Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Inkpot Article on Asian Fantasy

Read an interesting article posted on Inkpot about the wonderful fantasy themes to be found in Asian legend, and why more western authors don't make use of them. Once more my heart skipped a beat.

I agree with some items in the article. Fantasy has too often drawn on European pseudo-mediaeval themes while ignoring the other 95% of the world's mythology. That's the main reason I started writing a book based on Chinese and Japanese legend.

Some things in the article I'm not so sure about. It seems to suggest authors should use Asian myth complete, without attempting to 'westernise' it or 'water it down'. In my opinion, this rarely works. To do that is to present a story that is more a showcase of Asian mythology, rather than an entertaining story. The Kapas might be defeated by getting them to bow, but once you've done that - where do you go next? Good fantasy (imho), takes existing themes and ideas and moulds them into an exciting and suspenseful story, without worrying about the purity of the underlying source. Could this be why Asian style fantasy has often failed in the western market?

I'm loving that this debate is starting to raise its head in literary blogs. It's making me feel pretty happy to have an Asian themed fantasy nearly ready to submit. Of course it's no guarantee of success, but it puts me in a better situation than if I'd spent the last two years writing a book about Vampires.

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