It seems pretty clear at least to me that focusing on the politics of daily life and the way the governments work is far more popular in the current fantasy mainstream. Which seems odd, at least to me, that the journey type of fantasy novel with a grand quest like the Lord of the Rings or every Dungeons And Dragons campaign would fall out to the popular eye.
My theory as to why this happened was the rise of fantasy in television. Most notably Game of Thrones. The show gave the books a huge boost in popularity making them the pinnacle of fantasy for our time. GoT is a great show and a great series of books but I think the sword and sorcery or epic quest fantasy novels are a little underappreciated currently. That may change as time goes.
I say that because from my experience with fantasy noir novels and the current tabletop renaissance going on I think more people will be looking for something closer to the stories that they are sharing with their friends at the table. Or, I am completely wrong and projecting my own wants onto the entire fantasy community. But, I am curious as a reader and writer which do you prefer. The politics of normal life or the epic quest?
Fantasy Noir or Hardboiled Fantasy is a niche genre but probably one of the best ones out there today. It throws away all the ideas of the grand journey and looks more toward the people on the street and investigations. My personal favorite example is the Ratcatchers series by Matt Colville. It focuses on a main character in the first book as he tries to solve something for the church he is a part of.
I think the hardboiled fantasy and the fantasy noir is the direction that main stream fantasy will go in. People’s attention spans are getting shorter and these novels rely on being punchy and short and delivering the story to you quickly as it clues you in on what’s going on in the world. It is a far cry from the 1000 manuscripts that George RR Matin takes his time to put out on the shelf. This is not to say that this style of writing is bad in any way, but I personally can barely get through the novels and I quite like them. Recently I skipped the fourth novel in the series after talking to people to find out that it had no information that was super necessary to understand what would be going on in the next book.
The longer form fantasy is still great and has seen great success over the years. With Patrick Rothfuss’ series set to become the next fantasy TV series. So this is not to say it is on it’s way out but I think over the years that Hardboiled fantasy may become just a prevalent or more so as it develops as a genre and gains more attention. If you have read any hardboiled or fantasy noir works that you think are great let me know. I am always looking for more inspiration and things to read. And, please tell me if you think that this part of the fantasy genre is going to gain steam or if you think that it is a fad that may soon die out.