Tag Archives: Fantasy Series

Women of Fantasy


A startling insight came to me after reading a blog by Leona Henry. I did not realize the dominance men have had on the fantasy genre. I thought that problem lay more in science fiction.

Apparently not.


Supposedly J.K Rawlings was told to use her initials in order to hide her gender. I was curious why my fellow writer Diana Peach wrote under the name D. Wallace Peach. Now I understand better. Another example is Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden who skyrocketed into fame after taking on the gender neutral moniker Robin Hobb.2013-MAR-Robin-Hobb-209x300

When I surveyed my reading so far this year, my fantasy picks have been Mark Lawrence and Joe Abercrombie, both male. Therefore I have added to this travesty…with some enjoyment I might note.

So when Robin Hobb came out with her new trilogy, The Fitz and the Fool , I jumped on the feminism train and grabbed her books. After all, we must unite to right a wrong.

Okay, so I was going to read them anyway because I loved her Farseer Series, and this continues the tale.

Assassin's FoolFool’s Assassin is the first in the series, and I recently discussed it in a previous blog. Now I’m reading Fool’s Quest, the second in The Fitz and the Fool Trilogy.

Last week Robin visited Powell’s in Beaverton for a signing. She lives locally in the Northwest and comes there at least once a year. (At least Peter said so, and he is Powell’s science fiction and fantasy expert and moderator)

I made an effort to go. The room used for signings was packed, standing room only. She answered a lot of questions from the audience on her writing, and of course, signed a lot of books.Fool's Quest

The Fool’s Quest continues the story of FitzChivalry Farseer, supposed bastard of the king’s brother, who is hiding out as Tom Badgerlock, having devised FitzChivalry’s death. In an attempt to save the Fool’s life, he returns to the palace with him and soon becomes swept up in court intrigue and distracted by the perilous health of the Fool. Believing his strange daughter under the protection of those at his manor home, he leaves her there while he administers to the Fool. With that brief inattention, she is kidnapped by a cult known to the Fool and taken to their island where she is regarded as the Shaysim. This is a rare being able to read the lines of the future. She is acclaimed the “Unexpected Son” by those who do not realize that she’s really a girl.

The first half of the story drags as FitzChivalry tries to please all at court while worrying about his daughter. He does a lot of handwringing and guilt trips, but doesn’t seem able to launch a rescue. There is lots of angst over the Fool, over the captured daughter, over his old mentor Chade, but no action. After a while, it gets frustrating. A few interesting twists and turns to the story add a richness, but FitzChivalry dallies overlong for my taste.

Meanwhile, Bee, the daughter, in order to save her life and that of her companion Shun, keeps the fiction going of her true gender

…maybe much the same as Robin Hobb did herself.


I am once again putting my first book of the Alysian Series, Caught in Time free from September 18 thru the 22nd thru KDP Select. I plan to advertise in Robin Reads on the 18th and Freebooksy on the 21. I’ll let you now how it turns out. Meanwhile, if you haven’t garnered Caught in Time yet…now’s the time.

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Filed under award winning scifi, Best selling science fiction, fantasy, fantasy series

Fantasy vs. Science fiction

photoMy writing group has a mix of both science fiction and fantasy writers, and I’m coming to some conclusions on how these two genres differ in regards to writing styles.

One differences is the extent of world building. Sure I put a map in my second book, but I just finished Brandon Sanderson’s Words of Radiance tome, and he has not only an extensive map but extensive illustrations of the flora and fauna in his world, the fashion of his world, and the social hierarchy. Science fiction writers paint a world and then get on with the action; fantasy writers dally in the landscape and admire the scenery more.

Fantasy seems to be more character driven while science fiction is more plot driven. The reader doesn’t get too deep into the complex psychology of the Splinkx, whereas in Fool’s Assassin, the complex emotions of FitzWilliam is a focus for the story and provides the impact at the end.

And the science fiction writers like their high tech gadgets and cutting edge science almost as much as fantasy writers like their magic. Sometimes the two are very similar. (see sidebar quote)

In my series, there is time travel. Poof you’re here; poof, you’re there. Sorta magical.

Both may involve large battles. However, in Lord of the Rings, the battle is mostly on the ground while in in Star Wars or Star Trek, the battles are usually out in space with lots of lasers and gunships.

The enemy tends to be ugly in both genres. Whether it’s Klingons or Orcs, it’s not a pretty face. Our allies, however, are attractive. Legolas and Aragon make me drool, although we should skip the characters of George R. R. Martin as he is changing this trope a bit . Princess Leia and Hans Solo are also easy on the eyes…but the occasional hairy Wooki does pop up. And some of our friendlier aliens often exhibit odd behaviors.

In writing group, the fantasy people are always telling me to put more description in my story while I’m always asking them to stop admiring the scenery, the dress, character behavior and get on with the action and storyline.

This interplay makes for better writing on both sides of the aisle. Still, as a writer, you must recognize your genre and the style that your reader expects, and accommodate that expectation to a certain extent.

I recently read a blog by Tara Sparling and even though it is dated, the numbers are interesting. It’s data on the best selling books of 2012 with charts and graphs. Check it out here: http://tarasparlingwrites.com/2013/08/21/2012-bestselling-book-data-visualised/ 

Words of RadianceThis week I finished Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson. (Huff. Huff) The over one thousand pages looked overwhelming, but they were actually easier to do than I expected– although it entailed a few really late nights. Way of Kings is the first in this series and I reviewed that last year and really liked it. Brandon Sanderson is a favorite of mine.

If you like chunky epics with detailed world building, you will love this one. The characters are compelling and the magic, as ever with Sanderson, is interesting. There are three major point of view characters: the doctor’s son betrayed into slavery and clawing his way back, the king’s uncle and stalwart hero who battles both in the trenches and in the  evil court, and the abused beautiful young girl who searches for the strength to become a powerful woman. Each has a story and each interact with the others. The stories start slow, but build beautifully.Way of Kings

Sanderson writes with passion and a good storyline. That combination always makes an excellent read and is worth being a little sleep deprived at times.


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