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What’s so wrong with unicorns, anyway?

Posted by on December 6, 2007

Why aren’t fantasy novels respectable?

This is probably a stupid question that will be answered using the word “unicorn” a lot.

But seriously, why not? I know there are more than a lot of badly-written fantasy books out there, but the same is true for standard fiction. And doesn’t it speak highly for an author’s imagination if she can create an entirely new world, or can integrate new bits into the real world?

I’m no great fan myself of epic fantasy with a Good God and an Evil God and lots of battles between People With Unpronounceable Names and No Sense Of Humor. But I read a lot of authors who can create a realistic, compelling story with characters who are three-dimensional and likable and they use hardly any unnecessary capital letters. And I wonder why these books are so marginalized and disrespected. Can anyone answer this?

Extra points to people who don’t just rant about the Old White Men and their canon. Although I do seem to have more female authors on my fantasy shelves and more male authors on my literature shelves, so maybe that’s worth discussing.

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