The Sweet Science of Fantasy

The Sweet Science of Fantasy


Now more than ever, in my life at least, literary fantasy is at the forefront of popular culture. It is owed, at least in part, to a few spectacular book adaptations in cinema and television. Of course I’m talking about Harry Potter, the unstoppable franchise by J.K. Rowling, and Game of thrones which is the HBO adaptation of the George R.R. Martin’s series A Song of Fire and Ice. I am in absolute agreement with my fellow NLS’er Steve; you should be reading A Song of Fire and Ice. (Author side note: Fantasy authors really seem to love their initials, the name J.R.R Tolkien should Ring a bell).  This movement has been gathering speed for years now. Harry Potter has been around since 2001, and The Lord of The Rings made over two and a half billion dollars profit; Return of the King won the academy award for best picture.  No longer are fantasy books delegated to the back shelves of Barnes and Noble with Fabioesque warriors in loin clothes on the covers, our favorites are on the goddamn front tables! I say it’s about time.

You could argue that I’m just talking about fiction and that fiction has always been popular and movie adaptations of fiction books have been around forever and you would be wrong. I’m talking about kings and queens, good and evil, swords and sorcery, heroes and villains fucking fantasy.  Fantasy has always been at a little bit of a disadvantage because for most people, I think, their favorite books are ones that they can relate to. The main characters in fantasy can be rooted for and envied for their abilities but it’s hard to relate to them. Not completely, surely you can relate to their motivations and desires but you cannot cast spells, you cannot kill dragons, and you will never have sex with a princess (or prince for that matter).  The wonderful thing about fantasy is that you can get lost in a completely different world. You can imagine things that you will never see or do. Fantasy is exactly as the genre is defined.

I love being able to see fantasy movies and television with a serious Hollywood budget. The sheer size of most fantasy series necessitates the money, and now that profits are being turned the future is looking bright for this genre. I’m very much looking forward to a recently announced book adaptation. The book is a secret to most, oddly enough it is a New York Times best selling secret. It’s Lev Grossman’s “The Magicians”. I’ll give a little spoiler free recap if you’ve never heard of it.

The Magicians follows Quentin Coldwater, an incredibly smart high school senior. He is on his way to a college entrance interview when a series of fantastic events makes him a student at Brakebills academy, a college for people who can do magic. What follows can crudely be described Horry Potter for adults. The story continues after Quentin graduates (Author side note:  would that be a bachelor’s of science or arts?), and his entrance into a world that is best described as a dangerous version of Narnia. If you have not read The Magicians please do as it’s a treat from cover to cover. The sequel “The Magician King” was released a few days ago, and I will have my review up in a few days.

There is a feast, fantasy fans, we are sitting at the head table and the prize meats are being prepared to our liking. Take it all in, drink your fill. Soon enough we will be fighting for table scraps, the Syfy originals and made for DVD sequels of Beastmaster. If you understand where I’m coming from, congratulations we win (for now at least). If you cannot then send a message; I’ll set you up with some recommendations.

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