Saturday, April 04, 2009

Clash of Rogue Steel

Now that Rage of the Behemoth is on final approach and solid in the glide path, RBE has made this announcement about their next project. It's a new series of anthologies in a more direct relation to sword & sorcery of old. That leads to an interesting discussion on the genre.

Fantasy has very broad horizons. The average bloke on the street immediately says, "Oh. Like Lord of the Rings type stuff?" (To which it is easiest to respond, "Yeah, exactly like that." Otherwise if you keep talking you reveal 2d8 Geek Points per round.) But we all know there are differences amongst fantasy's various tentacles. The two on display at RBE right now are heroic fantasy and sword & sorcery. Both have standard fantasy trappings: the existence of magic, action oriented plots, and pre-industrial, pseudo-medieval technology. They can be hard to tell apart. I think the difference is in the protagonist.

A typical S&S hero goes through little or no transformation. They do what they do without much deeper meaning to it. Kick down the door, slash open the bad guy, now where's my beer kind of thing. The typical heroic fantasy protagonist usually has a personal transformative arc that carries him or her along. Reasons and motivations are explored and fulfilled. You could say that heroic fantasy is the thinking person's S&S. (Further up the genre chain is epic fantasy, in which several major characters on their own arcs move through a larger world with larger stakes and create an overall societal arc to the story, but that's not relevant right now.)

So best of luck to Rogue Blades Entertainment on these endeavors.


von Darkmoor said...


Now go copy and paste this to the Demons announcement at SFReader to help answer questions.

So you have been told. So it shall be. ;)

von Darkmoor said...

Thanks Jeff :)

Jeff Draper said...

So you have spoken. So shall it was.

Alexander Field said...

Funny, whenever someone asks what kind of fantasy I"m writing, I always must compare to Tolkien too. Not only is LOtR the only fantasy book most people know, it also seems to have some kind of credibility out there...thanks for the post!

Jeff Draper said...

You're absolutely right about the credibility thing, it's just been around long enough that it's part of the common lore. Harry Potter would be the other side of fantasy that's achieving the same status. (Deservedly or not is another discussion.)

von Darkmoor said...

Each has a distinct and readily identifiable presence. Unfortunately for S&S, at the word 'Conan' no one can get past the gi-normous elephant tower in the room of Ahnald and 80's farcical adventure.

I think the remaking of Conan the movie can hopefully be one of the best things ever for him and the genre.