Friday, September 05, 2014


From a Ken Follet interview in the Times book section:
Q: Is there a certain type of book you try to steer clear of as a reader? As a writer?

A: I just can’t read whimsical fantasy. I’ve never got through a Tolkien. If there are no rules, and anything can happen, then where’s the suspense? I hate elves.
First, whimsical? Tolkien?


Anyway, the point is that "no rules, and anything can happen" is bad fantasy. Fantasy is different rules, not no rules. Because yes, if "anything can happen" then there's no suspense or structure. But in good fantasy the rules are just as rigorous and the suspense can be just as great; you simply have to accept different operating principles.

I mean, nothing says he has to like fantasy. And I agree with him about "no rules." And I probably would have let it pass had he not unequivocally described Tolkien as "whimsical fantasy" that has "no rules". That's not a question of taste. That's just wrong.

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