Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Preaching: My beef with fantasy

I'm reading "The Pirate King," the new book by R.A. Salvatore right now, and it's reminding me of something annoying that I find throughout much of the fantasy I read.  Salvatore is one of my favorite authors (we went to the same college), but he's very guilty of this.  Many fantasy novels preach to me.  Overtly, openly, in awkward dialog and thoughts.  And it's getting annoying.

Now, I know that fantasy novels are about exploring the differences between right and wrong, and Drizzit Do'Urden is constantly fighting the inner battle between what is right and what is wrong.  Recognizing that battle is a wonderful thing, and there is nothing wrong with exploring the dichotomy.  But do we really need to be so blatant about it?  What happened to show, don't tell?  Can't Drizzit's (and other characters') actions speak for themselves?  Can't the conversation be written in a way that Drizzit isn't preaching?  Can't we have some subtlety here? 

And I'm not picking on Salvatore, he's just the culprit I'm reading now.  I think they all do it, to an extent. 

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