I have the pleasure of sharing a guest post by author Josh Powell who answers my question...
ELF: What do you think is the strongest attraction about the genre(s) you like to write in?
JP: Taking something that people love that is often so serious, and making people laugh with it. Fantasy is ripe with common tropes begging for being made fun of. I consider fantasy to be a genre that explores the world of its time by providing a safety net of fictional metaphor, whereas science fiction is how we envision we will be. Fantasy is whom we see ourselves as, science fiction is who we think we should become.
The Lord of the Rings set the standard, as an epic battle between good and evil. How often in our world do we position an issue as us, good, against them, evil? It happens in every war humans have ever fought, it happens too often today on every political issue in the United States. The truth is often far more nuanced and every side sees themselves as good. People don’t set out thinking muah-ah-ah, I’m going to do something evil. Everyone’s narrative stars themselves as the hero and the good guy. We too often forget that when dealing with others.
Ender's Game is a great example of science fiction demonstrating who we think we should become. The theme of that book is that we will overcome evil, but then discover that the truth is that the enemy was not out to destroy us as we thought and it was a profound misunderstanding, but if we are going to war as a result of a misunderstanding we should make sure we win.
Star Trek is an even better example, envisioning us as explorers attempting to avoid conflict wherever possible but willing to kick evil’s ass if necessary.
There are probably even better and more representations of both of these, would love to hear your examples in the comments.
But back to what makes funny fantasy in particular something with a strong attraction, I think it’s because people like to take a break from the seriousness of it. Fantasy is a story about ourselves, wrapped in a metaphor, so funny fantasy let’s us laugh at ourselves in a safe way. There is a part of me in all of the main characters of the story, so when I laugh at them, I’m laughing at myself. I hope that people see something of themselves in the characters as they read it. If they do that, and they laugh, then I think I’ve done a great job.
by Josh Powell
GENRE: Humorous Epic Fantasy
On their way to apprehend a temple thief, Gurken Stonebiter, a templerager of the temple of Durstin Firebeard, and Pellonia, a little, but infuriatingly clever, girl stumble onto a quest to save a town from an evil dragon. The dragon is demanding sacrifices of maidens, and the town is fresh out. Can they discover a way to sate the dragon's bloodlust and save the town?
Along the way, Gurken and Pellonia meet up with Maximina, a half under-elven woman that also happens to be a tad psychic, a ranger with a dash of necromantic ability, a smidgen of samurai training, and just enough time living as a rogue to acquire the ability to sneak up on and stab a foe in the back. Maximina is full of clever ideas on how to gain a tactical advantage over her foes, and on occasion they even work.
During their adventures, Gurken, Pellonia, and Maximina face a snarky unicorn, do battle with a terrible frost giant, contend with a rival adventuring party bent on their utter humiliation, and confront the end of the world in the form of an evil sorcerer and a teeming dragon horde. Can they save the world one more time?
“Stand aside, master thief,” Gurken said. “Your skills are useless here. As you can see, there is no lock for you to pick. The door is barred from the other side.”
“You haven’t even tried to open it yet,” Pellonia said. She walked up to the door and gave it a nudge. It did not open.
“As I said,” said Gurken, “stand aside.” Gurken took an enormous swing at the door, his axe biting deeply and lodging into it. Gurken strained to pull the axe back out of the door.
The board behind the window slid aside and a face with bushy eyebrows and a bulbous nose looked out. “Did you just cut into my door with your axe?” the dwarf asked.
“Aye, I did,” Gurken agreed, turning red.
“Without knocking first? Just come cuttin’ your way in?”
“Well, the door was in our way.”
“I should hope so! That’s what doors are for. To keep some people in, some people out, and let others pass between. It wouldn’t be of much use if it didn’t get in folks’ way.”
“But we needed to get by,” Gurken said.
“Did you consider knocking?”
“I did try to push it open,” Pellonia said. “It didn’t budge.”
“Of course not! It’s locked! To. Keep. People. Out. You have seen a door before, have you not?”
“Then let’s try this again. I’m going to close the window. You knock.”
“But we’ve already got your attention,” Pellonia said.
“It seems to me, that you need the practice,” said the dwarf, closing the wooden cover behind the window.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
JOSH POWELL, wielder of the Sommerswerd, destroyer of the thread, expeditioner to Barrier Peaks, discoverer of his magic talent, and venturer into the Tomb of Horrors is known for having survived a harrowing adolescence full of danger and fantasy. He's gone on to write The Berserker and the Pedant and Dragon Apocalypse and is currently working on the yet to be named third book in the series.
He also spends some not inconsiderable amount of time wiggling his fingers over a keyboard as a software engineer. He lives with his wife, Marianne, and two amazing children, Liam and Chloe, in sunny California, where winter is, most decidedly, never coming.
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