Jeffe Kennedy Blog
RITA ® Award-Winning Author of Fantasy Romance
Based on my memories from a panel, I think GGK bases all or most of his stories heavily on an actual thing/place. One of the reasons I never felt particularly compelled to read them.
However, I would rather have them all put in the umbrella of fantasy, than not (as long as they actually have some fantastic element). Because when they aren’t, it’s always with a sort of snobby overtone (“I don’t write FANTASY, *I* write magical realism”, for example). But once you get past the umbrella, there are certainly a lot of sub-genre distinctions that can be made. So outlander would be Historical Romantic Fantasy (i think, haven’t read it). Lions of Al-Rassan would be, I don’t know, Alternate Historical Fantasy? 7 kingdoms would be Alternate World Romantic Fantasy. A ghost story would be Contemporary Paranormal Fantasy (unless it’s horror, in which case you’d just add Horror to the end). This is off the top of my head; I’m sure there are additional ways it could be broken down. Light vs Hard. Adventure vs. Political vs. Fairy tale. Epic vs. Personal. I think this is where comparisons come in, because it’s much easier to say “I want more stuff like Green Rider” than it is to say “I want Alternate World Epic Adventure Female Heroine Multi-POV Fantasy” (speaking of – if you know anything that matches that description, let me know). And most of us read a lot of different genres and sub-genres anyways, so … *shrug*
Fantasy contains stuff that doesn’t/can’t exist (or at least, we believe it can’t). SF contains the future and/or a technology we don’t have currently but could plausibly develop (based on current knowledge at the time the story is written). Everything else is straight Fiction.
Those are excellent points – and I get tired, too, of some subgenres being treated as literary and more erudite than others. Very true on comparisons!
Lions is classic GGK. The man doesn’t make up new worlds but I love his books for their people and the way the POV zooms in and out of focus like you said. The cliffhangers are bit gimmicky though and I didn’t enjoy them when I first read Lions. The meandering nature of the storytelling is not something I want out of most authors though.
And I guess I don’t really have a stance on what should or should not be considered fantasy. I care more for if I liked it or not and only really feel cheated if the story was poorly written. I used to be a rabid fantasy/sci-fi fan but when I find authors I like nowadays, I’m willing to broaden my horizons. I enjoyed your Missed Connections stories even though it’s not a genre I would go seek out from an unknown author.
His characters really are great – nuanced and unusual. Even the non-POV women have depth to them. Amen to the gimmicky cliffhangers! They feel unworthy of the rest of the story.
This must be just me on the fantasy umbrella. I’m going to have to let this go!
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