It feels like every day that I read another professional -- whether an agent, writer, publisher, or editor -- complaining about too much fantasy being derivative of other works. One today was from Paul Goat Allen and it went, "As a full-time book reviewer, I’ve read a lot of fantasy over the last few decades – and a sizable percentage of it is derivative (...) imitation.", this coming just after Patrick Rothfuss said, "...more and more people are finally realizing that there's more to fantasy stories than elves and wizards and goblin armies."
Now I totally understand why many if not most pros feel this way (though I do believe they are exaggerating on at least Tolkienesque fantasies; I have blogged in the past about how few Tolkienesque fantasy books there are to be found if one actually looks for them). My objection comes from the fact that publishing is supposed to be about making money. It shouldn't matter one bit whether every publishing pro in the world (as well as many readers) hates derivative fantasy; as long as there are lots of fantasy readers who do love it then it should be published. The problem is that I think the pros are screening out a ton of such fantasy that readers like myself wish to read.
My advice to these publishing pros: go ahead and look down your nose at it, but stop rejecting derivative fantasy just because you dislike it. Derivative fantasy can still be great, such as the Iron Tower trilogy by McKiernan, and there are far more fans of it out here than you realize. A whole bunch of us happen to love elves and wizards and goblin armies.
April 2017 Lightspeed Magazine Now Available
1 hour ago