Shut up. I know this is a dumb title, but cut me some slack here. This latest news from the creative front is rather grim. Apparently, science fiction's reputation is a lot worse off than I previously imagined!

The latest ImagineFX magazine reveals that "fantasy is back - in a big way". Damn! Maybe I underestimated the immense popularity of this genre. I was so caught up with giant robots beating the junk out of each other that completely missed this phenomenon.

"Fantasy is more popular now than its been since the last golden age of the 1960's and 1970's." says artists Steven Stone, who believes that the movie and book industries are the cause of turnaround.

You wanna be an orc!?

My thoughts:
The article states that advancement of technology was the savior of bad fantasy. No longer is the genre synonymous with the usual hardcore geeky trappings - thanks to Hollywood, like Uwe Boll's Dungeon Siege... okay, scratch that - thanks to Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, the result has been an upsurge in commercial and critical interest.

Lets not forget the immense popularity of online games (at the time of this writing) like Guild Wars, World of Warcraft, a game so popular that it actually earned a theatrical released sometime in 2009. TAKE THAT HALO!

Artists such as Daniel Dociu, according to the article, believe that these fantasy-based videogames are what really brought fantasy to the mainstream. "It's perfectly suited to realising fantasies", or so he says.

The article goes on to say that the advent of digital art has opened the gates for hordes of talented young artists to produce their own fantasy based art.

"The internet has really facilitated a coming together of the art world, providing artists with a lot of exposure, and giving the art community a new found sense of energy" says Daniel. "It's also enabled younger artists to rub shoulders with the big boys."

My thoughts:
That is true. Too bad my skills are still in the "In Ten Years, I Will Be Too Ashamed Too Look At My Art Phase" so I guess rubbing shoulders with the likes of Dave Seeley is still a far off experience.

Now this is where the article gets real interesting...

Fantasy art may be enjoying the best mainstream exposure its had in a long while, but there's little doubt science fiction lags some way behind. It remains a popular genre in the video games arena, and is still a TV mainstay, but on cinema screens, in bookshops, and other key areas its presence is minimal in comparison to that of fantasy fare.

My thoughts:
F**K! F**K! *ahem* Well, it's all true I'm afraid. If you look at the beginning of this blog, I was so caught up with videogames and its apparent fascination with sci-fi, with space marines, robots and icky aliens... but now... I don't know what to think. I don't mean to boycott it, but I think its time I look beyond the comfy confines of this science fiction thing.

Ah... now that I think about it, there's aisles and aisles of Dragon Lance, Forgotten Realms and all kinds of fantasy books in my local bookstore. However, the only sci-fi stuff you'll ever find are Starwars, a handful of Star Trek books, and a couple of the ol' classics like Frank Herbert and Orson Scott Card. Sheesh.

Chris Moore, a highly celebrated illustrator makes a comment: "The market certainly isn't as fertile as it used to be. I wouldn't say it necessarily happened at the expense of sci-fi, but fantasy does seem to have taken over."

The most recent Starwars trilogy performed well at the box office, of course, but failed to connect with the audience unlike the first three, and crucially failed to inspire studio confidence in further sci-fi epics."

In the book world, there seems to be a lack of new sci-fi authors breaking through, and even diminished interest in classics."

My thoughts:
Well, what can I say? Starwars is actually a different sort of monster - its self-financed by Lucas... but still, it wasn't as influential as the original trilogy. *Sigh* So people don't like to read the ol' H.G. Wells stuff anymore? Ah, what can I say? With films like the Hobbit on the horizon, and a few others, I wonder if there will ever be a big sci-fi epic on screen... Unless it happens to be Transformers - but is that really sci-fi, or a big toy commercial? Bah!

In the publishing world there's also been a move away from the traditional book cover... Books with a more traditional kind of sci-fi art weren't perceived as something the average Joe wanted to read, so publishers started to package he books in a more anonymous way. I think that's backfired to a certain extent."

My thoughts:
That... I didn't notice. What I did notice however is that fantasy novels never followed that path. You know its a fantasy novel because there's always a dragon or a dwarf or elf or whatever on the cover. You know?

Are the covers for the Warhammer 40k's Horus Heresy novel series could be a step in the right direction? They got rid of the whole "Warhammer 40,000" logo thing, and now it just says... well... the title. Is that good enough for the average Joe to pick it up?

I think the draw is the cover art itself. At least the guys who published this thing got a real talented artist. But without overtly saying its a sci-fi novel, is the cover effective? (Personally, I feel it gives the series class, just what the genre needs)

A generic pic of a bunch of fantasy cosplayers! Cool?

"On the fan scene, go to a sci-fi convention and you might get 1000 people attending, whereas something like Fantasycon attracks 10,000. That says it all. People don't want to indulge in all the sci-fi technology."

My thoughts:
No comment. Although in my country, people go to cons primarily as anime characters. No fantasycons or whatever I'm afraid. Oh! People do dress up as stormtroopers...

Daniel Dociu's final words: "I hope that people wil start to look at the fantasy genre from a broader perspective, realising it can connect with audiences on a deeper level. It doesn't have to limit itself to elves in tights and orcs with bad teeth!"

My thoughts:
I suppose I could start writing about the weirder side of fantasy like Neil Gaiman or something... Nah. I'll let this thought simmer a bit. For now, I think I need a nice long break from all this. Lets all watch a short film based on the Halo franchise that failed to impress Hollywood execs. Doh!

1 Responses to Fantasy Killed The Sci-fi Star(wars)!

  1. Anonymous Says:
  2. Great work.

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