1. Hear hear! That’s what I read and write too. Honestly, I guess I was speaking more from a market perspective. It’s popular in some areas for sure, for authors who have already established themselves, but for rising authors it’s a lot harder. I’ve gotten rejection letters stating I just wasn’t in the right genre. Glad to meet another fantasy writer!

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      1. I suppose that’s true. I haven’t even got to the point of finishing my first epic fantasy novel. I’ve been working on it on and off for 5 years. Of course, I’ve messed around with urban fantasy, thrillers, and science fiction as well. Fantasy is just what I’m most comfortable writing.

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  7. You captured my exact thoughts from four years ago, when I first started Saga of Aelorad. I had tried to pick up some urban fantasy (Elantris, City of Bones, etc.) and realized that the critical elements I loved from Tolkien were missing: pure, deadly adventure.

    To critically analyze the genre, you have to take into account the level of work the average fantasy writer puts into their novels, the depth of their worlds, and their understanding of the critical archetypes. Too many authors try to inject the incorrect archetypes, social justice, strange allegory, or downright intangible elements that break the story.

    There is promise, however. When the drive of the author is to inspire with incredible work and ignore instant gratification, what comes out is pure magic. At least that’s what they told us in Fantasy Writing School. Or was it cocaine that overcomes it? I can’t remember.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow. You literally just spoke to my soul. And you hit the nail on the head. Beautifully said; I couldn’t agree more. It’s clear you know what fantasy writer’s are made of. Thanks so much for the comment!

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