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23021Re: [mythsoc] RE: Modern Fantasy Genre - All seems lost?

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  • Alana Joli Abbott
    Mar 22, 2012

      ***The early books are pretty much just parody/comedy. The later books have a great deal more depth, though they are also still in places very, very funny. You might try starting with a fairly late book, _Making Money_ – while you’ll miss some nuances and some character history by not having read the earlier books, it stands alone fairly well. It’s got a good mix of the races of the Discworld, plus you see the process of trying to figure out a relatively new race, the golems. The comedy in his mature work comes more from character and situation than slapstick and pastiche. (Not that there’s NO slapstick, of course.)

      I agree with Janet, but I would have suggested starting with Small Gods (which is an earlier stand-alone and was my first experience with a Pratchett title) or maybe Night Watch (which is part of an arc, but does introduce the characters). Monstrous Regiment is also one of the meatier recent stand-alones, though familiar characters from earlier books do make appearances. Some of the books are quite zany (any of them about Rincewind tend to be sillier than the rest; they're not my favorites). Several of the other arcs do have elements of zany comedy, but the later books in each arc are definitely deeper. I'd say that Pratchett makes good use of the absurd to create satire in a fantasy setting, but that the works go beyond satire and into mythopoeia (as I define it) quite often.

      As far as imitators go, I think the Eragon books (YA series) are very imitative of bits of Tolkien and bits of the Wheel of Time books. I make no judgment on the value of the series, but of all of the books that I think have been called pastiche by reviewers, the Eragon books seem to best deserve the label. (I read a few of the books but could only stand to watch the first fifteen minutes or so of the film, which was also pastiche -- I swear they lifted an exact positioning of the hero looking at the sunset from Luke Skywalker in Star Wars.)


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