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Jayngfet
2008-05-02, 05:13 PM
So I was reading drow tales when mention of the main character reading fantasy novels (http://www.drowtales.com/mainarchive.php?check=1&order=chapters&overview=1&chibi=1&cover=1&page=1&extra=1&id=58) popped up, the one thing I don't get is how that would work is that that webcomic takes place in a high fantasy setting, complete with floating sky islands, dragons, half things, giant spiders, magic schools, demons, and lots of other things, and odds are similar things have happened in other media.

The question here is, What counts as fantasy within fantasy?

Kosmopolite
2008-05-02, 05:19 PM
Science-Fiction?

bosssmiley
2008-05-02, 05:20 PM
People IRL read novels (adventure or otherwise) ostensibly set in the real world, don't they? Why should the world of fantasy be any different? :smallconfused:

What would count as fantasy within a fantasy world? Same as in our world: anything which doesn't count as fact.

Jayngfet
2008-05-02, 05:23 PM
People IRL read novels (adventure or otherwise) ostensibly set in the real world, don't they? Why should the world of fantasy be any different? :smallconfused:

What would count as fantasy within a fantasy world? Same as in our world: anything which doesn't count as fact.

the word fantasy was used, repeatedly, so it's gotta seem pretty amazing to a clan of dragon riding fey who enslave catgirls and dragons regularly.

FoE
2008-05-02, 06:11 PM
In the fictional world of the Watchmen comic book, pirates replace superheroes as the focus of at least one comic called "Tales of the Black Freighter," which is featured in the Watchmen's storyline. It's implied most comic books are about pirates. Argh. :smallwink:

In Girl Genius, most fiction is about scientific geniuses known as "Sparks," the mad scientists who essentially rule that world. In fact, most of the recent fiction is about the Heterodyne boys, two brothers who were great heroes and who disappeared just before the start of the comic's storyline. One of their allies, Klaus Wulfenbach, is actually one of the main antagonists of Girl Genius, and he quite enjoys hearing the tales where he is featured.

Catskin
2008-05-02, 06:54 PM
The question here is, What counts as fantasy within fantasy?

I don't think this is what you're getting at, but isn't fantasy being used to refer to an entertaining genre rather than an instructional one? It's not so much about the particulars of the content. One's entertaining and easily consumed, the other makes the reader think and interpret and reflect. Either can have dragons and sorcery and dark elves.

Kosmopolite
2008-05-02, 07:23 PM
When is fantasy an 'instructional genre'?

Catskin
2008-05-02, 08:01 PM
When is fantasy an 'instructional genre'?

I don't mean something absolute, but relative and cultural. Of course a reader can learn from anything. Reading Beowulf and Gardner's Grendel in High School was supposed to teach me something. Going to see Beowulfthe film was supposed to entertain me.

When Tennyson writes a sonnet about a mythological beast slumbering in the depths of the sea until an apocalypse, a poem called "Kraken," it's quite a bit different than the way Disney handles the same mythos. I think the cultural expectation is that Tennyson is going to convey something wise and significant while Disney is going to be pretty fun.

Another example would be myths. When I learn Greek myths in school, there is always a metaphysical or philosophical "meaning" to contemplate. Learning about Icarus in school was a lot different than playing the video game.

Maybe "instructional" isn't the right word, but the point is that one is supposed to teach as opposed to merely entertain--the difference between cryptic prophecy and bawdy ballad, though both could use the same materials.

Some authors, like Pullman (His Dark Materials) think that being labeled as "fantasy" dilutes the message and/or art involved in their fiction. Simalarly, when "literary" authors (Atwood, Ishiguro come to mind) write fantasy or sci-fi, it's not considered as such because there is some "lesson" or art involved that distinguishes it. I'm not knocking fantasy, I love it and resent the way it is often treated lightly or as insignificant. I was just suggesting to the OP that in the linked comic, "fantasy" was being treated as an entertaining as opposed to "instructional" genre--so it's not about the content but the function (entertainment vs. teaching).

Jayngfet
2008-05-02, 11:25 PM
Which fails to acknowledge the actual question(though there is a trope about what you're saying if I recall, I'll look for it.) of what counts as an unrealistic flight of fancy to dragon riding elves, fighting demons, while other elves are also merging with demons and fighting a third set of elves(There's a lot of messages on politics in the broad strokes if I go any further to agree with the above post), what counts as impossible in a world where people throw fireballs and ride flying scooters?

Edit: the trope is scifi ghetto (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ScifiGhetto), related to not wearing tights (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/NotWearingTights) and not saying the zed word (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/NotUsingTheZedWord), hope that helped.

factotum
2008-05-03, 12:45 AM
Well, the question has already been answered: anything which is not normal to those folk would be considered fantasy. For example, a story about a world where people ride to their destinations in closed metal boxes powered by the burning corpses of dead dinosaurs would be fantasy to them... :smallbiggrin:

Mewtarthio
2008-05-03, 01:01 AM
For that world in particular, I imagine stories about the surface would be popular.

Jayngfet
2008-05-03, 01:44 AM
For that world in particular, I imagine stories about the surface would be popular.

I was using that world as an example, odds are there are other examples on such things.

And the drow in that comic do have people scouting parts of the surface, sometimes for more than a decade without return, but yes, I imagine that a world only the oldest elves remember living on and the bravest drow dare explore would make a cool setting.

Fri
2008-05-03, 09:29 AM
Actually that's pretty cool. A drow fantasy story about an exploration to the unknown 'upworld'

GolemsVoice
2008-05-03, 10:21 AM
As mentioned above, Drow fantasy could be tales of what their "heroes" did back on the surface. The surface is far enough that it is likely for most Drow not to see it more than on a few briief occasions, at night. So Drow fantasy tales would of curse tell other Drow of the inherent evil and wickedness of all the surface dwellers, and why they are not to be liked, why the Drow are superior to them, and why it has to stay that way.

Theodoxus
2008-05-03, 10:39 AM
I think the easiest way to imagine a fantasy in a fantasy is to start with a mental picture of what the first layer of fantasy is like.

For a typical D&D setting, you have high powered mages, high powered clergy, various martial orders, thief gangs, assassin guilds, peasants, etc.

A fantasy to a peasant would arguably be quite different than a mage. Prose written for peasant consumption (either as a play or in an advanced culture where peasants could read) would more than likely play out much as our real fantasy literature. Flights of fancy, escapism, etc. would be par for the course.

A fantasy to a mage would delve into things mages don't generally contemplate - "science fiction" though more along the lines of Spelljammer, probably - exploring new worlds and civilizations - going boldly where no elf has gone before!

A fantasy to the clergy - should it not be frowned upon by the faith - would probably encompass the darker sides of morality - a form of analysis and conjecture - to get closer to the common man. To understand the deeper yearnings of the unwashed soul.

Then of course, there's no reason why a fantasy wouldn't simply be 'fiction' to people in such a world. Bob the elven minstrel might write a story about his friend Frank the Cleric who went off and slew a dragon, saving the town of Gulbin. But Bob would change the names and locations... probably play up the story in fantastic ways... Frank was dying, the dragon was attended by 50 hippogryphs, Gulbin was in the middle of an orc blood fued - whatever.

factotum
2008-05-03, 02:52 PM
A fantasy to a mage would delve into things mages don't generally contemplate - "science fiction" though more along the lines of Spelljammer, probably - exploring new worlds and civilizations - going boldly where no elf has gone before!


Or, as Vaarsuvius once said, "I shelve physics texts under 'Fiction' in my personal library."

hamishspence
2008-05-03, 03:00 PM
Just as long as trainee wizards do not play Accountants And Attorneys. Might be taking the notion of Fantasy within Fantasy a little too far.

Jayngfet
2008-05-04, 12:10 AM
A fantasy to a mage would delve into things mages don't generally contemplate - "science fiction" though more along the lines of Spelljammer, probably - exploring new worlds and civilizations - going boldly where no elf has gone before!


Which raises the question of what people in spelljammer think of as fantasy...

Jayngfet
2008-05-09, 11:08 PM
Fairly sure this (http://flakypastry.runningwithpencils.com/comic.php?strip_id=18) counts, who knew that elves wanted to larp goblin rouges?