Question: Are We Living In a New Golden Age for Fantasy?

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Not long ago SFSignal asked a bunch of writers this question: what fantasy novel published in the last 10 years will stand the test of time?

I was one of the writers they asked. I said things. Things like this:

The past decade has been freakishly productive of fantasy masterpieces. I could pick half a dozen books, literally, which I think is actually pretty unusual in the history of the genre, or of any genre really. It’s a cluster. A classic cluster.

I wrote that in the heat of the moment. But even now, in the coolth of this later moment, it still seems true to me. Think about it: you’re living in a time when fresh books by (among others, and in no particular order) Neil Gaiman, Kelly Link, Susanna Clarke, Catherynne Valente and George R.R. Martin can appear on bookstore shelves at any moment.

I don’t remember previous decades being like this. I feel as though a Cambrian explosion of fantasy is happening. Maybe it’s all the Harry Potter money floating around, supercharging things like some kind of mutagenic cosmic radiation. Maybe a bunch of mommies and daddies gave each other big hugs and then gave birth to a statistically improbable number of geniuses all at the same time. Maybe it’s just that Tolkien and Lewis have been dead long enough that their specters aren’t intimidating and hogtying writers the way they once did.

Who knows. Whatever the reason, it’s cool, and maybe we should acknowledge it: we are living in a new golden age for fantasy.

Or platinum? Or an electrum age — that would be cool.

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