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My new least-favourite fantasy trope
delirium pissed off
rho
I am currently reading Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey, since it came highly recommended to me by phoenixdreaming. It's not a bad book. The characterisation is decent, the prose is lucid and evocative, and the plotting – if a little slow moving for my taste – is well worked. It hasn't yet wowed me, but I'm certainly enjoying it.

(Now watch out; here comes the great big "but" you knew was coming.)

There's one thing that I have to ask, though: is there some sort of rule stating that all fantasy novels must feature BDSM these days? Now don't get me wrong, I like a good bit of BDSM as much as the next immoral kinky pervert, but if things have reached the stage where I think "oh look, another fantasy novel with BDSM" with a yawn and an eye-roll then I take that as a sign that something isn't right.

I'm not so prudish that I never want to read about sex, but sometimes I'm just not in the mood to read about erotic knifeplay or humiliation, and doubly not in the mood to read about rape when they cross that line.

Obviously I don't hold this against any of the books or authors (with the exception of some of the dross that Terry Goodkind has spewed out, but there's far more wrong with that than just an excessive focus on sex). It's the general trend that annoys me.

Once, just once, I want to read a good fantasy novel with no sex scenes, no badly written poetry (Tolkien, I'm looking at you), and if possible no benighted map at the start.

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I was under the impression that the Kushiel novels were doing it before some of the rest. Also, given the original occupation of Phedre, the main character, the sex was originally both integral to the plotline and advanced the story. However, the series has wandered from its focus, and I like the newer narrators less and find the kinky sex less compelling.

(Note: I'm only about 400 pages into the first novel of the series, so no spoilers, please.)

Yeah, I've no problem with individual books, like I said. I can't imagine how this book could have bee written without the sex, for instance, and it's not gratuitous. I've really no clue who did it first, I'm just wishing that whoever it was hadn't spawned quite so many imitators.

So I'm not familiar with the novels, but....

Why oh why oh why does the main character have to named Phedre? References to classical Greek literature are one of my big pet peeves in sci-fi/fantasy. Not because it's inappropriate, but because it so damn prevalent everywhere else too. So every time I see some variation of "Phaedra" it reminds of the original, plus every other shitty thing I've read that makes reference to it too. I like my fantasy when it doesn't remind of Jean Racine (oh the horror...). Is there no safe haven left? Seriously. Put the Euripides down and back away slowly.

In other news, that's a *hilarious* icon.

And now I've got Jean Racine BDSM stuck in my head. DO NOT WANT!

Edited at 2008-05-02 14:26 (UTC)

I don't tend to find BDSM in my fantasy. I'm not opposed to it... I just don't tend to run across it.

What sort of fantasy do you read? It's a rather wide category all on its own.

For example there's stuff like Tolkien, and lighter stuff like Terry Pratchett, and in between stuff like Raymond E. Feist...

Pretty much anything within the genre. In fact, pretty much anything within the whole umbrella of SF&F to be honest. Just a quick scan of my bookshelf for books which would reasonably be classed as fantasy give: Susanna Clarke, Peter Beagle, Stephen Donaldson, Ursula Leguin, Philip Pullman, Poppy Z. Brite, JK Rowling, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Brian Jacques, Terry Goodkind, Robin Hobb, L. Sprague de Camp, HP Lovecraft.

And that's just the ones that are on the bookshelf that's right next to me. There are a whole bunch more if I went through and looked on the shelves in my bedroom as well.

So yes. Pretty much the full spectrum within the genre, really.

In terms of sci-fi, have you read classic authors like Heinlein and Asimov and Clarke? I'd expect that you have, given the range of the authors you've listed already. But you can never be sure.

One of my favorite sci-fi authors is David Brin, but he doesn't seem to be as widely known.

Terry Brooks did an obscene amount of the Shannara series, which annoys me (after a few books it seems more like "hey this makes me lots of money" as opposed to "I still have a story to tell") but I do really like other series like the Running with the Demon trilogy and the Landover series.

R.A. MacAvoy wrote a few books that I like, the Lens of the World trilogy and the Damiano trilogy.

Julian May writes science fiction that I like, and I recommend Raymond E. Feist as well.

The Deed of Paksenarrion is also one of my favorites (author is Elizabeth Moon).

I was going to recommend Robin Hobb because I've only recently found her books (his books? sorry, don't know). But since you've already listed those, not much point in that.

Obviously my memory may be faulty, but I don't recall much in the way of overt sex scenes in any of these books.

I came close to picking up Silverthorn again last night. Though it's not the best fantasy novel ever, it's probably my favourite (so far). Extra points of love for you for mentioning Raymond E. Feist, even only in passing. <3

I've never actually read any Raymond E. Feist. *sheepish*

I'm pretty sure that I have never read any other fantasy novels with BSDM in them, so this is a trope that hasn't yet made it onto my 'no' list. Or my trope list.

I liked that series, though after a while the "heroine gets into impossible situation, heroine gets out of it, heroine gets into another impossible situation, heroine gets out of it" started to get annoying.

I guess I haven't read enough modern fantasy to have noticed whether BDSM is a trend in it or not. That series it the only series I'd read that had it in it.

I have to admit I'm not that keen on fantasy and read the Kushiel series mostly for the BDSM.

(I've loved individual fantasy books but I've generally been put off by the feeling that I've read this story before.)

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