Admit it, some books are better than others. And not just because a certain author makes a better work with words than his or her fellow companions. Sometimes, it comes down to a purely emotional reaction to the setting. The Hobbit Shire, the Shannara world, Locke Lamora and his band of thieves. So if you had to choose, what is your ideal type of fantasy, as a reader and as a writer?
There are many ways the world of fantasy is realized. You have the classic quest type with diverse characters, almost good enough to be featured on a promotional poster by the human resources department in your minority-friendly company. Then, there’s magic and dragons and lore, and often you get a villain of yore coming back into the world to visit revenge. Low and high fantasy, kings and orphans, pseudo-evil anti-heroes and bad guys with emotions. Amidst all this color and imagination and the plethora of cliches, you will find your sweet cushion of gushy nostalgia, warmth and love that will make you ignore the finer details of prose. For instance, Frodo is unto older folks what Harry Potter is unto newer generations, and you can’t argue the point with anything even remotely approaching logic.
As an author, I find myself in a tricky situation. I do not have a favorite setting. As a reader, most definitely, yes, but when it comes to creating new works, I focus on characters. Perhaps there, I sin a couple of usual sins. My protagonists happen to be flawed, realistic, without any clearly defined good or evil about them. Other than that, I can’t find shelter in any typical fantasy world scenario. And while there will always be a soft spot in my heart for Alec and Seregil, Frodo and Bilbo, Locke, Shannara, early Rand al’Thor and brooding Ned Stark, my own writing will probably reflect some deeper, darker inner truth. If you care about this kind of thing, do express yourselves in the comments. Or not. So long, and thanks for all the fish. Or something.