‘What Turns You Off Fantasy?’ (2013)

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Do you shy away from Russian novels because you can’t even guess how to pronounce the characters’ names? Some people have that same problem with fantasy.

What Turns You Off Fantasy?

I don’t know that characters in fantasy novels have names that are any harder to believe in than the names of college presidents. Clostridia Whittington Farnsworthy–names like that. Don’t tell me “Aragorn” or “Corsus” is worse than that.

I am forced to admit that great steaming chunks of fantasy fiction are totally worthless. I don’t care so much about the names. It’s the stead downpour of cliches that puts me off.

But a fantasy that really works–Ah! Priceless!

4 comments on “‘What Turns You Off Fantasy?’ (2013)

  1. I imagine that finding names for characters in fantasy is a balancing act. Names need to be comprehensible, but not overly familiar. If a fantasy had characters with names that sound like something you’d hear in daily life, the fantasy characters could come off as satirical. If, OTOH, the names require too much work to decipher and pronounce, the reader’s interest might wane quickly.

    1. I did all right with Jack and Ellayne and Martis.
      But I admit it–making up names is some of the fun of fantasy. And as someone who lives in a state that has towns with names like Matedaconck, Absecon, and Piscataway, I think I know how far I can go in that respect.

  2. What I found annoying in Russian novels was the way characters would have multiple names – how to keep up with who is who? But then the Bible is pretty good at having several names for people which to a novice can be confusing also.

    1. You got a problem with Chedarlaomer, king of Elam? How about Mahershalalhashbaz? Isaiah’s son couldn’t have been overly thankful for that moniker.

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