I just read the table of contents for The Best British Fantasy 2013. It seems, from the blurbs on the stories and the book summary on SF Signal, that the contents are dark, grim, apocalyptic, twisted. I wonder why current short fantasy seems to be about what did, is or will go wrong in a horrifying way? Some of it is just about indistinguishable from straight horror fiction.
This trend is not new. It’s been happening increasingly for at least a decade, perhaps two.
Perhaps it’s reader’s taste for these dark tales, but in this case I almost wonder if it’s just that the readers consume what is fed them by the market, making sales of this stuff a self-fullfilling prophecy. Certainly the popularity of dark, horror games has a lot to do with it, and the market has jumped on it, all in.
Whither the stories of wizards, journeys, quests, magic, romance, even some elves or dwarves? Books with those elements still are being written and sell, but with short form fantasy it all seems so grim. Too bad. I miss the good old days of fantasy.