Monday, October 10, 2016

I Want Fantasy For Adults!

I would like to be on a fantasy reading kick. I really would.

I'm caught up on George R.R. Martin and Jim Butcher, and only Cthulu knows when they'll finish their respective series. I'm waiting on my friend Angela Penrose's next short story. I'm trying not to finish Jonathan Moeller's Ghost in Exile series too fast, or I won't have anything to look forward to over the winter.  I've bought last year's edition of Diana Rowland's White Trash Zombie, which I'm saving for after I finish edits on Zombie Goddess or my birthday, whichever gets here first.

And therein lies the problem. I'm waiting to savor Diana and Jonathan's books because I don't have any other fantasy novels to read.

Let me amend that--I don't have any adult fantasy novels to read.

Don't get me wrong. I read some young adult. I read a lot of romance. But I'm having a hard time finding something I like in the sf/f category that isn't a young adult romance dressed in a fantasy setting.

Maybe it's part of turning fifty and being in a relationship for nearly twenty-five years. Maybe it's wanting sheer escapism in the scary atmosphere this election has created. But I want something a little more grown-up, and I'm starting to see why so many people are bitching about the rampant juvenile romance that's taken over fantasy.

It's not so much the protagonists' age as their attitudes. I want them to solve realistic problems instead of obsessing over which boy to kiss. I want adventures and excitement without the entire cast dying.

Maybe that's why I've been re-reading old favorites (please note, I'm only giving the year the first novel came out):

Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars, aka Barsoom, series (1912)

Sure, John marries the princess in the end, but the majority of the story is John simply trying to survive in an alien, hostile world.

Anne McCaffrey's Pern series (1968)

Again, there's a little bit of romance amidst a lot of political intrigue, but neither overrides the main problems of the first books-defending Pern against the Ninth Pass of the Red Star and Threadfall.

Katherine Kurtz's Deryni Series (1970)

Other than a little lust-at-first-sight, the focus on these novels is the political rivalry between Deryni and normal humans contrasted with the rivalry between the kingdoms of Gwynedd and Torenth.

And this is where the writer in me kicks in. I write the stories I'm looking for and can't find. So I need to finish the Bloodlines series so I can get back to Issura and ...


  1. And more Justice books! :) (I'm liking the romance in that series too, BTW.)

    Have you read Tanya Huff's Blood books? The first one is Blood Ties. They made a short-lived TV series out of it some years ago, that didn't completely suck. There's a romance in that too, but the characters are all adults.

    Elizabeth Moon's Paksenarion series is really good, too.

    If you can find them, Sherri Tepper's early fantasies, the True Game books (all nine of them) start good and move into great by the end. The first one is King's Blood Four. The protags are young, but the romance subplots are minor.


  2. ZOMG! I stumbled across Blood Ties on late night television, then ripped through the books in a matter of days. It helps that I'm a Tudor-phile, LOL

    The only book of Tepper's I've read is Beauty. I'll have to check out the True Game series.

    I wasn't too fond of the books Moon co-wrote with Anne McCaffrey, but I haven't read her solo efforts. I'll have to give her another chance.

    I guess I don't look at Anthea and Luc's relationship in the Justice series as a romance, but I admit I was influenced by Barbara Hambly and her characters' long-tern relationships. Especially, her Sun Wolf and Starhawk series and Winterlands series (Jenny and John).

    1. In the "now" of the series, it's not a romance, but it's romantic, and that's good enough for me. :)

      I like Tepper's more recent books too, but the True Game books are the only ones that I recall which qualify as fantasy. And even there, you find out as you go on that they're actually SF, but it's pretty soft SF. My two favorites of hers, if you like her SF, are The Gate to Women's Country, and Raising the Stones.

      Oh, Swordspoint by Ellen Kuttner!