The OF Blog: The globalization of fantasy

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The globalization of fantasy

An interesting thought occurred to me while reading the many fine comments on Matt Staggs' blog about essential reads in literary fantasy. While there are quite a few choices that go beyond the usual Anglo-American fantasy traditions, I really haven't seen much discussion on the blogosphere (of course, I'm working more than 40 hours a week now, so perhaps I'm missing it somewhere?) about the apparent cross-fertilizations taking place between various European, North American, Latin American, African, Asian, and Oceanian scenes. In a day and age when more and more books are finding large readerships in multiple languages, does anyone have any thoughts as to how this globalization of fantasy in all of its myriad forms is transpiring?

And on a related note, I received two books this afternoon that I special-ordered from Spain. They are both by one of Spain's leading fantasy writer, Javier Negrete, who has won multiple awards, including the Premio Ignotus, one of the most prestigious genre awards in Spain. I'm curious to see what similarities to other works (SF and epic fantasy alike) I'll detect, as well as the probable differences in approach, themes, and characterization.


Dark Wolf said...

Well on a quick thinking I believe that dragons might come from Asian mythology. I would certainly like to see a development of fantasy genre with elements from different mythologies and folklore around the world coming to life in fantasy literature.
It will be very interesting and I believe that it will be definitely a step forward.

I'm interested in your opinions about Negrete (I heard of him, but haven't read any books written by him). I like to read Spanish language literature (even though I can't read in this language)and I love seeing new names or old names on your blog. You are a source of inspiration :)

By the way, I talked to publisher from Romania who had the rights for "The Shadow of the Wind" and I found out that "El Juego del Angel" will be published at the beginning of the next year in Romania. I can hardly wait.

Larry said...

There also were dragon-like beings in Middle Eastern myths and religious texts of four thousand years ago, so perhaps it might be something that goes back even further in time than most of us realize?

As for Negrete, read the first 60 pages of Buscador de sombras/La luna llena and he is as good as advertised. Very, very impressed with his style. Story so far feels like a literary-tinged thriller. Fast-paced, without much in the way of infodumps that I have seen. Will try to finish it later this month.

Nice to hear that you'll be able to read Zafón's latest book so soon! :D The Romanian translation of Jeff VanderMeer's Predator tie-in novel, South China Sea, comes out about the same time that it does in English, or within the next few weeks, I believe. How cool is that, huh? :D

Johan said...

The globalization of fantasy of fantasy means that Anglo-American fantasy will, hopefully, become more interesting. In my experience, it also means that e.g. Swedish (or German, or Danish ...) fantasy is too Anglo-American to be interesting because it should be somehow different – in most cases, it isn't. Many non-English speaking writers simply write what could've passed for ordinary American fantasy had it been written in the US. And that's a shame. Not out of any literary nationalism or such, but because "more of the same" isn't exactly what the genre needs.


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