This Is My Genre Tag

I found this tag when the most splendiferous Mayri at Bookforager did it, and quickly decided I like it. It’s short and to the point, and allows you to say interesting things. So it’s time to do it.

ARTWORK by chic2view from 123RF.com

WHAT’S YER FAVOURITE GENRE?

Fantasy.

My second favourite genre is probably really bad fantasy.

Look, no harm to other genres. Many of them contain some of my favourite authors and many of them are things I’ve tried to get more into. There’s some great things in almost all of them. But none of them form part of my core like fantasy. I don’t care about the whole of other genres like I do fantasy.

Actually tell a lie, my second favourite genre is cookbooks, but you get the point. I’m all about the fantasy.

WHO’S YER FAVOURITE AUTHOR FROM THE FANTASY GENRE

Well just like Mayri, you can assume Pratchett goes without saying here.

Beyond that, the list is really rather lengthy. I have great memories, both from childhood and later, of Tolkien and Brian Jacques. I still like every author I discovered as a teen, but David Gemmell and Guy Gavriel Kay are the two whose work keeps growing and growing with me, and I’ll always champion Katherine Kerr and Jacqueline Carey. Recently I’ve tried to try as many authors as possible in some form, and discovered so many more authors, from some very old names to Hope Mirrlees, to some very new ones like Saad Z. Hossain and Aliette de Bodard, to inbetweeners I originally missed like Lois McMaster Bujold. The list is always growing and mutating but for now, that’s pretty accurate.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE FANTASY GENRE THAT KEEPS PULLING YOU BACK

Oh gosh. Well, so much for this being short.

Well, as much as anything it’s the people. Not that we’re some special breed apart or something. We’re just people, albeit usually people who see reality differently. But I have been consistently lucky to have passionate, knowledgeable, generous fantasy fans in my life. It makes a difference, so much so I decided to come on here to find some more.

Beyond that – look, fantasy is a great ravening chimera of a genre and double-edged in almost everything it does. There’s nothing more escapist than the idea of mentally viewing a whole different world, is there? Yet the ability to create those worlds allow us to slice right at the heart of real world issues without bothering with anything in between. Fantasy can plug us right into the most sacred and terrifying experiences our species have undergone, and it could be profoundly silly and satirical. It can wear the clothes of any other genre, it can take place in any time that was and even more that never were, and a dozen other nifty things besides.

And it can do it all in the same book.

I have to add that for all that I am impressed by what the fantasy genre can do, I do also return for some very specific reasons, chiefly adventures with sword and spell through anachronistic historical settings. It feels like that old time rock n’ roll is having a little lie down while other parts of the genre gets a day in the sun, but I’m sure it’ll be back. I also love riffs of myth, hidden worlds, elves in the trees, apocalyptic battles, immersive worldbuilding, holy warriors, troubled warriors, warriory warriors, and so on and so on…

WHAT IS THE BOOK THAT STARTED YOUR LOVE FOR THE FANTASY GENRE?

My parents read me and my sister The Hobbit back when I was… maybe eight? From there I went and found all of our old copies of The Lord of the Rings, found Brian Jacques’ Mossflower in the library, got given The Colour of Magic by a babysitter, found Eddings’ The Ruby Knight and Feet of Clay in the school library…

Also a big shout out to Fighting Fantasy. We were swapping those books in the playground, which probably also led me to Warhammer and the rest of it. Not every fantasy book is pure literature – those games can hook you just as much!

IF YOU HAD TO RECOMMEND AT LEAST ONE FANTASY BOOK TO A NON-READER, OR SOMEONE LOOKING TO START READING THIS GENRE, WHAT BOOK WOULD YOU CHOOSE AND WHY?

Well that all depends on the person, what they’re into, and so on. I tried making fairly comprehensive lists of recs for people getting into fantasy depending on *why* a bit ago – part one and part two here – and while they need updating probably something from there.

But to be a bit more specific, to give a general go to, unless I can see an obvious why not, I’d probably look at one of Lois McMaster Bujold’s Curse of Chalion, David Gemmell’s Sword in the Storm, or RJ Barker’s Age of Assassins. They all read smoothly, they all capture that classic fantasy experience while having their own flavour, they’re not overwhelmingly big, and they have big characters. But there’s so many options.

WHY DO YOU READ?

Uhm. What? It’s reading innit? Most fun you can have on your own without the neighbours shouting about the sound or smell, or having to shut the curtains. Cheaper than drugs too.

I dunno. I just do. It’s brill innit.

Consider your tagged if you so wish…

10 thoughts on “This Is My Genre Tag

      1. I started reading McKinley with The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword – and they’re both excellent (a kind of duology). I don’t know how easy they are to come by.
        Or I’d recommend Chalice. A very different starting place, and a much quieter story, but just as awesome. 🥰

        Liked by 1 person

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