Varsovian
 member, 1494 posts
Mon 30 Dec 2019
at 20:38
Question about fantasy literature
I have a general question about fantasy literature for those that have read a lot of it.

Basically: do all fantasy writers create big universes that cover all of their works?

I mean: there are fantasy writers that end up writing not only one novel or series of novels, but more of them - with unrelated storylines, characters etc. Nevertheless, I've noticed that writers end up putting such works into the same unifying universes... For example, Robin Hobb had her Farseer trilogy and her Lifeship Traders trilogy - which were separate things, but still took place in the same world.

My question is: do all fantasy writers do that? Or do you know cases when a fantasy author wrote one thing - and then some other thing which was absolutely not related to what came before, was set in a completely different universe etc.?
bigbadron
 moderator, 15832 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Mon 30 Dec 2019
at 20:43
Question about fantasy literature
It varies.  Some writers like to use the same setting, while others will happily create a new world every time.  And many will do both, depending on the idea they are using at the time.

This message was last edited by the user at 20:45, Mon 30 Dec 2019.

GreenTongue
 member, 896 posts
 Game Archaeologist
Mon 30 Dec 2019
at 20:47
Question about fantasy literature
I think it is more common when the author's contract says they need to produce 3 books at a minimum to get published.

Either extending the one story across three books or multiple stories in the same setting makes it a lot easier to churn books out.

IMO
soulsight
 member, 295 posts
 Reality is 10% perception
 and 90% interpretation.
Mon 30 Dec 2019
at 21:18
Question about fantasy literature
It's a common mechanism used by writers in numerous genres, commented on here:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com...niverses-literature/
Varsovian
 member, 1495 posts
Mon 30 Dec 2019
at 21:22
Question about fantasy literature
What interests is examples of authors that wrote, say, two fantasy novels, each with its own setting - with no intention of ever connecting them in any way?
donsr
 member, 1783 posts
Mon 30 Dec 2019
at 21:35
Question about fantasy literature
 all my Fav books were series.. they  had  a very large   universe...perhgaps  wuthg thought of  expansion.

 I wanted to write a book in the last 70's and gave up..i have used that  as the base  for my Space game..its  massive as far  as the   setting, and it sorta needs to be.

 In the end?  it comes  down to what the writer has planned for his story
facemaker329
 member, 7140 posts
 Gaming for over 30
 years, and counting!
Mon 30 Dec 2019
at 22:49
Question about fantasy literature
I think a lot of fantasy writers don't set about creating a whole world...they just get a good setting for the story they are telling.  That often inspires other ideas...and since the ideas were inspired by the same material, it makes sense to keep them in the same world.  It also spares them the trouble of starting over from scratch...they just flesh out the world a little more, instead of having to throw together something new for every new storyline they want to create.

I think there are very few writers that really create an entire world before they start writing.
Varsovian
 member, 1496 posts
Mon 30 Dec 2019
at 23:13
Question about fantasy literature
Oh, I don't necessary ask for examples of writers who designed a fully-fledged world and, then, another one, just as detailed. I'm just wondering about writers who wrote one fantasy work and, then, another fantasy work that obviously doesn't have anything to do with the previous one setting-wise?

To use a hypothetical example: a writer writes a book set in a fantasy world clearly inspired by European late medieval period. Then, he writes another book set in a place that looks like ancient India. And if asked, the writer says "Nah, two completely different works, no intended connection here". Do you know any actual examples like that?
donsr
 member, 1787 posts
Mon 30 Dec 2019
at 23:56
Question about fantasy literature
edger Rice Burroughs... he   had  many fictions  Tarzan... John Carter... I loved the books, he had a  few others  I had  all the John carter books as well as m,any. many others, but lost almost all of them in  the '77 flood.
tibiotarsus
 member, 98 posts
 Hopepunk with a shovel
Tue 31 Dec 2019
at 00:53
Re: Question about fantasy literature
Varsovian:
What interests is examples of authors that wrote, say, two fantasy novels, each with its own setting - with no intention of ever connecting them in any way?


China Miéville. He has at least two alternate Earth-type settings and then the Bas-Lág books.

Ursula LeGuin had several different settings, but sets of serial novels within those.
Hunter
 member, 1545 posts
 Captain Oblivious!
 Lurker
Tue 31 Dec 2019
at 02:28
Question about fantasy literature
In reply to Varsovian (msg # 8):

Terry Brooks: The entire Shannara series takes place in one universe and the Magic Kingdom series is clearly in another.
facemaker329
 member, 7141 posts
 Gaming for over 30
 years, and counting!
Tue 31 Dec 2019
at 03:44
Question about fantasy literature
In reply to donsr (msg # 9):

Burroughs had all the Tarzan books, the John Carter Mars books, a few others set on Venus, and his Pellucidar novels (I didn't read any of them, but I remember seeing at least two or three in the city library while I was growing up.)

Robert Lynn Asprin wrote the Myth Adventures series, he was the primary creative voice behind the Thieves' World anthology series, and while I haven't read his earlier stuff, he had to have written something to establish enough clout to be taken seriously when he came up with Thieves' World...
donsr
 member, 1788 posts
Tue 31 Dec 2019
at 04:01
Question about fantasy literature
I read some of the  Pellucidar books as well.. John CArter  was  my  fav of his works , the Venus  ones were ok...I stayed away from Tarzan.. when I was  a kid, we were 'tarzaned out'

 Johnny Weismuler  was  from my area , there is a  sign up where   the old hotel  used to be, when he came back to PA  for a  visit ( WIndber , PA ).. he woudl step out on the balcony, and Give the Tarzan yell.... that same yell was used  in every movie after he was Tarzan ..even the TV  show with Ron Ely on the TV show.

 so yeah.. back here   we had more then out share of Tarzan
tibiotarsus
 member, 99 posts
 Hopepunk with a shovel
Tue 31 Dec 2019
at 16:43
Question about fantasy literature
Margo Lanagan, Diana Wynne Jones, Jeff Vandermeer, Ray Bradbury, Roger Zelazny...most prolific 50s boys, actually...hmm.
madkeeper
 member, 21 posts
Tue 31 Dec 2019
at 18:53
Question about fantasy literature
Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman come to mind.  They did Dragonlance, the Darksword trilogy, and the Death Gate Cycle (that one had a few mini worlds in it).  All of those are seperate from each other.
bigdaddyG
 member, 26 posts
Thu 2 Jan 2020
at 17:26
Question about fantasy literature
I know dragonlance, is a universe that includes several writers. I do note though several writers do implore using the mechanic. Take George R.R. Martin.(wish he'd return to it at some poing)
facemaker329
 member, 7144 posts
 Gaming for over 30
 years, and counting!
Thu 2 Jan 2020
at 20:01
Question about fantasy literature
Dragonlance, and other D&D settings, are kind of special cases.  Dragonlance was created for TSR, so they could ask anyone they wanted to write stuff in that setting.  It's different when the authors retain IP rights for their settings...although that doesn't always work out well, either.  Robert Asprin had a couple of series that I really enjoyed...but then he started 'collaborating' with other writers in those settings (by which, I mean he let other people write stories set in them, and it was painfully obvious that he wasn't much involved in the process beyond putting his name on the cover, because the character and place names might have been the same, but the books read like totally different stories than their precursors in the respective series...)

And I think (can't say for certain, because I've never asked) some authors started off writing series in different settings, and then decided to connect them (the example that comes to mind is sci-fi, not fantasy, but a lot of the basic trends are similar, in terms of world-building...Keith Laumer wrote novels about a character, Retief, and anthologies about self-aware combat machines which he called Bolos...and to the best of my knowledge, the two are largely self-contained and don't necessarily have much interdependence of storylines...but there are one or two Bolo stories in which Retief is a primary character.  But the Bolo anthologies don't really have a cohesive through-line of the stories...they bounce around from near-future and right here on Earth to tens of thousands of years in the future and unimaginable distances away from Earth...more snapshots than any sort of clear, ongoing narrative).
Brianna
 member, 2205 posts
Sun 5 Jan 2020
at 01:17
Question about fantasy literature
Robert Heinlein's Future World, especially the books/stories starring Lazarus Long, but many of his short stories are part of the history too if you pay attention
tmagann
 member, 600 posts
Sun 5 Jan 2020
at 01:23
Re: Question about fantasy literature
donsr:
edger Rice Burroughs... he   had  many fictions  Tarzan... John Carter... I loved the books, he had a  few others  I had  all the John carter books as well as m,any. many others, but lost almost all of them in  the '77 flood.


Actually, all or ERBs work were interconnected: Tarzan went to the Earth's core with Jason Ridley (a neighbor of Burrough's in Tarzana who was in radio contact with Carson, on Venus). Seems to me there was a Martian connection, too, possibly Ridley, but it's been too many years since I read any ERB to speak of.

This message had punctuation tweaked by the user at 01:24, Sun 05 Jan.

horus
 member, 929 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Mon 6 Jan 2020
at 06:49
Re: Question about fantasy literature
Any topic about universe-building would be remiss without mentioning one of the earliest science fiction writers to build a consistent universe for his fiction:  Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger, better known by his nom de plume of Cordwainer Smith.

The Instrumentality of Man was the setting for a great many of his stories and novels.  His works are still worth reading today.
Isida KepTukari
 member, 330 posts
 Elegant! Arrogant! Smart!
Mon 6 Jan 2020
at 07:20
Re: Question about fantasy literature
Mercedes Lackey has written books (often series of books) in several different worlds.  Her prolific Valdemar series is one, Joust takes place in a sort of fantasy Ancient Egypt, the Elemental Masters series is mostly in Edwardian England (with a few exceptions), the Bardic Voices in a totally different world fantasy world, the Diana Tregarde/SERRAted Edges/Bedlam Bard in a different one (modern world in the 70s/80s but also with psionic powers, magic, witchcraft, and elves all on the down low), Five Hundred Kingdoms in another fantasy world, with other odd books or pairs of books in yet more worlds, not even counting her various collaborations.
Z.Dianli
 member, 21 posts
 What goes...
 ...in here?
Mon 6 Jan 2020
at 08:27
Re: Question about fantasy literature
I'm pretty sure that while Ursula K. LeGuin's novel-length SF works almost, but not quite, all interconnect vaguely, her fantasy works are almost entirely distinct from series to series.  And her standalone short stories all seem to exist in their own universes.
horus
 member, 930 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Mon 6 Jan 2020
at 15:38
Re: Question about fantasy literature
Z.Dianli:
I'm pretty sure that while Ursula K. LeGuin's novel-length SF works almost, but not quite, all interconnect vaguely, her fantasy works are almost entirely distinct from series to series.  And her standalone short stories all seem to exist in their own universes.

Even so, Ms. LeGuin makes good efforts to have a measure of verisimilitude in her backgrounds.  An alien world setting might be alien, but is, nonetheless, more understandable to the reader if certain things are consistent.
Z.Dianli
 member, 22 posts
 What goes...
 ...in here?
Tue 7 Jan 2020
at 02:06
Re: Question about fantasy literature
Of course she does!  She's a good writer.

But the question was whether or not fantasy writers make separate worlds or not or do they tie them all together somehow.  Her SF has a tendency to draw them all together, but her fantasy doesn't.

They're (mostly) all delicious writing either way!  :D
horus
 member, 931 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Wed 8 Jan 2020
at 08:16
Re: Question about fantasy literature
Yeah, I think we're in agreement there on all points.