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Old 02-25-2012, 07:33 PM   #1
AndrewH
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Non-monomyth fantasy?

I was wondering if anyone has any recommendations for good fantasy novels/series which do not rely on the monomyth-style story.

Perhaps I just need to expand my horizons, but it seems all the fantasy I've read in the last 10 years (except Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell) falls into the basic Hero's Journey storyline; humble young person discovers great power and goes on to save the world.
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Old 02-25-2012, 07:51 PM   #2
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You know, the only fantasy series *I* can think of that meets your requirements is the one I'm working on now. Joe Abercrombie's "The First Law" series

The Blade Itself
Before They Are Hanged
Last Arguments of Kings

and the standalone novels

Best Served Cold
The Heroes

I'm a bit more than half way through Before They Are Hanged and I can tell you there is no humble young person in the whole series.
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Old 02-25-2012, 07:57 PM   #3
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There's lots of it out there. You just need to step away from epic/high fantasy if you want to run into it more often.

Try some works by Gaiman, Barker, Mieville, or maybe Felix Gilman or Anthony Huso. Guy Gavriel Kay, Greg Keyes, Tim Powers.
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Old 02-25-2012, 08:14 PM   #4
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I like Simon R. Green and Glen Cook, but might not suit your taste.

Helen
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Old 02-25-2012, 08:21 PM   #5
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...forgot to add Charles de Lint.
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Old 02-25-2012, 08:41 PM   #6
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i refuse to read about traditional 'heroes' anymore. i need my characters gritty.

there is 'epic' fantasy out there that doesn't involve snotnoses saving the world. off the top of my head-

The Conqueror's Shadow by Ari Marmell
The Half-Orcs by David Dalglish
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Old 02-25-2012, 08:49 PM   #7
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@jgaiser: Joe Abercrombie is on my To Be Read list, I'll have to bump him up to a higher priority.

@DiapDealer: Powers, Keyes, and Gaiman are all on my To Be Read list. I really liked Mieville's Perdido Street Station, and really disliked everything else he's written. I'm a huge Guy Gavriel Kay fan, odd that he slipped my mind. I've enjoyed some Charles de Lint. I'll have to look into the rest of those suggestions!

@speakingtohe: Glen Cook is on my To Be Read list, I'll have to look into Simon R. Green.

@xg4bx: I think I prefer my fantasy gritty, thanks I'll take a look at those.
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Old 02-25-2012, 08:53 PM   #8
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Well, it has been said that there are only 5 basic plot lines in the history of story telling.
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Old 02-25-2012, 09:10 PM   #9
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Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen. No hero's journey there (well, maybe one, kind of, in amongst a lot of other, much more interesting stuff). Not many clear-cut heroes at all, come to think of it.

Last edited by Belfaborac; 02-25-2012 at 09:12 PM.
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Old 02-25-2012, 09:23 PM   #10
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Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen. No hero's journey there (well, maybe one, kind of, in amongst a lot of other, much more interesting stuff). Not many clear-cut heroes at all, come to think of it.
I was going to mention Malazan, but I hadn't read much of the series yet.

I like me some China Miéville, but I have a hard time putting him in the Epic Fantasy genre. He's sometimes considered to be part of the group of writers called New Weird.
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Old 02-25-2012, 09:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgaiser
I like me some China Miéville, but I have a hard time putting him in the Epic Fantasy genre.
I certainly didn't mean to lump him in with epic fantasy. I was trying to give suggestions outside the traditional epic/high fantasy subgenre... where the heroes quest still tends to dominate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xg4bx
i refuse to read about traditional 'heroes' anymore. i need my characters gritty.
I lean this way myself lately... but I'll still read just about anything that's written well. I'm not willing to entirely give up on whimsy just yet.

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Old 02-25-2012, 09:38 PM   #12
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I certainly didn't mean to lump him in with epic fantasy. I was trying to give suggestions outside the traditional epic/high fantasy subgenre... where the heroes quest still tends to dominate.
Fair enough. I read the request from OP as looking for something different than boy hero fantasy. As I said, China is a good alternative to the standard fantasy novel.
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Old 02-25-2012, 09:39 PM   #13
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Fair enough. I read the request from OP as looking for something different than boy hero fantasy. As I said, China is a good alternative to the standard fantasy novel.
We're apparently in agreement then. Sorry for the confusion.
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:02 PM   #14
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Another vote for China Mièville from me. You can't get much further away from the stereotypes than his books.
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:03 PM   #15
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I wasn't thinking of epic fantasy, necessarily.

I'm in the middle of Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy and even though I'm enjoying it I can't help but be annoyed by yet another hero's journey tale.

To forestall the inevitable Game of Thrones recommendations, I've already read them.

To throw out a recommendation of my own, Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake.
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