Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fantasy versus Other Genres

Brittany sizes up fantasy's chances:

When it comes to comparing fantasy fiction to most other popular genres it just does not stack up very well. There are several factors that have an effect on why fantasy does not stack well up against the most popular genres. A few of those factors are how well readers actually know the fantasy genre, sales and fan bases.

There have however been a few very successful fantasy fiction books, such as The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, and Twilight. For example as of November 21st Twilight was number seven on the list of Top 10 Children's Series for the New York Times and has been on the list for 170 weeks while Harry Potter is at number nine on the same list and has been on the list for 232 weeks. Each of these four series had major success and include well-known books to many readers.

Although the above seems great, when measured on a larger scale based on what is sold and highly marketed in stores the fantasy genre is not what is at the top. For example when you go to Walmart and look at the book section you see authors such as Patricia Cornwell, John Grisham, Tom Clancy, Nicholas Sparks and whatever new celebrity has written a book. Also when I asked friends and family who some of their favorite authors were I got some of the names just listed along with Mary Higgins Clark, Jodi Picoult, Lisa Jackson, and James Patterson. These both further support my statement even more that fantasy fiction does not stack up well against other popular genres.

Another reason why fantasy does not stack up well is because even though fantasy has had the above-mentioned big successes most people do not identify those books with the fantasy genre. With the exception of Twilight because it is a newer book the rest of those books are classics and most people have read them but since a lot of people do not have background on the fantasy genre they do not classify them as fantasy fiction. I think if people had better knowledge of fantasy fiction, what it was and what books fell under the category it would help the genre to become more successful. For example people reading these classic fantasy fiction books without knowing it have boosted the fan base for fantasy fiction but if they liked these books and actually knew what genre they were reading they would probably be more apt to go out and buy more fantasy fiction books. This in turn would help fantasy stack up better to the more popular genres.

As previously mentioned I think that a lot of the problem is people not knowing much about the genre along with their many misconceptions. For example, as a new reader of fantasy fiction my thoughts on what the genre was were completely wrong. I thought fantasy fiction was about magical lands which ended up being correct but I also pictured it more like a Disney movie which was completely incorrect. Recognition of a genre is important in order to build a strong fan base which then moves into the genre becoming popular. Once those two things become stronger then fantasy fiction can better stack up to other genres.

I think that having more mixed fantasy would really help to boost it, for example using humor and romance. I know that we read a few good books this semester that did have humor in them but that was not used to help promote the book which I think may have helped. I also think adding in the romance would help too as long as it is not like Twilight. It would have to be actual romance, heartbreak and so on not the cheesy romance used in Twilight. Including these different aspects and using them to help promote fantasy fiction may attract more readers, such as readers who may never have picked up a fantasy book before. Which in turn could interest a lot of new people in this genre which would make it more popular and then the genre would stack up better.

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