Friday, 15 October 2010

The Last Blog Post

Okay, it's not actually my last blog post - and I do apologise for the rather sensationalist title.

In actual fact, I want to write about the slightly gloomy and defeatist nature of fantasy!

Let me clarify...

Over the last few evenings I have been having fun cataloguing my books (and, for all those who have asked, I am using a good old Excel spreadsheet, sorting by genre, publication date and whether it is a review copy or not!) I've been thrilled to discover some gems I forgot that I brought, and I have spent a great deal of time saying things to myself such as "Why have I not read that yet?!"

One thing that jumped out at me immediately while sorting through my wonderful, wonderful books is just how many fantasy novels concern themselves with the last of something:

Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie
The Last Unicorn by Peter S Beagle
The Last Dragonlord by Joanne Bertin
The Last Guardian by David Gemmell
Last Sword of Power by David Gemmell
The Last Light of the Sun by Guy Gavriel Kay
The Last Page by Anthony Huso

What is it about fantasy that attracts all these tales about the last of something?

The End of the World is nigh and all that? I mean, many traditional fantasies do genuinely tell us about the potential ending of the world, the universe and everything in it if the protagonist does not get his ass in gear and save it!

I can't think of another genre that gives us so many instances of an Ending. Why fantasy? I'd be interested in any of your thoughts! And do let me know of other fantasy novels I've missed with 'Last' in the title. And, just for kicks, tell me how I'm wrong and point out novels from other genres that tackle 'Last' *grin*

Happy reading!


  1. You could even go further with Brandon Sanderson's first Mistborn novel: The FINAL empire :)

  2. 'Lasts' are romantic - all-deciding, charged with finality: 'the final battle', 'the final frontier', 'the final countdown' (;P). There's a lot riding on 'the last' - 'the last stand', 'the last hope', 'the last Rolo'.

    There's nothing more romantic and evocative than the end of the world: that's why Dying Earth stories hold such appeal, because they take place on the edge of the precipice from which there's no escape and one which *everyone's* going to fall from - yet in the meantime life goes on. The idea of a world that can't be saved is a lot more powerful than the idea of one that can be, in my opinion.

  3. It is a powerful word. Depending on the context, it creates a nostalgic atmosphere, or a romantic one, or regretful, or sorrowful, or anticipated etc. That's why I think it's probably used in other genres as much as in fantasy.

  4. The Last Dragon, The Last Elf, The Last Orc and so on by Silvana De Mari.

  5. That's not really overused when you think of how many books there are. I would take a look at Sword, King, Dark(ness), Dragon, Blade, War if you want overused title words.

  6. "The last time" I catalagued my books I made a few happy discoveries too. I used to dust my books when I was a bit down, it helped without failure to bright the day : I always found some book I hadn't read yet.
    Fantasy often has a link to nostalgia and "the last something" makes it more acute.

  7. I agree with Hélène and Alex, the Last is the impetous for the adventure to have to happen. If not why would our hero get off his behind and go do what he needs to do?

    Oh and I did a quick search on Book Depository; there are about as many books with last in the title in the sci-fi category as the fantasy one, 488 vs. 436, there were 120 in the horror category and 723 in the historical fiction section. So I think historical fiction has got every genre beat!

  8. I think last is used a lot in fiction generally as it's all about change. The last 'something' not only implies a finality and big stakes but also the start of something new - whether it's a world without any more 'somethings' or an introduction of something new and the 'first' something else.

    Hope that makes sense!

  9. The Last Blog Post is very nice. I love the powerful statement posted in the article. They provides inspiring words for kids. I want to know where can I buy this books. I want to give them as a gift to my nephew for his 10yr old birthday.