Hi! I’m Betsy Dornbusch, a new writer here at Night Bazaar. My epic fantasy is coming out from Night Shade in early February and it’s called Exile. It’s the first of a trilogy about a man falsely accused of murdering his wife and banished from an enlightened, cultured kingdom to a violent magical country on the brink of civil war. Isn’t the cover cool? That’s Draken, our beleaguered hero. I also write some other stuff, like short fiction, an urban fantasy series featuring demidemons, a space opera series, and I edit the magazine Electric Spec. Yup, busy busy! You can find me here for the next few months on Mondays, at betsydornbusch.com, and the usual haunts like Facebook and Twitter.
I was asked to write about trends from 2012, which I found interesting because I’m told I’ve written a book that fits with a particular trend. Not that writing to a trend in 2012-13 was on my mind when I wrote Exile six years ago. Even selling a book that fit with a trend was a matter of dumb luck on my part by stalking submitting to an editor smart enough to spot said trend when he sees it.
Since I’ve been living and breathing epic fantasy for the past couple of years, I figure I’ll stick with that.
One of the definite trends I’ve seen in epic fantasy is a surge of characters of a race other than European Caucasian (and sometimes they’re not even human). It might be uncouth to mention my own book but that’s the trend I stumbled upon; race plays a strong role in the conflict of Exile. Draken is of mixed-race, and it’s his greatest secret since the people in the country he is banished to considers mixing the races heresy against the gods. Prominent examples of the non-Caucasian and even non-human trend is Saladin Ahmed’s Crescent Moon Kingdom series and Martha Wells’ Raksura.
While many of the primary conflicts in epic fantasies are familiar, I’m enjoying worldbuilding that’s more than basic magic superimposed over a glorified European medieval kingdom. Technology is doing interesting things under the influence of creative magic and world-building, like the airstreams and airships in Bradley Beaulieu’s multi-island world in The Lays of Anuskaya. I’m constantly amazed at the creative genius of Brandon Sanderson. His magic systems are always elegant and intriguing. I’m also seeing more serious consequences from magic, like the color-based power subverting characters in Brent Weeks Lightbringer Series. Magical weapons are nothing new, but I’m enjoying a return of them, like the haunted flail in The Scourge of the Betrayer (and a particular sword in Exile). As a writer I’ve been working hard on my own magic constructs and consequences, inspired and challenged by these influences.
Epic fantasy is also benefiting from the same genre blending and bending all the other genres are: we’re seeing more mysteries in our fantasies, like in Carol Berg’s Collegia Magica books.
This is a topic that I could run on about, but fortunately for you, more writers are going to tackle it all week, so I can stop now. I’d love to hear readers’ thoughts on cool trends in epic fantasy, too. I’m always on the look for new books to read!Read More...