Web Review: Fantasy Faction

Vision 67

Web Review: Fantasy Faction


Erin M. Hartshorn

Copyright © 2012, Erin M. Hartshorn, All Rights Reserved



Would you like to find a single site for all things fantasy related? A place to go to read reviews of both classic and newly released fantasy (more of the latter than the former, but that's to be expected), to read articles about poisons and magic systems, to discover interviews with your favorite authors, and to participate in forum discussions? What if it had a podcast, too? If this sounds like a great site to you, look no further than Fantasy Faction (http://fantasy-faction.com), a U.K.-based site that has the lofty goal of becoming the equivalent of GameStop for gamers or IMDB for movie fans.


The interview section (http://fantasy-faction.com/category/interview) includes such names as Myke Cole, Kelly McCullough, Cinda Williams Chima, Seanan McGuire, Joe Abercrombie, Patrick Rothfuss, and Chris Evans. The interviews are as varied as the authors -- long, detailed responses from Chris Evans, with more telegraphic replies from Patrick Rothfuss, and discussions on pros and cons of fanfic from Seanan McGuire.


Reviews (http://fantasy-faction.com/category/reviews) are similarly varied, covering a variety of works from horror to epic fantasy. Reviews touch on the background of the writer, and tell something of the world and the conflicts within it, but avoid revealing so much as to spoil the experience for those, like myself, who like to discover books as we read them, free of foreknowledge. These are well thought out discussions, and if they have the occasional dangling clause, i.g. "Having never read anything like it, Wendig’s writing style is distinctive.", it is a flaw that can be overlooked.


Also in the reviews section are articles discussing specific works that may delve into what makes a particular subgenre function. The survey of low-fantasy genres, for example, (http://fantasy-faction.com/2011/survey-of-low-fantasy-subgenres) is quite extensive. I don't necessarily agree with all of their categorizations here -- comic fantasy, in particular, does not fit either definition of low fantasy (less magic or more real world), and it feels as if the author of that particular article felt the need to lump "everything else" into a single post. The description and examples given for each subgenre, however, might be useful to a writer trying to decide where his or her work fits in the grand scheme of things.


The true worth of this site to the fantasy writer, however, comes from the articles and the forum. Articles include more than the aforementioned discussions of subgenres, covering outlines, novellas, economics, alternative magic systems, and even poisons (http://fantasy-faction.com/2012/arsenic-and-old-leaves-the-art-of-poisoning-your-fantasy-characters-part-1). And what would secondary-world fantasy be without religion? But religion, even in fantasy, is a fraught topic (http://fantasy-faction.com/2012/creating-god-religion-in-fantasy-part-1).


As for the forum (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/), it has subforums for everything from comic books to science fiction, one for responses to its podcast, one for a book club (currently reading and discussing The Quantum Thief), as well as several on writing-related topics, from information about their anthology to self publishing to putting up work for critiques. Writing-related posts vary from people looking for a different word to call wizards to a poster needing input on mythpunk.


The critique area of the forums, sadly, is open to the public to view, which might lead to issues with first publication rights for those who post here; if you're looking for a critique for your work, you're probably better off looking elsewhere. One poster brought up this subject at the beginning of February, and the administrator said they'd look into the issue, but at the time of this writing, nothing had changed.


The Fantasy Faction podcast (http://fantasy-faction.com/category/podcast), which is available either on the site or through iTunes, has only two episodes so far, an interview with Joe Abercrombie and a discussion of the most-anticipated books of 2012. It will take several more episodes before I can say whether this will be added to my must-listen podcasts, or simply another part of the site that I don't access.


Overall, Fantasy Faction has much to offer both readers and writers of fantasy, and I definitely recommend the articles as background reading when world-building. While you're there, poke around and see what you think of all they have to offer.


Links listed in this review: