Turn on thread page Beta
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    It didn't sink in when I first read him either - read the first couple when younger, liked them (they had swords and spells in). Then got lent Faith of the Fallen when I was about 16. Some people can distance themselves from the 'message' of a book, film, etc. I can't - its usually a big part what makes a book worth reading for me.

    I know what you mean about empty characters - this is why I like the Moorcock eternal champion stuff I'm reading at the moment. Its all about the central character, incredible stuff. There's no one quite like Elric. And Rand Al'Thor - absolutely. Dull as anything. I admit I own all the WoT books, its a ripping yarn - but not much else. Goodkind's characters are better, but there are others who are as good, without the sickening ideologising.

    The academic attitude to genre fiction, as opposed to literary fiction, is a tough one. I tend to think in terms of there being two 'types' of book/film - loosely speaking, entertainment and art. Entertainment being exciting and gripping and easy to follow etc, art being 'message' - themes and ideas, depth etc. Obviously not that much stuff is one or the other - the very best books or films are brilliant at both, and something thats all 'message' without entertainment is dry and pointless. I think that the majority of people want entertainment over art most of the time, and thats why genre fiction is more read than literary fiction. There's not a lot of point in academics paying lots of attention to entertainment - but the problem is that genre fiction tends to get dismissed as entirely entertainment, which isn't true. Both fantasy and sci-fi (I don't read enough in other genres to comment on them) have works of great depth in them.

    I love the power of truly imaginative SF in particular - I don't think I could ever get tired of it. That said, I've yet to read anything in genre fiction that comes anywhere close to the power and depth of 'Midnight's Children' or 'Shalimar the Clown'. Then again, I suppose I haven't read anything that comes close in literary fiction either - Rushdie is a little exceptional.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I like 'crazy' storylines. Where you feel that the author has really completely let loose on every level and the book has really plumbed the depths of a character and a world. It's a truly amazing feeling.

    You know, I haven't read a single literary fiction book which I've properly enjoyed. Well, I like some of the classics, but modern literary fiction.. I think, more than anything, I havne't been willing to try. The problem is, I read the blurb and think 'god this sounds SO boring'. I do this with all books. Plus, I have a really short attention span. A book has to grab me by the first chapter, definitely. Sometimes a book can be so well-written that the characters and plot are lost in the beautiful words.

    I used to think romance was a super-tame genre, but that was before I read it. I think that fantasy explodes in terms of significant plotlines. You get 'OMG the world is going to DIE if you don't do x' in most fantasy books. It's hard to explain why romance is really imaginative, despite it being very formulaic in other respects (like the happy ending--a requisite). I think historical romance particularly reaches the greatest highs and lows. Reading it is more of an experience than anything--if it's done well, the reader should go on the same emotional journey as the couple (most often, the reader's emotions move up and down with the hero--heroes are more important in romance than heroines). Suffice to say when I show my friends blurbs of some of my romance novels they go 'you read books with the weirdest plotlines in the world'. Storylines done to death in romance include things such as girls dressing up as boys and getting jobs as cabin boys on ships captained by notoriously promiscuous pirate, and so forth. Oh, and also the marrying the guy who's about to be executed the next day. That's been done quite a lot too. I suppose it's all about finding love in the most unlikely situtations. And romance heroes can be so bad! One quintessential romance hero is the Duke of Avon from Georgette Heyer's 'These Old Shades'. He provokes the heroine's father into publicly committing suicide.

    Oh, and Kushiel's Dart has no political message. Actually, it's probably more like a cross between George R. R. Martin's 'Song of Ice and Fire' series and Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts' 'Empress' Trilogy. My comparison to Goodkind is more to do with the really strong, and very odd female protagonist. Truly an original. Not so many swords and spells though (and this is the stuff I love). Lots of intrigue and sex though.

    Have you got a specific recommendation for a character-based fantasy by the way? Really dying to read fantasy now!
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by panda11)
    I really don't like fantasy... Thank God it's not on the syllabus for English at Cambridge!
    hmmm....while defining fantasy is pretty tricky, i would suggest that Gulliver's Travels, Frankenstein and 1984 (but is that on the course?) to name but three could all be called in some way 'fantastical'??
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Ok ok I admit I was generalising a little - but I'd define Frankenstein as Gothic and 1984 as Satire/Sci-Fi (haven't read G.T.). 'Fantasy' for me includes LOTR, The Hobbit, most things by Garth Nix, those novels by Marianne Curley, Harry Potter, and generally books with lots of made-up places/names/worlds, armies of elves/goblins/trolls/fairies and heroic "quests". I used to like Philip Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy when I was younger though.
    Offline

    6
    ReputationRep:
    Argghh, literature! I tend to read fantasy if and when I read, being Discworld, but I haven't actually read a full fiction book since September! I think Folklore/Fairytales would be down my sort of ally, old stories, the basis of literature - However I am a lazy procrastinator so I haven't taken this up (and some people claim to be procrastinators on here, amateurs! )

    I think there was a period of about 5 years when I only read 3 books maximum, I can't actually recall if I even did anything from when I was about 9 until I was 14
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by sassygirl)
    I like 'crazy' storylines. Where you feel that the author has really completely let loose on every level and the book has really plumbed the depths of a character and a world. It's a truly amazing feeling.

    You know, I haven't read a single literary fiction book which I've properly enjoyed. Well, I like some of the classics, but modern literary fiction.. I think, more than anything, I havne't been willing to try. The problem is, I read the blurb and think 'god this sounds SO boring'. I do this with all books. Plus, I have a really short attention span. A book has to grab me by the first chapter, definitely. Sometimes a book can be so well-written that the characters and plot are lost in the beautiful words.

    I used to think romance was a super-tame genre, but that was before I read it. I think that fantasy explodes in terms of significant plotlines. You get 'OMG the world is going to DIE if you don't do x' in most fantasy books. It's hard to explain why romance is really imaginative, despite it being very formulaic in other respects (like the happy ending--a requisite). I think historical romance particularly reaches the greatest highs and lows. Reading it is more of an experience than anything--if it's done well, the reader should go on the same emotional journey as the couple (most often, the reader's emotions move up and down with the hero--heroes are more important in romance than heroines). Suffice to say when I show my friends blurbs of some of my romance novels they go 'you read books with the weirdest plotlines in the world'. Storylines done to death in romance include things such as girls dressing up as boys and getting jobs as cabin boys on ships captained by notoriously promiscuous pirate, and so forth. Oh, and also the marrying the guy who's about to be executed the next day. That's been done quite a lot too. I suppose it's all about finding love in the most unlikely situtations. And romance heroes can be so bad! One quintessential romance hero is the Duke of Avon from Georgette Heyer's 'These Old Shades'. He provokes the heroine's father into publicly committing suicide.

    Oh, and Kushiel's Dart has no political message. Actually, it's probably more like a cross between George R. R. Martin's 'Song of Ice and Fire' series and Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts' 'Empress' Trilogy. My comparison to Goodkind is more to do with the really strong, and very odd female protagonist. Truly an original. Not so many swords and spells though (and this is the stuff I love). Lots of intrigue and sex though.

    Have you got a specific recommendation for a character-based fantasy by the way? Really dying to read fantasy now!
    Well, if you ever want literary fiction with a gripping first chapter, try the afore-mentioned 'Shalimar the Clown' - its the latest one by Salman Rushdie. Or 'The Wasp Factory' by Iain Banks, which is more literary fiction because it isn't anything else, rather than being highbrow.

    Character based fantasy - like I said, Michael Moorcock's Elric books, starting with 'Elric of Melnibone'. Oh, and the 'Chronicles of Thomas Covnenant' by Stephen Donaldson if you want something really deep - Thomas Covenant has to be one of the best fantasy characters ever. Romance just doesn't appeal I'm afraid. Not my kind of escapism.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by panda11)
    Ok ok I admit I was generalising a little - but I'd define Frankenstein as Gothic and 1984 as Satire/Sci-Fi (haven't read G.T.). 'Fantasy' for me includes LOTR, The Hobbit, most things by Garth Nix, those novels by Marianne Curley, Harry Potter, and generally books with lots of made-up places/names/worlds, armies of elves/goblins/trolls/fairies and heroic "quests". I used to like Philip Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy when I was younger though.
    Well, there's a lot more to fantasy than that. Everything you've named, with the possible exception of Marianne Curley who I've never heard of, is actually a children's book! Dark Materials is more than a children's book though, its very good and pretty deep.
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    what is "literary fiction"? - a term used to group together all fiction? - these terms are completely arbitary!
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by panda11)
    Ok ok I admit I was generalising a little - but I'd define Frankenstein as Gothic and 1984 as Satire/Sci-Fi (haven't read G.T.). 'Fantasy' for me includes LOTR, The Hobbit, most things by Garth Nix, those novels by Marianne Curley, Harry Potter, and generally books with lots of made-up places/names/worlds, armies of elves/goblins/trolls/fairies and heroic "quests". I used to like Philip Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy when I was younger though.

    I thought 1984 was dystopian? Or is that just a category of books made up by my teacher? (My mum swears it's not a real word)
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    i would agree that 1984 is dystopian, as is gulliver , btw. but surely a utopia is a kind of fantasy?
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Toscar)
    i would agree that 1984 is dystopian, as is gulliver , btw. but surely a utopia is a kind of fantasy?
    Yes, in a way it is, but different from the hobbity-elfy-dragony world of typical fantasy work. The point of Sir Thomas More's Utopia was that the place he described could NEVER exist. The title comes from Greek, which depending on how you translate it, either means "Good/perfect place" or "No place." I think it's generally believed that he meant the latter because he was implying that the religious and political freedom in the book (which I haven't read ) could never be reality. Therefore to call books which are the opposite of utopia "dystopian," which when translated means "bad place" ignores the actual meaning of utopia itself.

    Or something like that.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    Dystopian is a description rather than a genre - quite a lot of SF is dystopian. 1984 isn't fantasy in the normal sense.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Toscar)
    what is "literary fiction"? - a term used to group together all fiction? - these terms are completely arbitary!
    Literary fiction is a standard term used to describe fiction that isn't genre fiction - highbrow fiction, basically.
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by wanderer)
    Literary fiction is a standard term used to describe fiction that isn't genre fiction - highbrow fiction, basically.
    sorry to keep asking seemingly inane questions, but what is highbrow fiction? as in the stuff kept on classics shelves at book shops?
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Loocy)
    Yay someone else named Lucy :yy: You should come to Cambridge so we can have fun sharing the same name!

    I have had too much to drink

    Hiya drunken Lucy :p:
    What you up to at Cambridge? I'm gonna be a vet but swaying towards Liverpool atm. I wouldn't be surprised if you're also a wannabe vet, they are all called Lucy! (3 on here, 2 others i know... obviously a 'sign' not that we have a common name!)
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by lisa_2k)
    so if you get edinburgh youll be rejecting cambridge?
    Ideally, but boooooo I was rejected from Edinburgh .
    They said that if I don't have other offers in the summer I might be able to get in on the waiting list- not sure whether to jack in my Liverpool and Cambridge offers + take that gamble, have my heart set on Edinburgh!
    Will probably end up at Liverpool though- no.1 rated vet school esp for teaching quality. And i'm afraid to say- in my opinion- a much cooler city (this might be because when I go to Cambridge it's to visit my old old auntie n we obviously don't go down the student union!), and think Liverpool will be a bit more like 'real life' rather than going to a larger version of the Grammar school I'm at, in a city that seems like a larger version of Stratford on Avon (where I live!)
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by wanderer)
    Well, if you ever want literary fiction with a gripping first chapter, try the afore-mentioned 'Shalimar the Clown' - its the latest one by Salman Rushdie. Or 'The Wasp Factory' by Iain Banks, which is more literary fiction because it isn't anything else, rather than being highbrow.

    Character based fantasy - like I said, Michael Moorcock's Elric books, starting with 'Elric of Melnibone'. Oh, and the 'Chronicles of Thomas Covnenant' by Stephen Donaldson if you want something really deep - Thomas Covenant has to be one of the best fantasy characters ever. Romance just doesn't appeal I'm afraid. Not my kind of escapism.
    It's all a matter of taste really. I'll be sure to check out 'Shalimar the Crown' and have a look at the fantasy books you recced. I have such a huge book-buying list at the moment. My parents disapprove of me reading so much, so they make me ration my book-buying. Hence, I spend ages deciding what books to buy. My birthday's in 2 weeks and I hope I'll be able to SPLURGE then!
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Toscar)
    sorry to keep asking seemingly inane questions, but what is highbrow fiction? as in the stuff kept on classics shelves at book shops?
    I used to work in a bookshop. Classics meant the authors were dead. Everything else went in general fiction. Incidentally, I worked in the bookshop opposite Trinity College, Heffers. I expect everyone will make a trip there once they get to Cambridge.

    http://books.guardian.co.uk/departme...,87980,00.html

    That's modern literary fiction.

    Classics also count as literary.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Helenia)
    I thought 1984 was dystopian? Or is that just a category of books made up by my teacher? (My mum swears it's not a real word)
    It is, I just read the word being used to describe a book in 'The Guardian'.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I just read "The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy" I thought it was very good, but a bit of a disappointing ending:rolleyes:
 
 
 
Reply
Submit reply
Turn on thread page Beta
Updated: October 19, 2014
Poll
Black Friday: Yay or Nay?

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.