#BlogHop – Favorite Genre

This is the fourth installment of the #BlogHop for #Writers hosted by Ruth Snyder!  This week’s topic is “My Favorite Genre.”

I posted about my favorite genre way back in 2011, and honestly, not much has changed.  Fantasy remains my favorite, hands down.  I do read science fiction, nonfiction, some YA and realistic fiction, but fantasy is my realm. I’m not especially picky about which subset of fantasy it is either.  Urban, swords-and-sorcery, traditional epic, dark, paranormal romance, remade fairy tales, or any combination of the above…I enjoy them all.

The first book I remember reading was D’Aulair’s Book of Greek Myths when I was four.  I also remember my Dad reading books of fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson, most of which are rather dark fare for children.  But with fairy tales, no matter how gruesome things get, the hero (or heroine) always beats the odds.  Evil-doers are punished and the good are rewarded.  There is a direct relationship between ones actions and the consequences that appeals to my sense of justice, and tends to carry over into the rest of fantasy.

Modern fantasy has gotten much darker, perhaps even too dark at times.  But the stories and authors that I love the most never lost that sense of fair play and wonder that captivated me as a child.  Mercedes Lackey, C.S. Friedman, Barbara Hambly, Jim Butcher, Simon R. Green, Elizabeth Haydon, and R.A. Salvatore all explore different aspects and takes on traditional fantasy mores that help enrich the genre.  Some find fantasy too repetitive or stifling (I’ve certainly found a lot of teen paranormal romances to be that way), but I enjoy the comfort of what is familiar and delight in seeing how authors will take that familiarity and stand it on its head.  For example, you can find dragons in many different fantasy novels.  But being a dragon is about the only thing that they have in common:

In The Halfblood Chronicles by Mercedes Lackey and Andre Norton, dragons are a fully sentient race capable of shapeshifting and molding rock, but have emotions, desires, and speech very similar to their human counterparts.  They think, feel, love, and hate much like we do.

In The Winterlands Quartet by Barbara Hambly, dragons are deeply alien beings, tied to the music of their names, unique in coloring with thought processes very unlike our own.  Their love of gold is not from the perceived monetary value, but from the music inherent in its essence that soothes them.

In The Symphony of Ages series by Elizabeth Haydon, dragons are one of the Firstborn Races, born of the Earth, immortal and elemental.  There are relatively few of them and they usually remain hiding deep within the earth.  One did change into the form of a human and gave birth to half-human, half-dragon children before returning to her own form and her own lair.  They are not as human as Lackey’s dragons but not as alien as Hambly’s.

The dragons of Anne McCaffrey’s Pern novels aren’t actually natural creatures at all, but genetically engineered from an indigenous species known as fire-lizards to help combat the deadly parasitic Thread that falls from a nearby planet every few decades.  They are more intelligent than horses or dogs, but are dependent on the psychic link with their riders.  The origin of the dragons and the lack of magic makes Pern more part of science fiction than fantasy…but it still has dragons and shows another way that the traditionally magical beasts can be used.

Just with these few examples, you can see the wonderful ideas that can spring out of what appears to be an old stereotype on the surface.  And I think that’s part of why I love fantasy so much and have continued favoring it for over two decades:  it offers a fresh new way of looking at the familiar and finding the wonder within.

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13 responses to “#BlogHop – Favorite Genre

  1. i get what you mean. i enjoy seeing how people take the same old thing and give it a new spin. the only thing i can think of to reference for myself is vampires. i’ve read too many vampire books and really like seeing the differences that spring up. stephanie meyers is really the most out there. though in some cases i think her versions are silly, at least she made them her own. 🙂

    • It’s interesting how different aspects of fantasy grab public imagination and start popping up everywhere. Vampires definitely are a good example. I’m not fond of the Stephanie Meyer version of vampires myself (because there doesn’t seem to be any downside to being a vampire), but the variety is impressive. My personal favorites for vampiric interpretations are Alucard from the manga series “Hellsing” and Ysidro from Barbara Hambly’s “Those Who Hunt The Night.”

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      • huh, i haven’t read those yet. i’ve read twilight, the vampire diaries, dracula and trueblood. i own interview with a vampire but haven’t read it yet. maybe i’ll check out these others you’ve listed 🙂

    • Greek myths are so classic and such fun to adapt. Glad to hear your play went well! Parody is hard to pull off. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Kat, thanks for sharing your favourite genre with us. I haven’t read a lot of fantasy, perhaps because I tend to be a very sensitive person, easily depressed by the darker side of things. I find it interesting how each of us has unique interests. It’s a good thing, because readers like a wide variety of books to read 🙂

    • No problem, Ruth! The variety of books is a wonderful thing and I’m glad that there’s something out there for everyone. Not all fantasy is dark and depressing, but more modern books can be a little brutal, so I can understand some people giving it a pass. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  3. We share an affinity for the Brothers Grimm and Jim Butcher. I’m more of an urban, alternative history fantasy person like Charles de Lint (absolutely haunting) or Kim Harrison’s Hollows series. Thanks for the post!

    • Urban fantasy is wonderful! I read “The Onion Girl” by Charles de Lint and loved it! And if you like him and Jim Butcher, try reading “A Madness of Angels” by Kate Griffin. That has some of the most beautiful writing I’ve ever come across. I also really like the “Hawk & Fisher” series by Simon R. Green.

      Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting!

  4. Interesting look at the different take on dragons! Have you read Seraphina?

    I came back to reading fantasy with the Wheel of Time series, then to reading Brandon Sanderson. R.A. Salvatore is on my list to try, but the list is so long 😦

    • Thanks! No, I haven’t read Seraphina, but I like the name!

      I tried reading the Wheel of Time once, but I think I tried tackling it when I was too young. Maybe one day I’ll try again. If you want to read R.A. Salvatore, start with The Dark Elf Trilogy (Homeland, Exile, & Sojourn.) Those are, I think, his best books with his most famous character, Drizzt. Those were the ones I started with.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Janet!

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