Thoughtful Thursday: Declaration of Fantasy Reader Independence

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsWhen in the Course of reading too many crappy fantasy novels it becomes necessary for one reader to dissolve the glue which has connected the pages of the latest disaster with each other and to assume among the buyers at the bookstore, the separate and equal position on queue to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the careers of fantasy authors requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all books have not been created equal, that they should be endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Characterization, Dialog and the pursuit of a Plot. — That to secure these rights, editors are instituted among authors, deriving their just powers from the consent of Strunk and White, — That whenever any Form of Writing becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the Editor to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Copy, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Plot advancement and Happy Ending. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that the rules of Writing long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that fantasy readers are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the clichés to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of plucky orphans and noble barbarians, pursuing invariably the same Magical Object evinces a design to reduce them to absolute Boredom, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Writing, and to demand new Authors for their future enjoyment. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Readers; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Ways of Reading. The history of the present Fantasy genre is a history of formulaic vampires and tattooed femme fatales, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Embarrassment over these Readers.

I, therefore, as a Representative of the editors at Fantasy Literature, on the Internet Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Ranking of Google for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good Readers of this Website, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Readers are, and of Right ought to be Free and Informed Readers, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the Monarchy as the only form of government in fantasy novels, and that all literary connection between them and the stale and unoriginal, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent Readers, they have full Power to levy reading embargos on the uninspired, conclude Books that are insipid without finishing them, contract hits on Tolkien knockoffs, establish limits on how many books should be in a series before it just becomes ridiculous, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent Readers may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of the multiple Divine Providences that have been created throughout the history of the genre, we mutually pledge to each other our Library cards, our Favorite author and book recommendations, and our sacred Hours of Reading Time.

So, dear readers, what is your metaphorical Stamp Act?  From what part of the fantasy genre would you most like to declare independence?

And feel free to add your John Hancock if you agree.

As always, one commenter will be chosen to select a book of their choice from our stacks.


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RUTH ARNELL (on FanLit’s staff January 2009 — August 2013) earned a Ph.D. in political science and is a college professor in Idaho. From a young age she has maxed out her library card the way some people do credit cards. Ruth started reading fantasy with A Wrinkle in Time and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — books that still occupy an honored spot on her bookshelf today. Ruth and her husband have a young son, but their house is actually presided over by a flame-point Siamese who answers, sometimes, to the name of Griffon.

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10 comments

  1. I don’t say this very often, but in this case I feel it’s appropriate:

    LOL

  2. This was…..AWESOME.

  3. Ruth, did you make this up?

  4. Ruth Arnell /

    Yes. Well, I kind of plagiarized TJ, but mostly.

    Am I in trouble?

  5. SandyG265 /

    Great post. I’d like independence from books that pretend to be fantasy but are actually romances

  6. Ruth, this may be a federal offense….

    Yeah, Sandy!! I’m totally with you!!! If you’re a romance novel, just suck it up and admit it!

  7. I claim independance for the big door-stopper, never-ending,epic series with near decades between books.

    This are big commentment for the reader, the author should be as commented to finishing the books in acceptable amount of time; yearly, 18 months but never more then 2 years between. And maybe instead of introducing 5 new sub-plots per book, keep it to 3 or 4 total and finish the one series. If this world(setting)has other stories to explore, do it a completely seperate series.

  8. I, Thorizan d’Peregrin, do hereby affirm this Declaration of Independence.

    Also, for me, blatant inconsistencies will send a book sailing across the room.

  9. Gryphonic /

    Love It!

    Add for me: books that are wrapped up in nanoseconds because the author has met the word count.

  10. I’m declaring independance from writers who will write 16 other books but won’t finish a trilogy and just leaves their readers hanging.

    And, books which were written by someone who stayed up for 3 days playing RPG games and then decided writing the quest into book format was a brilliant idea. No more cliched quest novels/series.

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