There’s a new year coming, and we all want to build a better world for ourselves in 2016.
But worldbuilding means something else in fiction. YouTube brainiac Nerdwriter made a video on the dangers of worldbuilding, specifically in regards to Tolkien and other large scale fantasy worlds, and how it connects to the real world. See it after the cut, though he ends with a request for pledges. You’ve been warned.
This week on the podcast, the Geeks discussed what is and isn’t a geek property.
Now, I don’t want to cast aspersions over other people’s interests and definitions. I did not think Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl was a geek book. I wasn’t even convinced the main character was a geek character. A fan? Sure. No question. A geek? I didn’t think so. Why? I’ll expand on this a bit after the cut.
My wife is, as I have often said, not a Geek. She doesn’t like superheroes, Star Wars, science fiction, or a host of other things that routinely appear on this site. She has two exceptions. One is YA distopias. We always go see a new Hunger Games movie. Actually, that’s the only one she’s really interested in. She watched The Maze Runner but wasn’t overly impressed.
Her other, bigger weakness is high fantasy. If it’s based on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, she’ll be there. She loves Harry Potter. And, though it took me a lot of effort to convince her to give it a shot, she goes for Game of Thrones in a big way. Why did it take me so long to get her into that one? Well, I had to sell it for what it was: the opposite of Tolkien, and in a good way.
The sidekick. That often annoying individual that follows the hero around, sometimes useful, sometimes not. The character is a staple of genre fiction. But sometimes the sidekick is more interesting than the hero.
After the cut are a few such sidekicks that outrank their bosses in terms of personality. Who will make the cut?
We’ll start at the beginning, when he was writing straight parody humor of writers like JRR Tolkien and still finding his eventual voice for the series. The first book is The Color of Magic, one I actually have not read before, so this will be a new experience for me as well.
On a side note, while many of these novels are short, and most of them are a good, quick, fun read, I’m also an English teacher currently working my way through Infinite Jest, Shakespeare’s Othello and King John, A Canticle for Leibowitz, and the first of the Harry Bosch mystery novels, so I have no idea how often this column will appear, but for now, let’s see if we can get through the first one and go from there.
Picturing a fantasy setting might give a person of supposedly sound mind an image which revolves around something that came from the mind, pen, or fever dream of J.R.R. Tolkien, even if the person in question thinks that name belongs to a particularly odd Muppet. Or perhaps the idea is more of some sort of Game involving Thrones. Maybe King Arthur came off his flour bag to do his thing with Merlin or Galahad or people with names way cooler than anyone else you may know, provided you don’t know any chimps of the Link family (though, to be fair, he is a rather secretive chimp).
But fantasy usually just boils down to magic and the supernatural, and if The Ring taught us anything, and it didn’t, it is that magic and the supernatural can exist anywhere, which is where the Urban Fantasy subgenre comes in.