Tag: tropes

Fantasy Tropes and Cliches – Beginning with the World

When someone says “epic fantasy” there is a general idea of what it will entail: woods and forests, elves and dwarves, adventurers and magicians and fighting and quests. All in a medieval-style setting. Possibly with dragons. 🙂 Tolkien is much to blame for this. But he isn’t alone.  Book after book after book falls into these same cliche’d storylines. Often, it is the plot that we blame.  We say it is poor storytelling.  But beyond plot, another way that we promote fantasy tropes and cliches is in our very worldbuilding.  Medieval setting? Elf land, dwarven mountains, major port city, a desert land occupied by nomads…all are things we have seen over and over. So perhaps, the best place to start when addressing cliches isn’t in the story, but the world itself.

🙂 Sarithus on Deviant Art says this all in a very simple, very amusing, and very true map. We give you the “Map of Clichea.”

Map of Clichea by Sarithus

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Why We Can’t Write Science Fiction Anymore

From the Rolling Stone interview with William Gibson:PlanetExpressShip

You made your name as a science-fiction writer, but in your last two novels you’ve moved squarely into the present. Have you lost interest in the future?

It has to do with the nature of the present. If one had gone to talk to a publisher in 1977 with a scenario for a science-fiction novel that was in effect the scenario for the year 2007, nobody would buy anything like it. It’s too complex, with too many huge sci-fi tropes: global warming; the lethal, sexually transmitted immune-system disease; the United States, attacked by crazy terrorists, invading the wrong country. Any one of these would have been more than adequate for a science-fiction novel. But if you suggested doing them all and presenting that as an imaginary future, they’d not only show you the door, they’d probably call security.

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