8.02.2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Trends We'd Like More or Less Of

Cheers to The Broke and the Bookish for a great topic this week! Now, if only I read more trendy stuff. I might have to get a little PRUBONic* for this.
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Do come join the fun...
For the sake of getting much list at all, I'll cover both more and less.

More, Please:
1. High fantasy. And as Robert Jordan is currently destroying my eyesight, I'd love to see some shorter, tighter stories that maintain strong worldbuilding and character development.

2. Fantasy/sci-fi combinations. The best examples I've read are L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time and sequels and Engdahl’s Enchantress from the Stars.

3. Religious protagonists in any and every genre. I'm not sure this counts as a trend, but a fair number of people are actually religious; it only makes sense that some of the characters in novels would be.

Less, Thanks:
4. Vampires. I liked Twilight in large part because Edward Cullen didn't want to be a vampire and kept an impressive self-control over the monster within. The several feet of shelf space devoted to vampires nowadays looks a lot more sketchy. But again, PRUBON.*

5. Demons. Call me superstitious, but I do not read demon-protagonist or demon-love-interest books on purpose. I read one by accident once, and have never wanted a novel out of my house so badly.

I'd add Monster Mashups, but no amount of hype has ever convinced me, or will ever, to read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

There's my short list! What trends do you want more or less of?
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*PRUBON, acronym. Presumptive Reader Unworthiness Based On Non-reading, as in "Such-and-such novel is a bad book." "Oh, have you read it?" "No, of course not!"

14 comments:

  1. Just popping in with a comment to note that, funnily enough, WoT destroyed my eyesight...literally. I didn't wear glasses until the age of 16. I began reading WoT (and other fantasy in that same genre) at age 14. The summer when I was 15, I read WoT and others (Mercedes Lackey as well) non-stop...by the end of the summer, I couldn't see long-distance anymore. :( LOL not that it's something to celebrate, but I thought it was funny you said that when I have a literal correlating story with your comment.

    Also, really enjoying the blogalectic. :) (while I don't leave blog comments as much these days--life is keeping me REALLY busy in blessed ways, and God willing I'll get to write about it on my quiet little blog someday soon--I still read and enjoy your posts!)

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  2. You know, if you all got Kindles, you could adjust the font size. It's doing wonders for my eyesight. :)

    I definitely agree with #'s 1 & 3 of your "more please." As for fantasy & sci-fi, I generally like them separate for the most part.

    As a corollary to #3 for less please, I'd like less religion and/or faith bashing. Besides being a person of faith, I also think it's an over used, worn out trope.

    I'd also like less post-modernism & political correctness in writing too.

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  3. YA dystopia. Really, there is no structure, trope, or style that can’t be beaten to death with a cookie cutter.

    I picked up new one from the library, Blood Red Road By Moira Young; it was supposed to be good and I was simply curious. Here's my book report:

    Dystopian, fierce kickass brunette, alchemy, cage-fighting to the death, younger sister, bad guy has rotten breath. Yawn. I was so bored I just skimmed the last two/thirds. Which was too bad, because I liked Jack a lot.

    The alchemy was in-your-face obvious, and I’m tired of the testosterone warrior gurrrls, who are extreme rather than example. I can’t relate to them.

    And I begin to think literary alchemy is a fad that’s a challenging puzzle, like writing form poetry.

    --Arabella

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  4. Can you just see poor Jane Austin rolling over in her grave-- Pride and Prejudice and Zombies! Great list! I like the way you think as usual!!!

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  5. Donna, good to hear from you! and LOL--I know what you mean. Except my problem is that if I read for very long, everything goes blurry and stays that way for at least fifteen minutes after I stop. Kind of nervewracking! I'm avoiding the oculist, but we'll see how long I can hold out!

    So glad you're having joyous times right now. :)

    George, you're going to sell me a Kindle one of these days... once we've got money again after buying a house. :) Also, I totally agree with your additional less-ofs.

    Arabella, I agree with you, too, on all counts. I like literary alchemy, but if it's just colors and references and doesn't work toward a serious character transformation, it's not interesting on its own. It's certainly losing its uniqueness. And I can't relate to most of these "testosterone warrior gurrrls" (great term) either! Hey, world, what's wrong with a little all-natural femininity?

    Kathy, if someone mashed up one of my books with zombies in two hundred years, I'd roll in my grave, too! Poor Jane! And thank you. :)

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  6. More please: Comic Horror.

    Seriously, we don't get enough of the stuff. We've got some of it in Pratchett, but really the only practioner that I'm aware of is Neil Gaiman, whose blessed us with jewels like "Only the End of the World Again," The Wolves in the Walls, "I, Cthulu," and "We Can Get Them for you Wholesale," and so on. Actually, on second thought, let me add a corollary to this:

    More please: Comic Horror and/or Eldritch Guy Noir from Neil Gaiman. (Because he certainly has A Good Thing Going, and I'm not sure how many other writers could do this successfully...)

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  7. BTW--Arabella, I'm not really too surprised that you're finding literary alchemy is becoming faddish and trite. It's par for the alchemical course, really. The mass of alchemy has been trivial and exoteric, the 'puffers' derided by the poets and adepts, obsessed simply with the surface changes of metals or, in this instance, the flashy colour sequences of books. And the puffers tend to write a lot of meaningless and garbled semi-symbolic drivel. The esoteric, spiritual alchemy in fact embraces an entire, self-consistent philosophy and mysticism, to which the colour scheme is merely accessory. And this has always been the smaller, less vocal company.

    (Sorry for the off-topic ramble!)

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  8. Less:

    Mistakes - of the "I really should learn the english language before attempting to write in it" and the "I know Nothing about ancient Egypt but wouldn't it be cool to write about anyway" varieties. It is happening more and more, and it bothers me.

    Author photos- I know I'm shallow, but I can't take a book seriously if I flip to the back cover and see an awful picture of the author. Especially if he's the sort who obviously created the main character as a hotter, smarter, more interesting verion of himself - which is another thing that has to go.

    Fan fiction - published, marketed, but really belongs in online "I love Tolkien" forums. Especially popular in fantasy, but Jane Austen seems to produce a lot too.

    More:

    "Art-house trashy" type books. I know their bad, but So much fun!

    Good poetry collections by Happy poets - conrary to popular belief, despair is not essential to the creative process, and poems about bad sex, arrogant ex-lovers, and suicide are way over done.

    Originality. I miss it.

    Great topic! I had a hard time actually thinking of specifics. And I totally agree with George on Post-modernism & political correctness.

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  9. I forgot to add that I agree with the vampire and demon books, and add angel books. It seems to be "how much can I twist the trope, making bad good and good bad. While I'm PRUBONish here, my eyes roll too much to read them.


    And per our offline discussion, Jenna I add love triangles and female fantasy hero to the Less category.

    And I'd love to see faith and the faithful positively and realistically portrayed, zippers and all! ;-)

    I'm not only seeing alchemic structuring but also many alchemy references.

    --Arabella

    More:

    Suspense that's not crime/noir/grisly/blatant/horror.

    More human emphasis SF. John Stith is a good example (hard SF with very relatable, human characters, also Bujold's Verkosigan series.

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  10. Hmm, I meant blatant horror, not blatant/horror, above.

    --Arabella

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  11. I just read Julia's Broke & Bookish post and comments. Yes:

    More: time travel. I love it when it's really well done. See Connie Willis (not her Blackout duo though, which should have been a much, much tighter single. I couldn't get through it all, so boring.

    Less: trilogies. These stories could certainly tighten up to one good-sized book. Divergent was certainly repetitious. This trend is a discouraging marketing tool, and I don't see alchemy being enough to justify it in most cases ( see Mr Pond's comment above.

    And how about ditching supernaturals, with more thoughtful SF alien stories (although I Am Number Four and a couple of similar ones (all books) I can't remember, aimed at the male tween set, were really lacking).

    --Arabella

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  12. I could do with less of Neil Gaiman.

    As for vampires, I'd like my favorite kinds back, you know, monstrous & inhuman instead of snuggle toys.

    Mixing in horror with classic literature? Well, I'm mixed on it. After reading Jane Austen, I can't see the need for any of her books to be spiced up with monsters, but on the other hand, I can't really imagine reading Little Women without werewolves. ;)

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  13. I'm loving this discussion... it's making me both laugh and think, which is the perfect combination. :) Thanks, all of you, for contributing!

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  14. Less written for fanboys and more for fangirls!

    More really good stories in the adult section and less gloomy, dysfunctional, "heartbreaking" and "wrenching" angst.

    And I'm holding out for an iPad, George.

    --Arabella

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