Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Rippling Abs and Ripped Bodices

I can't help but notice that while fantasy is booming in YA, it's still not very prevalent in adult literature. It seems that there's a ton of alternate universes in popular young adult titles. I love that, since fantasy is my favorite genre. Why aren't mythical creatures booming in the adult section?

Right, because in adult fiction, fantasy seems to only be in the ROMANCE sextion. And that usually scares me off, while YA fantasy is "safe." Okay, sometimes too safe. *cough* fade to black *cough*

*giggle* "Sextion"! Maybe we shouldn't discuss adult lit. I don't think we're grown up enough to read it... *wink*

Anyway, does that mean that as adults Romance and Fantasy are the same? Being swept off your feet is akin to meeting a talking unicorn?

Um... what kind of unicorns are you talking about? *grins*

*snort* I meant like... Well.. Maybe that was a Freudian slip.

*nods knowingly* But, getting back to what you said about unicorns... I think that might be part of it. Could it also be that publishers don't think fantasy will be marketable with out the rippling abs on the cover?

Maybe, but I think it sells readers short to assume that we'll only want to suspend our belief in reality if it includes ripped bodices.

I wonder if maybe we're missing some great new adult fantasy books out there. Like Christopher Moore, for example. I haven't read his books, but I am intrigued. And we've all read Sookie. I looked for similar stories (without half-bared breasts on the cover) after I finished that series, but found none.

But Sookie IS kinda a romance...

Yes, Sookie is romance, but it's not over the top... unless you count book four. The thing is, a book can be sexy without being PORNOGRAPHIC.

True. And I do read some great adult fantasy. Terry Goodkind, Neil Gaiman, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Guy Gavriel Kay, Diana Gabaldon, Douglas Adams, and Anne Bishop are all AMAZING authors. Who aren't really part of our "popular" fiction lexicon.

I feel like these authors gain underground followings, but never quite make it to mainstream glory. You'll never see them as part of Oprah's Book Club.

Good point. Sometimes I forget those authors exist. (Except Neil Gaiman. I could never forget him.)

It's almost like there's something illicit about adult fantasy. You forget about it because it's not a tearjerker about the realities of war or a gritty crime drama. THOSE are the books that get all the attention.

I can understand that young readers may be more willing to suspend belief in reality, but I can't help but feel that as an adult I need to suspend my belief in reality far more than they do. I know how awful the real world is. Is a faerie queen on the NYT Bestseller's List too much to ask?

Maybe the fantasy-book-lovers are more of the fringe. I wonder if the boom in fantasy YA lit is going to change the landscape of adult lit as those readers mature. (Unless they just continue to read YA, like we do.)

*raised eyebrow* Are you implying that we are somehow outside of society's bell curve? *looks around at graphic novels, Twi-gear, and PS3 games littering my living room* Okay, I can see it.

So, how about this? What if the Whimsical Fic readers pick an adult (but not porn/romance/rippling-abs-on-the-cover) fantasy book for me to read. I'll read it and report back on a Reading Rainbow!

sidebra with unicorn horns: Just so you all know, I've already read the Black Dagger Brotherhood (or some of them). And I do consider that to be a little over the top - too far into the romance sextion. I'm not saying I didn't enjoy them... *ahem* but I want to stay in the Sookie realm of "adult."

I can't wait to hear your suggestions!


  1. ...uhhhh, hmmmm. Adult Fantasy Books. What are these Adult Fantasy Books ya'll are talking about? I am guessing you guys aren't wanting reqs for Star Wars or Star Trek books. Oh! Oh! Oh! Have you all read House of Leaves? Not so much a fantasy book as a WTF IS THIS $HIT? I would also req Wicked but I hated that damn boring book SO HARD (I'm sorry. I thought it sucked. Throw me off the book train now) Love the play though. Ok,I mean, I would probably love the play if I watched it. Ok, I love what little bits of the play I have seen during the Tony Awards. Ok, I admit I have never watched a Tony Award ceremony in my life. Ok, I have no desire to see the play. *waits for the Wicked brigade to drop a house on me*

    I see Marion Zimmer Bradley, Diana Gabaldon and Douglas Adams already being represented. Soooo, hmmm...I dunno. What about those Wheel of Time books? I hear good things about those...

    I didn't help any, did I?

  2. Molly (@Picksee77)April 7, 2010 at 1:14 PM

    I might cry-my big long comment just deleted itself-Stupid Computer!!! It's not liking my google sign-on for some reason.

    Let's try this again!

    I LOVE Christopher Moore-he's definitely a top 5 writer for me. He's hilarious! Of his fantasty books, I'd recommend the Bloodsucking Fiends trilogy. The first book's not great (it's his first), but the next two, Love Sucks & Bite Me are awesome. He's funny on twitter and his blog too. He's @theauthorguy

    Another adult fantasty series I recommend is the Anita Blake series by Laurell K Hamilton--but only the first 5 books or so, then they, for some weird reason, get all sexual. The first several are not at all-there's these tiny moments-but that's kind of it. Anita's a licensed vampire hunter and necromancer-and she's a total badass. She's her own woman and takes care of herself. But, she also gets involved with other supes-like vampires and wereanimals. It's a fun read. Oh, and ignore the cover and book titles-they sound like romance-but they're not (well, until book 8 or so, then they just get downright filthy). LK Hamilton writes other fantasy series too-but I've not checked them out yet. She's also on twitter: @LKHamilton she writes alot about her process, which is interesting.

    And, finally (I know you said one, but I'm on a role!) - my other favorite adult fantasy series is the Hollows series by Kim Harrison. They feature an AU with all supes out in the open, but the reason they "come out" is really kind of unique and interesting. The series focuses on Rachel Morgan, a witch, and her professional partner and roommate Ivy Tam, a vampire. Oh, and their other partner, Jenks, a pixy. They're kind of badasses too-but funny also. And, Rachel's a mess-she's not perfect at all and gets herself into a lot of trouble. It's a really fun series.


  3. Patricia McKillip... EVERYTHING SHE HAS EVER WRITTEN EVER. Seriously good. She writes more folklore types stories, but they are all brilliant. I love her.

    Also, Lilith Saintcrow, of STRANGE ANGELS glory, has an adult series that I am DYING to read -- Jill Kismet.

    And finally, if you haven't read Terry Pratchett, I'm not sure we can be friends until you do. He's the ultimate in hilarity. GOOD OMENS, which he wrote with Neil Gaiman, is the first book I've ever read to make me laugh out loud so much I had to put it aside to compose myself for a minute. HI-LA-RI-OUS.

  4. I'm with Heather on the Terry Pratchett/Neil Gaiman GOOD OMENS funny!!!

    As for BDB, I couldn't get past her website "extras"...things that should never-ever "spring forth" did...and yeah-no, sorry, not for me. :) But that's another blog entry all together. Phrases that should never be written when composing shmexy scenes.

  5. i am in the middle of reading the Rachel Morgan (the hollows series) books myself and have to agree with Molly. I am reading them on kindle and i am hooked

  6. OH SO MANY GOOD RECS! Okay, so I'm thinking of going with Christopher Moore, but then this is the third rec I've had for The Hollows series.... And Good Omens, I feel like I've read it - why haven't I read that? I think I have, but I'd remember, right? (I do have a HORRIBLE memory and forget books all the time until I buy them again and start to read them again.) I'm thinking Good Omens might be a good LONG plane flight book - I have a LONG plane flight coming up. Can I save it for that?

  7. Patricia Briggs - The Mercy Thompson series and Alpha and Omega series. Werewolves but you come away thinking less about the wolves and more about the people. Mercy is a shapeshifting, VW mechanic, loyal friend who will dive into anything for her friends, strong woman character - no wuss.


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