Monarchy and Elitism In The Fantasy & SF Genre - Page 2


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Thread: Monarchy and Elitism In The Fantasy & SF Genre

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnCalliganWrites View Post
    If someone is not going to use King, Chief, President, Senator, Governor, Duke, Prince, Princess... and instead just use some made up word, and then it turns out that said word just means "King," I'm going to groan. It's only barely creative to smash sounds together to invent a new word that means the same thing as a word we all know in English. A new word really needs a new idea, and a new idea about Government that isn't even a part of the story isn't my thing. I don't want to read all about how the settlers were ordained by angels to name their leader (elected by the landless, second born children of families with storytellers and scribes), the Vipper, especially when the Vipper is nothing but a Chief or King. The very act of using a made up word for something that has a plain word is hokey, and if by chance the writer can make it cool, it still only breaks even unless it is a part of the story.

    It's worse when you are in a fantasy setting, because the vast majority of stories are travel logs, or take place over a couple of days. So let's say the world has a democracy instead of a kingdom, who votes? When do they vote? Do people in the Hinterland travel in to vote a couple times a year, or are city people only allowed to vote and they treat the farmers like serfs? If that's the case, who makes decisions? Are their codified laws for everything magical, or is there some public official who has the power to handle business until he comes up for review at the moot? During the time frame of the story, does this person just act like a Duke or King? Do the character wish there was a moot they could go to, but they can't because the whole story is one week long, or on a boat, or something? So then is the writer going to have this whole drama of discontent with politics in the mind of the main character for no reason, other than to explain why they aren't just dealing with a King?

    I'm not saying that stories about democracies are bad or boring, just that in a large number of story types, which aren't even about government at all, it makes no sense to waste words on it.
    I think Iím less concerned with stories set in worlds built on monarchy/dictatorship/social class and more bothered by stories that are told from that perspective, especially when itís extremely dominant.

    For example, A Song Of Icee And Fire/Game Of Thrones (TV show or book, for this conversation either applies) is narrowly obsessed with the intricacies of royalty ó its in the title. Not knocking the books, but I do wish fantasy authors would knock it off. When I watched the TV show in particular I found myself wondering about what life was like in Westeros from a ďnormalĒ perspective. As it is, itís hardy even mentioned. The peasantry are just there as sort of toys.

    Again, thatís fine in that book, because that is what that book is about and itís fairly realistic about the moral bankruptcy of most power grabbers, which I like. However the pervasiveness of this trend annoys me. The constant pity parties that are thrown for these entitled pricks who think that because they arenít as bad as the overlord who is cutting off heads somehow they should rule, that the reader/audience should root for them. Itís extremely lazy and poor messaging. I donít mind the idea of autocracy being explored or just there in the background in a story, but I really hate the glorification. Even in kids TV shows we see the constant propping up of Kings and stuff ó Disney is rife with it of course ó and I see it as generally pathetic. Iím not at all interested in reading fantasy books that involve kids, Godís, Dukes, Princes...or assistant store managers
    Deactivated due to staff trolling. Bye!

  2. #12
    You might like 'A read for the Train', most of my central characters (Let's not call them heroes) are deviants of some sort, in 'A Family business' they actually kill the opposition and cut him up in the shower before disposing of him, in 'Yard dog' they are a family of burglars. I have to stop writing this autobiographical stuff
    Hidden Content

    A whole swathe of entertainment, all sorts of lengths, all sorts of stories, all with that 'Olly' twist.

  3. #13
    I think the monarchy structure fits into our classical western sense of mythology which tends to adopt images and lifestyles of the middle/dark ages when Europe was a chaos of warring kingdoms. Fantasy and SF rely on those archetypal mythologies to suspend our disbelief and the feudal structure just goes along with it. But I also think KHK nailed it with his/her theory of lazy writing. There is no reason that we could not use mythological images or create a kind of medieval fantasy with different, even advanced social structures. It would be far more interesting and believable.

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by TL Murphy View Post
    I think the monarchy structure fits into our classical western sense of mythology which tends to adopt images and lifestyles of the middle/dark ages when Europe was a chaos of warring kingdoms. Fantasy and SF rely on those archetypal mythologies to suspend our disbelief and the feudal structure just goes along with it. But I also think KHK nailed it with his theory of lazy writing. There is no reason that we could not use mythological images or create a kind of medieval fantasy with different, even advanced social structures. It would be far more interesting and believable.
    There is literally nothing more believable than a strongman using conquered land and arranged marriages to bribe warlords into riding under his banner.

  5. #15
    Most nations that have ever existed have been monarchies. With occasional exceptions, monarchs generally did a reasonably-decent job governing these nations as well. The current fad of real or feigned democracy is a very recent trend, and one not very common (or very successful) outside the Western world at that.

    So I think it's only logical that the majority of fantasy nations tend to be monarchies, especially in light of their typical quasi-Medieval or Early Modern setting, when monarchy was a near-universal form of government.

    I figure the reason why fantasy kingdoms tend to be overly whimsical and positive places is escapism. I think one of the reasons why people read fantasy novels is the desire to escape the bleak realities of their lives into a world where things are much simpler and better - the good always win, the wicked are always punished, the hero marries the princess and everyone lives happily ever after. Personally I prefer dark fantasy with its much more bleaker, grittier portrayal of monarchies that is also truer to what they were really like historically.

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by TL Murphy View Post
    I think the monarchy structure fits into our classical western sense of mythology which tends to adopt images and lifestyles of the middle/dark ages when Europe was a chaos of warring kingdoms. Fantasy and SF rely on those archetypal mythologies to suspend our disbelief and the feudal structure just goes along with it. But I also think KHK nailed it with his/her theory of lazy writing. There is no reason that we could not use mythological images or create a kind of medieval fantasy with different, even advanced social structures. It would be far more interesting and believable.
    Tim

    It goes back to the Greeks and Homer. He wrote about the dysfunctional family. Agamemnon's return home finds his wife shaking someone else, with both of them plotting to kill him. His daughter up set and out to kill him after killing her sister Ipegema on the alter for the goddess Artemis. He brings home another woman, Cassandra. Who tells him he won't live. He doesn't believe her. His son take revenge on his mother and her boy friend for killing the father. I think then he kills himself. It's a regular soap opera. Stay tuned for next week.

    a poet friend
    RH Peat

  7. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    I’m not at all interested in reading fantasy books that involve kids, God’s, Dukes, Princes...or assistant store managers
    Precisely the reason I wrote my fantasy from the perspective of a toymaker who takes on the world with minimal chance of success.


    Hidden Content Monthly Fiction Challenge


    The first cut don't hurt at all
    The second only makes you wonder
    The third will have you on your knee
    s
    - Propaganda, "Duel"

    *

    Is this fire, or is this mask?
    It's the Mantasy!
    - Anonymous








  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by CyberWar View Post
    With occasional exceptions, monarchs generally did a reasonably-decent job governing these nations as well. The current fad of real or feigned democracy is a very recent trend, and one not very common (or very successful) outside the Western world at that.

    So I think it's only logical that the majority of fantasy nations tend to be monarchies, especially in light of their typical quasi-Medieval or Early Modern setting, when monarchy was a near-universal form of government.

    I figure the reason why fantasy kingdoms tend to be overly whimsical and positive places is escapism. I think one of the reasons why people read fantasy novels is the desire to escape the bleak realities of their lives into a world where things are much simpler and better - the good always win, the wicked are always punished, the hero marries the princess and everyone lives happily ever after. Personally I prefer dark fantasy with its much more bleaker, grittier portrayal of monarchies that is also truer to what they were really like historically.
    Saying monarchs generally did a reasonably-decent job at governing and then saying a bleaker portrayal of monarchies is truer to what they were really like historically seems contradictory. Isn't the truth that monarchies have always been by their very design exploitative and unpleasant? I suppose you could still say the monarch did a 'good job in governing' in the sense that they maintained order, but I can't say I vibe with that evaluation. By that same token, Nazi Germany also did a good job in governing. But I suspect that's a matter of difference over what individual assessors deem as a government doing a 'good job'. Certainly, we don't need to discuss politics.

    BUT I would nevertheless disagree strongly that the reason authors tend to like monarchical structures is because they feel they are more realistic. This is fantasy, after all, realism isn't supposed to be high on the list of priorities. And even if it is, I don't think it's the reason. I think most fantasy authors go to monarchy as a default (again, my issue isn't really the existence of monarchy in a fantasy world but the focus on the monarch, the fussying over the 'realm') because it's a trope that almost feels expected at this point. Additionally, it's easier to write a story about a kingdom and convey drama when it is told from the perspective of the higher-ups: More immediate exposure to the big-picture, higher-stakes, etc.

    I maintain that is lazy. Also often irrelevant in 2020 when traditional social status means so little. Occasionally you get a clever take, a king who resembles a contemporary dictator or other public figure, but mostly it's the same old power-struggle-in-the-middle-ages crap.

    Quote Originally Posted by bdcharles View Post
    Precisely the reason I wrote my fantasy from the perspective of a toymaker who takes on the world with minimal chance of success.
    That sounds good! Is it out yet?
    Deactivated due to staff trolling. Bye!

  9. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    That sounds good! Is it out yet?
    Thanks! Not out yet. I've been trying the traditional routes but 2020 is the year - pending one more response which has about 2 weeks left on it - I either self-pub or go indie.


    Hidden Content Monthly Fiction Challenge


    The first cut don't hurt at all
    The second only makes you wonder
    The third will have you on your knee
    s
    - Propaganda, "Duel"

    *

    Is this fire, or is this mask?
    It's the Mantasy!
    - Anonymous








  10. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by bdcharles View Post
    Thanks! Not out yet. I've been trying the traditional routes but 2020 is the year - pending one more response which has about 2 weeks left on it - I either self-pub or go indie.
    2020's my year too. Best of luck!
    Deactivated due to staff trolling. Bye!

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