Those Good Ol’ Days

My introduction to the world of fantasy was through a school friend who convinced me to read David Eddings. After reading the first book of the Elenium trilogy, with its quest structure, dry humour and endearing characters, I was hooked. I sped through the rest of his books, then moved on to that other fantasy great, Feist. And so an enduring love affair was kindled.

Feeling nostalgic, a few days ago I decided to see if Eddings was still around in the bookstores. To my dismay, he didn’t seem to be–trawling through the adult fantasy section yielded nothing. Feist, at least, was still there, with yet another book to chronicle the bigger, stronger enemy now facing the world of Midkemia.

I moved on to the young adult section. Perhaps, I reasoned, they feel his style is more similar to the type of fantasy coming from that genre these days. Still no luck. I found romance, paranormal romance, dystopian fiction, more paranormal romance–but no Eddings. It seemed like the world had moved on, leaving behind one of the fantasy greats who helped push the genre into mainstream consciousness.

Then my wanderings took me to the junior reader section, for children around the ages of 7–10. I entered it nonetheless. And it was there that I finally found Edding’s most popular series. “The Belgariad” greeted me from one of the shelves where it was nestled alongside Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton.

When did a series once considered adult fantasy move into the area of fiction for young children? “The Belgariad” has politics, and war, and death, and quite a lot of drinking of ale–although cushioned by the way the story is told. What does it say about our society that these books, lacking graphic descriptions of sex and violence and torture, or terrible mental and emotional torment, are now seen as too immature for adults, and even teenagers?

Perhaps I’m simply a relic of a generation that’s been left behind, but I miss the days when you could pick up an adult fantasy and simply have fun. When you could enjoy an exciting romp through another world without wondering who was going to die next, and how much they were going to suffer beforehand. When you knew the characters would get their happy ending after all their struggles. Not that I want all my stories to wrap up neatly in the end, but books like this are certainly getting harder and harder to find.

In my day, fantasy was much more enjoyable and the authors knew how to take their readers on a light-hearted excursion into another world. Perhaps I’m just an old coot stuck in a twenty-four year old’s body, but boy, do I miss those days. And nothing you say can change that rose-coloured, misty-eyed view!

Leanne Yong is an aspiring author who is working on a young adult novel with a kick-ass heroine. To the best of the editor’s knowledge, she does not own a front lawn or operate a shotgun. Check out her blog at Clouded Memories for more information and random musings on writing.


4 thoughts on “Those Good Ol’ Days

  1. I ponder 2 things: 1) This series was misshelved (it happened ALL THE TIME at Borders), so if you were at B&N, this could also very easily be the case; or 2) The store decided to market it to an audience that they assume would make them more money. If they can turn a new audience on to these books, that could mean more money for them.

    This, of course, makes me wonder about the operation of bookstores and how they’re (at least big box versions) are more about the dollar signs, then they are about the art of writing.

    1. I don’t think it was misshelved – I saw it again at another bookstore, when I got curious enough to check. The one I was at was Dymocks, btw (an Australian store, not sure if it’s in the US). Your second theory seems quite likely, though. I would hope they didn’t really feel it was a kid’s book. 😦

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s