Post-Modernism in Fantasy

Brandon Sanderson, author of the Mistborn series and the recently published The Way of Kings has written an article about post-modernism in Fantasy:
Fantasy (and the epic in particular) hit a postmodern stage with remarkable speed. Tolkien was so remarkably dominant, so genre-changing, that reactions to him began immediately. And, since so much of the audience was familiar with his tropes (to the point that they quickly became expected parts of the genre), it was easy to build upon his work and change it. You could also argue that the Campbellian monomyth (awareness of which was injected into the veins of pop culture by George Lucas) was so strong in sf/f that we were well prepared for our postmodern era to hit. Indeed, by the late ’70s, the first major postmodern Tolkienesque fantasy epic had already begun. (In the form of the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever.)
I'm not sure I really understand what post-modernism is in literature, apart from vaguely thinking it has something to do with the book being aware of itself as a book, a constructed piece of work, like having a baker named Dough, or a heavy infantry soldier named Shield.  I think Martin Amis is considered a post-modern author because he names his characters based on their jobs and frequently pops up in his books as himself; the author Martin Amis.

Post-modern seems like a heavy label for a book to wear.  It's like a signpost pointing to a place on the map that hasn't been charted: this book changes things.  It doesn't just tell a ripping story, it also winks knowingly at the reader.

I don't really read straight fiction any more, but I liked James Joyce's Ulysses, often considered one of the best post-modern novels, and I'm not sure I know enough about the history of Fantasy fiction to be able to notice when I'm being winked at.  As far as I can tell, as long as a fantasy novel isn't about a naive farmer discovering they have royal blood; isn't set in another pastiche of some nameless medieval European city state with faux-Tudor architecture; and isn't about a Dark Lord/Nameless Menace/Rising Evil then, for fantasy fans, it's post-modern.

I think Mr. Sanderson's article is interesting (mostly for the insights into his own writing process), but I think that before Fantasy can begin to de-construct itself there needs to be more varied examples of it.  The genre is still struggling with its legacy of sexism and male power fantasy wish-fulfillment.  Let's see more female origin stories, more varied and interesting world-building, more inventive and daring plotting, and less reliance on the tropes - Elves, Barbarians, Wizards - that were already stale 40 years ago.  Is a Fantasy novel post-modern because it doesn't have dwarves in it?  Or because it genuinely stretches the genre in a new and interesting direction.

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