As I mentioned in my last piece, I love writing. Not only that, but, I love reading as well. Over the last few years, I’ve started reading more and more books from a subset of the fantasy genre, as well as science fiction, and I think those trends are here to stay.
What are those themes and what does that tell us about where the audience is moving?
- Fantastic Foods / Cooking
- Flight to the country
Let’s unpack these one by one and see what the trend is, why it’s happening, and then see some examples of writers that produce this kind of work, if you’d like to explore the topic further.
Harem fiction (and reverse harem, for women) is the fantasy trope where the guy doesn’t just get the woman, he gets all the women. Clearly, reverse harem means the lead female protagonist gets all the men. These don’t always end up with group situations where all members of the harem satisfy the lead, but it’s relatively common. People have commented in reviews that these are, “Fantasy fulfillment,” which makes sense to me. We’re reading fiction, not reality, right?
The second big trend, LitRPG, is a portmanteau of the words, “Literature,” and the acronym, RPG, standing for Role Playing Game. In these books, the trend is to have the main character transport from one world into another, or have some event happening in Earth that results in human beings having, essentially, a quantifiable interaction with the environment. We don’t have a love score in real life, and while we can compare bench press numbers, that’s hardly a perfect universal measurement of strength. If you played Dungeons and Dragons, or similar games, it’s like reading through somebody’s campaign.
Gamelit, another portmanteau this time of Game and Literature, is similar yet distinct from LitRPG. Not ever gamelit novel has the statistics, the in-game announcements that LitRPG tends to have, as while the narrative is about a game, or takes place in a game, there might not necessarily be in game notifications. Author Blaise Corvin had a good breakdown between the two trends in his blog, which you can read here, the difference between gamelit and litrpg.
Fantastic foods, or Cooking in fantasy books, has always been a well enjoyed trope, but, as modern cooking has become more complicated, richer and more delicious, so, too, are the trends in cooking you’ll find in the wonderful fantasy books being produced these days. One series, Light Online, has a character that’s all about food, being a farmer, and eventually an Inn Keeper. The series is a fantastic read and it’s available for a decent price if you’re into Amazon Kindle ebooks.
Flight to the country, as opposed to flight to the city. Over the past century, life has become increasingly centralized, with more people than ever concentrated into cities, rather than spread out in the country, or living a life with a lot of space, no car noise, and generally cleaner than a downtown, filled with noisy cars, air pollution and constant background noise. Growing up, I read stories about protagonists moving from the country to the city, now these days, the literature trend in fantasy is to make money (if needed) in the city, then move to the country to do something new. Or if possible, move to the country right away, and be clever about resource utilization and transform the raw inputs into relatively basic businesses, relating to say anything up to the 18th century or so. Intellectually, I find this trend interesting, as I only learned about Stirling Engines as a result of a fantasy series by Eric Vall (amazing author).
Are there trends you’ve seen that are entertaining and worth reading in fantasy, or other kinds of fiction? Let us know in the comments or via social media, we’d love to hear from you.
If you want more recommendations for authors, other than those mentioned above, in these trends feel free to drop us a note on our Facebook or Twitter page and we’ll give an update.