Musings on Life, Writing, and the Free Territory of Ascham

You got Sci-Fi in my Fantasy!

Lets put aside that awkward title for a moment (Sorry about that it really sounded better in my head).

We have a new cause for celebration so break out the champagne, find an imaginary crowd of your own, bake some cakes in honor of the Cake God (Dammit Frostius stop sneaking onto my blog!) and paint the town…a different color!

What are we celebrating? Why, you guys of course! We’ve reached a thousand views here at Captain of Chickens and I couldn’t be happier (well I could but that’s only if each view counted as a dollar). So awesome you guys! Well done.

“Half those views are from you,” my helpful and supportive Heckler interjects.

I stare at her for a moment without comprehension before strapping on a birthday cone hat thing and plow right on with my original topic.

Why am I blathering on about Sci-Fi-Fantasy genre-benders?

Generally I don’t like genre-bending. I’m not a fan. Although Science Fiction and Fantasy have always been lumped together as the purview of nerds and geeks (which is changing thankfully as they become more mainstream). Heck, at many a fine bookstore they’re located on the same shelves with space marines rubbing shoulders with elves while dwarves challenge aliens to drinking contests.

I’ve always been somewhat of a purist when it comes to genre-bending. I like my Science Fiction and my Fantasy split apart and never the twain shall meet. However, it was not always so.

During my tender formative years I read the Shannara series by Terry Brooks (which takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where elves and dwarves are evolved forms of humans) and thoroughly enjoyed them before moving on to other authors and series.

Until recently I’d taken a rather dim view of post-apocalyptic settings and societies that were once technologically advanced but have no stagnated into a feudal system. That is until I read Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence.

This book was amazing and it wasn’t until about halfway in that I realized it was a genre-bender. Prince of Thorns  follows the story of a young man on his quest to earn his father’s approval (or failing that forge an empire from a hundred disparate parts).

Seems pretty simple, right? Wrong. The book explores the darker aspects of human nature as we find out very quickly that this kid has something broken in him. He doesn’t hesitate to commit heinous acts in the furtherance of his goals. It was also surprisingly humorous at times and did a great job of painting things in moral shades of grey.

Well that’s about all I have for you today folks. I’ll do a more in-depth review of Prince of Thorns  at a later date. Once more congratulations are due to me and to you, my dear readers, for following along thus far.

Now go away. I have more books to read and things to investigate.


  1. Captain Ulysses

    Very good post and congrats on the 1000 views.

    Now that I have your attention and am awkwardly shuffling in, while apologetically knocking into several peoples knees in an effort to find a seat. I feel I need to ask you this:
    Surely the act of bending a genre is far better than strictly remaining within the confines of a specific genre?

  2. captainchicken

    Thank you and a wholehearted welcome to this repository of blogness. I would advise avoidance of Frostius’ general viscinity for seating choices. He may try to bake you into a cake. I guess I will have to disagree (at least partially) with your assessment.

    For some reason I have been uncomfortable with the notion of genre bending. While there are some authors who can pull off such a daring feat, many others rely too much on tried and true tropes within the genre-bending “genre.”

    The same can also be said for those authors who choose to remain within the confines of a specific genre, I generally find that those authors (at least the ones I read) have a much firmer and more confident grasp of their subject material. “McGuffins” such as plot conquering technology that had been conveniently lost for thousands of years (following some apocalyptic event) are all to easily found by heroes for my tastes.

    The same is often true in high fantasy and pure science fiction as well. Plot saving devices that enter the scene at the last moment is one of the most easily recognized tropes. It has become a tad annoying for me to recognize these within the works of favorite authors, both new and old, and has led me to seek entertainment from the written word elsewhere.

    This is by no means exclusive to the genre-bending, and there are many authors who pull off genre-bending with aplomb. However, to me, it boils down to a matter of taste. I just prefer my genres unmixed with no elves and dwarves threatened by advanced aliens and UFO’s and phasers set to stun. This will not stop me from reading genre-benders provided their premise is interesting, but unfortunately I have been left with an all too jaded and cynical eye.

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