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  • Writer's pictureG R Matthews

Do we, as readers, prefer the solid, comfortable, fantasy ground of middle age Europe to other setti

I posed the title question on Fantasy-Faction (on my own Stone Road thread) and the insightful C. Hill replied thus: "I think depth is key. No matter what setting your throw your story in (sounds worse that way) you have to have depth. A book with strong atmosphere should be good regardless of whether it's set in middle age Europe or Far East Asia. I read for some kind of depth, anyway" And it got me thinking and responding thusly: "A good point. But still we must buy the book to read the depth - do you think that people choose a book that conforms, or at least appears to, the genre staple of middle ages Europe? I have been trying to think of books I've read (not urban or modern age fantasy) that step outside this expectation from the very start and am hard pushed to do so. There are many that subvert it as they progress - The excellent Prince of Thorns (M Lawrence) for instance. I'm currently reading The The Emperor's Knife which is one such book that takes place outside of this European setting - a thoroughly intriguing book it is too! But, other than that, my Kindle is full of European fantasy set books... I'm not complaining - many of them are bloody good (and some even better) :) I've enjoyed them all. Just idle thoughts, of an idle mind." So, do I not give other settings a chance? And yet, why set my own book (The Stone Road) in ancient, mystical, mythical China?

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