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2004.07.26

Comments

Monty

I think in the case of Fantasy, there's a strong tendency to lean toward Medieval Britain as the source material; most fantasy seems to come from the same nonspecific historical period as Dungeons and Dragons, with Lords and Knights and whatnot. So I guess it would make sense that British authors would have a better feel for that sort of thing?

When I try to think of specifically "American" fantasy, what comes to mind is mostly Urban Fantasy, although I guess Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill count.

Lisa

Your comment touches on one of the core contentions of Albion -- that British imagination is deeply rooted in historical sources stretching back to the Celts. So it makes sense that American imagination wouldn't have comparable historical source material yet.

The "urban fantasy" you mention is sorta American, but I tend to think of John Shirley and William Gibson as the forefathers of that -- if I'm reading the descriptive use of "urban" correctly -- and they're British and Canadian. Then again, a lot of cyberpunk is American. Maybe the idea of ahistorical reinvention is a trait of the American imagination?

Alexandra

I think that the affinity for British fantasy probably comes from the fact that Americans don't really have a "medieval" America to fantasize about. We have Native Americans, but so few of us relate to that culture that its legends and folklore are more like Greek mythology - from an ancient and faraway culture, interesting but not our own. Whereas Britain has castles and dungeons and centuries of formative history that is really OUR history too, on some level. When we dream about the future we see America, but when we fantasize about the past we see Britain - our past. (As a nation, not as individuals, of course.)

And the Christian backlash against Harry Potter always struck me as odd. I would have thought the opposite would happen, if anything. After all, the books are about a powerful evil that can corrupt and kill those who toy with it, and the subsequent necessity of remaining unambiguosly, absolutely Good. There is temptation which must be fought, souls that have to be saved, and the possiblity for repentance/redemption. Hey, there's even a snake! Assuming that Harry Potter defeats Voldemort in the end, it's actually quite similar to religious parables: those who fight evil will prevail, and those who follow evil will perish. Don't be evil, kids.

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