In my personal experience it has been difficult to study fantasy without considering history. Perhaps not strange, given that most western authors seem to set their work in something spun out of a fantastical medieval Europe. Not to mention the amount of borrowing that has been done from Norse mythology. That said, there is so much more to the genre than “Eurofantasy” and history is not the enemy here, no, I consider it a great ally. What better way to open our eyes to something new than looking at the history of someplace foreign?
As far as storytelling goes, there are a number of very old stories that have been retold time and again. In fantasy I suppose that would mean the Tolkien-esque stories, high fantasy paired with that sense of wonder brand of magic. To be frank though, I am no longer interested in stories about The pretty Elf of the Woodland realms with AHmazing archery skills or the burly Dwarf under the mountain with a bad Scottish accent.
(I haven’t forgotten about you either, Mr. tall-dark-sexy-brooding-mysterious-hooded-assassin-protagonist. Nope.)
By no means are these stories bad! *cough* They have their place and their audience, and that is awesome. For them. No, seriously.
What I would love to see, is that more authors in the west (read esp. Europe, the U.S. and Scandinavia) would study other cultures and be inspired by them. Show better representation! The main characters do not all have to be 2o-something white males. Add a bit of spice! But don’t go all dune on me, or actually, why not? Let’s travel the universe. Better yet, I would love to see more fantasy work translated from other languages available in the local stores. Well, just seeing more fantasy in the stores at all would make my day!
Then again, perhaps I am wrong! Perhaps there is plenty of novels out there and I am just looking in the wrong places. But seriously though, let us all look a bit further than our own back yard.
More cultural diversity in fantasy!
In my mind, there is no better genre for it.