I’m getting a little down on myself for posting so irregularly this month (if anybody figures out where most of May went, I’d love to hear about it), so I’ve decided to do a book tag that I put a mental pin into a few weeks ago.
I first read this tag over at Sammie’s blog @ The Bookwyrm’s Den, who openly invited others to participate, so be sure to check out her post too. The tag originated from The Book Pusher over on YouTube.
WHAT IS YOUR FANTASY ORIGIN STORY? (HOW YOU CAME TO READ YOUR FIRST FANTASY NOVEL)
This is something I honestly have trouble remembering. I wasn’t a huge reader as a kid. I definitely read the first few Harry Potter books, as I was at that magical age that lined up with Harry’s as they were coming out, so that’s where I’d defer as far as books go.
In terms of greatest influence on me, I’d have to go with The Legend of Zelda series of video games. I’ve loved those games my entire life, and they probably deserve more credit for nurturing a love for fantasy in me as a kid than any books I happened to read.
IF YOU COULD BE THE HERO/HEROINE IN A FANTASY NOVEL, WHO WOULD BE THE AUTHOR AND WHAT’S ONE TROPE YOU’D INSIST BE IN THE STORY?
I’ll start with the trope; I would insist on being a non-human protagonist, preferably some sort of lizardman (think Dragonborn from D&D). I just think they’re really neat. What’s the fun in being in a fantasy story if you can’t live out your dreams of being some sort of monster-man adventurer?
In terms of author, I’d pick Neil Gaiman. I’ve got a good feeling that he’d be really good at giving humanity to a non-human main character.
WHAT IS A FANTASY YOU’VE READ THIS YEAR THAT YOU WANT MORE PEOPLE TO READ?
This would have to be Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett, the 15th Discworld novel. Don’t let the number dissuade you, however, as Pratchett often makes these novels so accessible that it doesn’t really matter. It was the first Discworld novel I ever read, in fact, and while it took me a while to start properly reading through the series years later, this book left a lasting impression that only grew stronger when I reread it this year.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FANTASY SUBGENRE? WHAT SUBGENRE HAVE YOU NOT READ MUCH FROM?
I really like the idea of dark fantasy, though I can’t honestly say I’ve read a great many novels that fit that genre. I just really like the idea of blending doom and gloom, even weird Lovecraftian elements, with a more typical fantasy world. Berserk by Kentaro Miura is a manga series that captures this well for me, as does the Bloodborne video game and spin-off graphic novels.
A subgenre I haven’t read that much of would probably be epic fantasy, to be honest. I only read The Lord of the Rings for the first time a couple of years ago, and while A Song of Ice and Fire is certainly epic in scope, I think it subverts too much of the genre’s conventions to be a proper epic fantasy. I just have trouble committing to these massive, spanning series like The Wheel of Time.
WHO IS ONE OF YOUR AUTO-BUY FANTASY AUTHORS?
To give a less obvious answer, considering the authors I’ve referred to already, I’ll have to go with Claudia Gray, specifically any new Star Wars book she writes. She’s only written two of the many new canon Star Wars novels I’ve read over the last few years, and while I have enjoyed the others, hers stand well above the rest as books I genuinely love. I’ve got a third Star Wars book of hers sitting on my shelf that I mean to read this year too.
HOW DO YOU TYPICALLY FIND FANTASY RECOMMENDATIONS?
Lately, I come across them thanks to the weekly WWW book meme, where I get to check out what so many other blogs are reading. I’m often in my own little world with what I plan to read, so I don’t have my ear to the ground the way I probably ought to.
Fortunately for me, all these other amazing blogs are writing about a plethora of books old and new, many of them fantasy. Each week I get to comb through what people are reading and set books aside on my to-read shelf on Goodreads so I don’t forget about them.
WHAT IS AN UPCOMING FANTASY RELEASE YOU’RE EXCITED FOR?
Speaking of Claudia Gray and Star Wars, a new multimedia project called The High Republic is set to launch soon, telling a cohesive story through a number of novels and comic books, set 200 years before the films. One of the first novels will be Into the Dark by Claudia Gray, which I’m most looking forward to.
WHAT IS ONE MISCONCEPTION ABOUT FANTASY YOU WOULD LIKE TO LAY TO REST?
This one feels a little harder to pin down an answer for, as fantasy and related genres (superheroes) are more ubiquitous than ever before. I guess, I would say that if you have a fixed image in your head of what fantasy definitively is, you’re probably wrong. There are many tried and true tropes among the popular novels and films, and there are certainly popular elements and formulas that the genre plays with, but the beauty of fantasy is in its versatility.
IF SOMEONE HAD NEVER READ A FANTASY BEFORE AND ASKED YOU TO RECOMMEND THE FIRST 3 BOOKS THAT COME TO MIND AS PLACES TO START, WHAT WOULD THOSE RECOMMENDATIONS BE?
I would have to recommend The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, Coraline by Neil Gaiman, and The Gunslinger by Stephen King. The first because it is a quintessential fantasy novel and much less dense than The Lord of the Rings, Coraline for its darker twist on the idea of a portal fantasy (as well as just being a great story), and The Gunslinger for the beginnings of an epic series by an author that was heavily influenced by Tolkien, yet took the time to formulate his story into something more wholly his own. The last would be the least accessible, but worth the commitment as far as I’m concerned.
WHO IS THE MOST RECENT FANTASY READING CONTENT CREATOR YOU CAME ACROSS THAT YOU’D LIKE TO SHOUTOUT?
I’m concerned I’m not quite getting this question, but I suppose it would have to be the blog where I came across the tag in the first place: Sammie @ The Bookwyrm’s Den. She’s a reading and writing dynamo and I’ve found out about a great many new books on her blog that I want to check out.
Feel free to complete the tag yourself, if it strikes your fancy. Thank you for reading!