Monthly Author Post – Anne Barwell – Here Be Dragons

It was Armageddon time here in Wellington over Queen’s Birthday Weekend AKA the first weekend in June. I don’t mean the end of world, keeping an eye out for the four horsemen of the apocalypse type of Armageddon, but our annual pulp culture expo.

I had a great time, and picked up some goodies, one of which is a beautiful dragon necklace. I’ve always had a weakness for anything dragon related.

I’ve also been working on edits for One Word, the next instalment of my Hidden Places contempory fantasy series, and gearing up to start work on the final book in my high fantasy series Dragons of Astria.

With all this going on I figured I’d blog about fantasy, and why I’m drawn to it. I’ve read some really good MM fantasy books of late too, and I’d love to get some recs for your favourites, and to find out what appeals to you about the genre.

When I was growing up there I found it difficult to find much in the way of fantasy to read, although there were some that are still amongst my favourites—Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, to name a few. SF was easier to track down so I tended to read more of it than fantasy, although I love both.

Now there’s so much fantasy out there I’m never going to catch up. I love fantasy in all of its sub-genres: high, urban, paranormal and everything in between. So what is it that appeals to me?

I guess it’s the ‘what if’ part of fiction, that is even more pronounced in fantasy fiction. I love the idea of worlds where there are dragons and magic, and where often the norm is a bit different than what it is now. But mostly I like stories with those elements which still focus on characters who are flawed, or trying to make the best of a situation in which they’re out of their depth. They bring with it the element of escapism and the thought of ‘wow that would really cool’ but also hope, like wishing on a star for a glimpse of a different world.

Although fantasy still comes with its own set of rules—and the magic systems need to make sense—the reader and writer isn’t tied down as much with the rules and constraints of our own world. Not everything needs to be explained as long as it makes sense. Adults often lose that sense of wonder, and fantasy reminds me that I haven’t yet, and gives me hope that perhaps things do exist that I am yet to discover.

To quote the code phrase of the resistance movement from a world that exists alongside our own: I believe in dragons.

9 Responses

  1. Love Bytes Reviews – Monthly Author Post – Here Be Dragons | Drops of Ink

    […] over at Love Bytes Reviews for my regular monthly post. This month’s topic is fantasy. I’d love to know your […]

  2. ELF
    ELF at |

    I haven’t read a lot of m/m fantasy besides Mercedes Lackey and Kaje Harper, so I need to expand my horizons, lol. I’m a big fan of Juliet Marillier, Thea Harrison, Michelle Sagara, Tamora Pierce, the late Anne McCaffrey, and others. Beautiful necklace.

  3. dee
    dee at |

    I love fantasy a lot. As a kid I used to read mainly epic fantasy. That’s what I knew and that’s how I expected fantasy to look like. I liked to read books by Mercedes Lackey, Philip Jose Farmer, Tanith Lee, David Eddings or Raymond E. Feist.

    In my late teens/early 20s friends introduced me to Shadowrun. That was a very exciting time and I started to explore. Now I’m at a point where I can say I read almost everything, but my favourite reads are urban fantasy and mystery. These days I like the Dresden Files, Mercy Thompson, Pax Arcana, Alex Craft, Eric Carter, Guild Hunter, Elder Races, BDB, Kate Daniels and such.

    There are also some cool books in the m/m genre: Family of Lies: Sebastian, Tournament of Losers or The Lightning-Struck Heart were great. As for series’, there are so many that I don’t know where to start. Among my favourites are Spectr, Aberrant Magic, Panopolis, The Sleepless City, Offbeat Crimes, Kai Gracen…

    So, why does fantasy appeal to me. I think it’s hard to say. First, I don’t want to read about contemporary topics that hit too close to home. Further, I love fantastical settings and I love societies that are slightly different from what we are used to. Maybe it’s just the otherness in general. Everything is so standardised in our world, people are so standardised that everything/everyone that/who is slightly other is automatically under scrutiny. While fantasy settings have their own rules, I _often_ get the impression that people in these worlds are more open-minded than our own.

  4. susana
    susana at |

    My first book obsession when I was around thirteen was The Lord of The Rings… I’ve lost count of how many times I read is as a teenager. So you see, fantasy is my thing. Anyway, it is always good to get new recommendations. Thank you for the post!

  5. andrewqgordon
    andrewqgordon at |

    Me, I believe in unicorns, but the concept is the same. 🙂 I’ll pass along any good ones I come across int he future. 🙂



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