I’m still busy, so here’s a quick link roundup:
Eric Rosenfield weighs in on the nihilism in epic fantasy issue at Wet Asphalt. For Rosenfield, this whole conflict very much boils down to political differences.
It’s true that the two sides in this debate largely align along political faultlines, but I still find this argument a bit reductionist. Just as not everybody who enjoys the darker and grittier fantasy of Joe Abercrombie, George R.R. Martin or Matthew Stover is a member of the decadent nihilist society for world domination and decline, not everybody who wants the occasional character to root for and does not want to read fantasy fiction about people tortured and murdered in graphic detail is automatically a rightwing reactionary either. Speculative fiction is a big genre with room for conservatives, communists and everything in between. And that’s a very good thing.
Finally, I also have issues with the fact that he calls Stephenie Meyer a religious fundamentalist. Yes, we all know that Stephenie Meyer is Mormon and that her religious worldview informs her writing. However, unlike Orson Scott Card, Stephenie Meyer has never used her popularity as a writer to further the political agenda of her church. Card did speak out on gay rights and other issues repeatedly, which is why many people refuse to read him. But so far Stephenie Meyer has kept her political opinions to herself. She’s just a fantasy writer who happens to be Mormon. And frankly, the fact that she is constantly reduced to her religion is getting very wearying.
Adrian Faulkner weighs in that debates of this kind quickly degenerate into reflexive Tolkien bashing just as any debate about urban fantasy, paranormal romance and even YA fantasy quickly degenerates into reflexive Stephenie Meyer bashing.
At the New York Times, Haruki Murakami writes about the difference between the 20th and 21st centuries, about shifting perceptions and realities and what all that means for fiction. Definitely a very interesting article, though I don’t fully agree with him. It’s also quite pertinent to the current epic fantasy discussion.
Mark Charan Newton has a nice post on worldbuilding. I particularly like his point that in his experience the fictional history created by British fantasy writers tends to be more extensive than that created by American fantasy writers.