Thursday, August 26, 2010

N.K. Jemisin - Rites of Passage

N.K. Jemisin, whose first novel The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, is out now, has an interview up at Locus Magazine, in which she discusses the importance of writing short stories, and how bored she is with typical, epic fantasy.
   ‘‘The original version was a typical epic fantasy – different chapters told from different characters’ perspectives so you could see the big picture, side trips to other countries, a heavier emphasis on getting the Item of Importance to the Location of Significance – much more traditional in structure. When I started rewriting it, I thought, ‘I’m just going to write the way I feel like writing.’ It might not be epic fantasy anymore, if epic fantasy requires those tropes, but I was changing everything anyway, so I decided just to see what would happen.‘‘
The interview is an interesting read, and made me wonder about how stale the 'Medieval European' fantasy setting has become.  I'm an easy mark for fantasy authors because something about that setting really resonates with me, so I don't feel it's overdone but it's true that there are many, many books that do little more than plop their characters down in the middle of hills and dales, and toss in a castle for luck.  

I haven't read The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, but I downloaded a sample to my iPad and, based on the first few chapters, I will be buying it.  I'll report back when I'm done.

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