Posts Tagged ‘Revolution’

I’ve been reading a lot of articles about gritty fantasy or grim dark fantasy, and I had the pleasure of talking a friend’s ear off about everything I knew on the subject. And, it struck me. Gritty fantasy, or books with anti-hero protagonists, have been around for a lot longer than I thought. Let me specify this. I mean, if we were to talk about strictly anti-hero protagonists, we would spend a very long time discussing whether or not mythological Greek heroes counted. (Achilles!)

I’m talking about Glen Cook Black Company style. Game of Thrones. Blade Itself. Those kinds of books. In Game of Thrones and Blade Itself, the magic is substantially underused. There isn’t a strict system like in modern high fantasy books (everything by Brandon Sanderson and Brent Weeks), for one. I think it’s an ironic thing. With a lot of gritty books that try to prove themselves to be every bit as dark as Game of Thrones, they try to be as different as possible from Lord of the Rings style novels. For the really good gritty books, they seem to use the same style of magic from Lord of the Rings style books. (Albeit without a whole new language. Who has the time for that nowadays?)

In my book, the Line of Corruption, my protagonists are all questionable in their morality. We have a former mass murderer, a mercenary with the potential to be the strongest in existence, a politician that controls everything in his city… It’s all very questionable. I like it that way. I like those types of protagonists. They’re very interesting to write, and I like to think that there’s a good market out there for them. However, I have to face the fact that everything has most likely been thought up. I didn’t create a mind-blowingly original magic system (I couldn’t access the mind of Brandon Sanderson. The guys from Being John Malkovich weren’t up for it).

So, if a kid like me is writing “gritty” heroes (although they’re in a world where a definite magic system is in place a la Brent Weeks ), it’s safe to say that the gritty genre isn’t really a subgenre anymore. At least, not what people might think. Right now, George R.R. Martin is considered to be one of the most popular writers alive, and a legend in fantasy literature. Moorcock and Cook started it, GRRM took it to the next level, and Joe Abercrombie’s now in the same level. The Knight in Shining Armor is a cliche. No doubt about it. But, I’m afraid that anti-heroes with questionable morals are quickly becoming cliches, if they’re not already.

Speaking as someone that likes gritty stories a lot, it’s hard to come to terms that it’s no longer as revolutionary or as edgy as it was in the 70’s-90’s. Winter has come and gone. Now it’s summer, and all our dark anti-heroes are baking in the sun with all the rest of the knights in shining armor.

I do think that the next “big thing” will be dark epic fantasy. The Way of Shadows (one of the most popular books of that particular genre) is already well known. But, it’s not yet at the same level of infamy as  Game of thrones. (Which is fair. That’s something that FEW writers will ever achieve.)

Or maybe Tolkien-style stories might make a comeback. Nothing wrong with Wheel of Time-like stories as long as they’re original enough. Maybe books like Mistborn may come into the limelight, too. A Mistborn Tv series. Or maybe Urban Fantasy gets a big shout out. I don’t know. Fantasy, as a whole, is changing practically daily. I still like gritty stories, but I am looking forward to reading stories that don’t try especially hard to have “unlikeable” characters. Filling your entire cast with Joffrey-wannabes doesn’t help, from what I hear.

So, what do you think? Any ideas as to what the next BIG THING will be? Leave a comment. Might be that you’re right. Do you disagree with me? Feel free to tell me why. Now, I’m going to go read a fantasy book. Care to guess what genre it belongs to?

~Jian

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Our entire way of life depends on electricity. So what would happen if it just stopped working? Well, one day, like a switch turned off, the world is suddenly thrust back into the dark ages. Planes fall from the sky, hospitals shut down, and communication is impossible. And without any modern technology, who can tell us why? Now, 15 years later, life is back to what it once was long before the industrial revolution: families living in quiet cul-de-sacs, and when the sun goes down lanterns and candles are lit. Life is slower and sweeter. Or is it? On the fringes of small farming communities, danger lurks. And a young woman’s life is dramatically changed when a local militia arrives and kills her father, who mysteriously – and unbeknownst to her – had something to do with the blackout. This brutal encounter sets her and two unlikely companions off on a daring coming-of-age journey to find answers about the past in the hopes of reclaiming the future.

Wow. This is a great show. Though not officially airing till September 17, some kind stranger out there took the time to upload the Pilot episode, and I had the pleasure of watching it with great anxiety. Why? Well, Revolution, as some of you may know, is one of the most anticipated shows of the entire year. What would the love child of Eric Kripke (creator of Supernatural) and J.J. Abrams (Lost, Fringe, Alcatraz) be like? Well, that’s Revolution. Eric Kripke, you see, created Revolution, as well, and J.J. Abrams took the position of Executive Producer.

It’s quite obvious from the content of the show. As you can see from the description above, life is not at all the same. In fact, life has basically reverted back to the 16th-18th century, and the short little flashbacks that the characters have (don’t worry, it doesn’t halt the flow of the story) about the past when electricity still worked really delivered a punch of awe and sadness throughout the story. The character of Aaron (portrayed by Zak Orths) was a great addition to the cast, simply because he would reminisce of his past throughout the story by telling the other characters tid bits that showed you just how much the lights going out changed everything.

Another character that you should definitely watch out for is the character of Miles Matheson, portrayed by Billy Burke (Police Chief Charlie Swan, Twilight), a former United States soldier, who, in the words of his own brother is “only good at killing.”

He’s a window to the past, and is the representative of what you would look like if you were to simply give up. Early on, he shows great precision and skill, despite drinking constantly. I was honestly skeptical how Billy Burke would be able to play this part, but he exuded a certain sadness and hopelessness through his acting that really made the story real.

Now, some of you might rage at me mentioning him last, but of course, not least; Captain Tom Neville. Who, you may ask? Why, he is a Militia Captain portrayed by the Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad, Gustavo Fring). His character was chilling throughout the Pilot episode, and prepare to be assaulted by Breaking Bad flashbacks as his character is just as, if not more, awesome as Gustavo Fring. This is a man to watch out for, if you ask me.

Now despite being a near flawless Pilot, if you nitpick deep enough, you will find flaws. Such as the love interest of the main character, Charlie Matheson (Tracy Spiridakos). Now, I’m not saying romance is the thing that makes it bad. Not at all. It’s just that her love interest is very confusing and his actions will constantly cause your brow to furrow throughout the episode. Now, I have no doubt that this is not the fault of the writers, seeing as how in order to understand his actions, you would have to reveal plenty of backstory within a short time period (43 minutes) and if you were to do so, you would sacrifice a lot of the story. I also have no doubt that the writers will wrap this little loose end soon enough, and that this was probably their intention, so it really isn’t much of a flaw; more of a plot tool.

Now, I have said far too much, and I fear of revealing any more of the plot, so go watch it. You hear? Watch it!

Or else! I’ll do to you what Miles Matheson did above!