There’s been a rush of talk recently about epic fantasy, as is usual, but between Twitter and blogs I’ve read a number of opinions and discussions and longer essays that focus on such issues as gritty, grimdark, rape, sexual violence, consensual sex, realism, gender, history, invisibility of women and people of color, marketing and store placement favoring male writers, and my old favorite excoriating the “crushing conservatism” of fantasy.
I wonder how great a range of voices I can hear and if I’m just hearing the same voices over and over (not that I mind them; they’re great).
(In fact, while I linked to a few above, please let me know of further links below)
The point of this post is to ask questions:
1) Do you read epic fantasy? Never, sometimes, often, depends?
2) What do you think epic fantasy does well? What do you think is missing from epic fantasy today? What would you like to see more of? Less of? What does epic fantasy mean to you, and where is it reaching its potential and where falling short?
One caveat. For those who give authors as example (which is fine) I’m going to count up how many references to men writers vs women writers because the one thing I can say for certain is that every conversation I have seen about epic fantasy skews heavily to references to men writers of the sub genre. I realize that this has a lot to do with sales and the simple fact that the bestselling authors in the subgenre are, by miles, men writers (and white male Western writers at that), but I just throw that out there.