Friday, February 24, 2012

Humans in Costume

There are several reasons why I don’t read or write High Fantasy. In this post I’m going to rant about humans in costume. The Fantasy market is saturated with High Fantasy, which is overdone with LOTR or Middle Earth races, cultures, societies, etc… Come on! What happened to the creativity in Fantasy stories? Where’s the imagination? Nothing irks me more than going to B&N looking for a good Fantasy read and having to sift through gazillions of books with Elf’s, Dwarf’s, Dragon’s, Orc’s, runaway Princesses, and pubescent wizards. The societies are assuredly feudalistic and the personalities of the characters, regardless of race, are humans in costume. You can take any of the gazillion Elf characters and beneath their physical appearance they are human…with the human flaws, emotions, traits, personalities, etc…

I write the stories I like to read. One of the things I strive to do is make my alien character something other than a human in a costume. This is not an easy thing to do, and inevitably the character still hates, laughs, desires, etc… as humans do. So what makes the character not a human in costume? Typically, it is some non-human ability or predilection of a human extreme (i.e. such as an addiction to extracting pleasure from the pain of others [as Keepers do in my Low Fantasy epic ‘The Bounds’]). Vampires, although overdone, are a good example of characters with a nonhuman predilection for blood. So my message to all the indie Fantasy and Sci-Fi writers is to tap into that imagination and create that little something in your Elf-like, Dwarf-like, Xxyzinite, or [insert random letters here] –race that is “nonhuman”.

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