Friday, 12 June 2015

The Fantasy Dilemma - Is There A Solution?

I originally posted this on the Edmonton Writers' Group Blog way back in January 2012. And while a couple of members (Natasha and Simon) were kind enough to comment on it, I still believe it is a question that needs solving. I haven't posted to this blog in a year, as nothing much has happened, and  I find writing about day-to-day events rather boring, after all this is Twitter.

So anyway here is my question ...

Having just finished the fourth book in the series by Chris Paolini I must say it was an interesting read. I found the world to be fairly well designed, but for the most part the story was way too long. Which brings to mind a bit of a curious question, that has been bugging me for many years and that so far nobody has ever been able to adequately answer. So now that our group has this little blog running, I thought I try once again to solve this little mystery.

Now I realize we don't have a whole lot of fantasy authors in the group, and while this message is directed at this genre, I trust that others will chime in.

So here it is:

"Why is it that fantasy authors (in general) seem to feel the need to create multivolume stories when just about every other genre seems to be able to tell a story in one book?"

Now I know the first thing your going to say is "because they are creating a whole new world" - okay fair enough, but so does every science fiction author, most mystery, adventure, and romance authors. In fact with the exception of historically based novels every author creates a new world to some extent. So why aren't these all multivolume tomes? Are they all trying to emulate J.R.R. Tolkien, or is it something else?

I agree that the Asimov's Foundation Trilogy; A. C. Clarke's 2001, 2010, 2060, & 3001; as well as the series by Ben Bova (one book for each planet) exist. However these are the exception, and I'm not whining about books set in the same universe (like those I just mentioned), I'm talking about those 3+ book series that are essentially one continuous story, sometimes with little or no break between volumes. Virtually every fantasy author seems to churn out multivolume sets - some to ridiculous lengths such as those by David Eddings and his ilk.

So why? Is it a bad case of authorial diarrhea?

Anyway getting back to Chris P. there are numerous examples in this last book where he spent inordinate amounts of time (writing wise that is) detailing each and every movement, that each person made during a fight sequence. This was unnecessary, and at times downright boring to read. In fact it reminds me somewhat of when I used to play Dungeon and Dragons and the rules say that during a fight sequence each round is 10 seconds long - think of life going in slow motion.

So that's my question. Anybody got any words of wisdom that'll solve it?


"Being A Scot" by Sir Sean Connery & Murray Grigor

Publisher:London [England] : Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2008. ISBN: 9780297855408 Characteristics: 311 pages :,illustrations (chiefly ...