Infinitas Bookshop Forums

Forums about science fiction, fantasy books, role playing games, tradable miniatures, books, authors, SF TV and film, etc.
It is currently Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:19 pm

All times are UTC + 10 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 8 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Dark Themes
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2007 6:13 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jan 01, 1970 11:00 am
Posts: 386
Location: I am the centre of the universe.
I have been reading a review copy of a forthcoming book, Dark Alchemy http://www.infinitas.com.au/Product.php?bar=9780747590569 which has a title and cover art implying dark themes. The implication appears to be a marketing ploy as the stories I have read so far are light and hopeful.
So far I have read of characters with generosity, humility, hope, patience. All virtues I would love my kids' heroes to have.

This is an example of the marketability of horror in pop culture over mainstream fantasy.
There are plenty of TV shows and movies with supernatural themes sourced from the occult, with characters who are dead. Vampire are sexy. Ghosts have messages for the living. Murder victims seek justice. The villian is pocessed by the devil...
Where are the - poor boy finds magic sword and becomes king, saving beautiful princess along the way...?
Is it only horror that sells? What about hope?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: re: Dark Themes
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2007 8:49 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu May 10, 2007 8:02 pm
Posts: 88
Location: Top of a hill
Tim

I like the topic! It made me think :shock: about what I have on my bookshelves and what I go for when I'm buying books. For me personally, I'm more likely to be turned off by a book that appears to have no hope or light in it. I love a good "poor boy finds magic sword and becomes king, saving beautiful princess along the way...?". I think the biggest problem with these books is that they tend to be epic fantasy novels (at least 3 - 5 books in length), and they have to be well written to keep the reader engrossed over multiple books. My favourite of this nature would be The Belgariad by David Eddings ... I know... it's a shock... :D

But, back to the topic, I don't necessarily think that only horror sells, as I'm not into horror books, movies, tv shows at all. I think a good story, with conflict and resolution, darkness and light, etc and characters that can grow throughout the tellling are more my style.

This is where cover art becomes so important. If the image is so far from the perceived story line and context, then it can discourage people from reading a book, or it can disappoint people who purchase a book expecting something completly different due to the blurb and cover art. What's the old adage... don't judge a book by it's cover... errr.. and yes... I will admit to buying a book or three because of the cover art!

Well, enough comments from me!

Keep smiling 8)

_________________
Jay


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2007 10:54 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jan 01, 1970 11:00 am
Posts: 386
Location: I am the centre of the universe.
Well designed covers should give a good idea of what is in the book. By all means judge a book by its cover.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2007 11:00 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jan 01, 1970 11:00 am
Posts: 386
Location: I am the centre of the universe.
My point is that covers are becoming less accurate, presenting books as darker than they are written.
What is the attraction of dark themes?
Are we all meant to be masochistic, wanting bad things?
Do people live lives so devoid of fear and pain that fear and pain appear attractive?
Is it that our modern culture is so comfortable that we no longer need hope, inspiration, etc?
Is it that times are so good that escapism can only be found in sad stories?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Dark Themes
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 8:07 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu May 10, 2007 8:02 pm
Posts: 88
Location: Top of a hill
Tim

If what you've written in the above post is true, then it's a very sad world that we're heading into. I think there's a lot of room for hope and inspiration in today’s society. The thing that I love about the science fiction/fantasy genre, is that most of the books that I read include a fight against adversity, where good wins over evil and hope is renewed for a better world tomorrow. If I want to read horror and reality, I'll pick up the local paper and scan its pages.

I would suggest that if publishers continue with the trend of misrepresenting stories with dark artwork that this will ultimately damage the number of readers reading this genre. If every book that you pick up appears to be dark or horror based, then aren't publishers limiting the potential target market to a small segment of society? Surely I'm not of a dying breed of readers that enjoys the 'happily ever after, good over evil, hope survives' type stories...

Is the attraction of dark themes part of globalisation? The fact that you can have a mass murder or bombing overseas and then within 5 minutes hear about it in Australia, contributing to this attraction. There is no time delay/isolation between activities any more and these stories are becoming a greater part of our reality.

Or do publishers believe that if people pick up a book that appears dark but ends with hope that it will have a greater impact upon the reader?

Well, that's my 10 cents worth!

Keep smiling :D

_________________
Jay


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 6:44 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Feb 29, 2008 9:31 am
Posts: 7
Location: Where the bushpigs roam
I reckon part of this is just a marketing trend. In this jaded, insulated society (very far from pain and fear, on the whole, as you have noted Tim) the "pushers" are always looking for a new angle to get people to spend and to get people interested in "something different". Thats all about making money, and they're pumping these things out at such a rate that its no wonder if it often tends to be an old angle rehashed - theyre movign too quickly for genuine creativity to keep up the "grist for the mill". How many 60s and 70s tv series have gotten remade for the silver screen in recent years? Not to mention comic book hero movies/tv series. And is it just me or have vampires and to a lesser extent werewolves reached critical mass and will shortly be taking over the world? I think the entertainment industry has gotten all swollen up like a giant toad (or maybe Jabba the Hutt) and in an effort to keep itself growing or at least stable, its mining the past to feed itself - and as people become "immune" to the excitement of one thing due to all the overexposure, they run on to the next exciting thing (something tells me its vampires and superheroes at the moment).

I reckon when they run out of shocks in the dark stuff, they'll probably start pushing angels and gumnut fairies down our throats because by then the "goody goody" stuff will be such a nice change people will buy it. ;)

I don't think any of it is necessarily a reflection on us as a society getting dramatically darker - well, not in Oz, at least - but it is a reflection of increased leisure time, higher incomes, and increased urbanisation, which has lead to a boom in the size of the entertainment industry, the money to be made there (Harry Potter is partly to blame for that!) and a certain desperate seeking for sales in those who want it to keep getting bigger.

Did that make any sense??

_________________
My superpower? I'll explain later.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 6:53 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Feb 29, 2008 9:31 am
Posts: 7
Location: Where the bushpigs roam
Forgot to mention, on the subject of misleading book covers that vamp up considerably on whats really between the covers, one of my all time favourite books has an absolute shocker of a cover. Its a hardback edition of A Woman of the Iron People, by Eleanor Arnason, and it shows a provocatively posed sexy woman holding a skull on the front. The story itself is about a wonderfully described straightforward and primitive alien society that I could only describe as Hair Bears and how they react when they run into a study expedition of human anthropologists. Marvellous story. Luckily for me I read the back cover and didn't only look at the front!

_________________
My superpower? I'll explain later.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 9:38 am 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jan 01, 1970 11:00 am
Posts: 386
Location: I am the centre of the universe.
Quote:
increased leisure time

Perhaps for some. My perspective is there is a lot of competition for that leisure time. Availability of video, many activities like sport, clubs, trendy outdoor things like white water rafting, bridge climbing, busy holidays...
I seem to get so much less leisure time than I want. Boredom is a faint memory.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 8 posts ] 

All times are UTC + 10 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group