Thursday 27 January 2011

It's Music To My Ears!

I'm a great lover of rock music - punk, metal, straight up rock - and I'm a great lover of fantasy fiction! I foolishly only took one book into the bath this evening and finished reading it before I was done with relaxing in the bubbles and the heavenly scent *grins* So that left me some time to muse - and my rather whimsical thoughts led me in this direction...

The history of rock music is convoluted and should be taught at school (as in, School of Rock), and I amused myself with going through parts of this history and fitting various branches of fantasy fiction to it.

Here are some of my ideas - please do fill in the gaps and add your own in the comments!

The idea that led me into this originally was the way that grunge music came out and bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam swept aside the hair metal that had been so prevalent (Guns 'n' Roses, Aerosmith etc.) Since I was reading The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie, it was enormously easy to put him in the role of Nirvana - something that didn't do anything new, but *sounded* as though it did, and felt fresh and new in a scene that had grown incredibly stale.

So then I felt I had to fit certain authors to Guns 'n' Roses and Aerosmith - I thought that Raymond E Feist and Terry Brooks probably fit the bill. Have been around for a fair amount of time, but are feeling a little old and tired now, and keep churning out similar material in the hopes that people will still listen/read.

I'm putting it out there that Tolkien sits easily alongside Led Zeppelin - desperately beloved by many, although lots of people aren't sure exactly why. A few absolutely classic tracks (a la The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings) and then some self-indulgent rubbish - which many listeners argue is just misunderstood genius (The Silmarillion).

I could take it further! Y'know the whole emo trend recently? Whiny kids talking about love and hurting? There you have the whole move to urban fantasy that has occurred over the last few years.

In the current climate of more grimy and realistic fantasy, Brandon Sanderson stands out as someone who harks back to a more traditional version of fantasy in a lot of ways. For us in England, we had the band The Darkness - they brought back hair metal in a rather tongue-in-cheek fashion and were very en vogue for a year or so. That makes Brandon Sanderson this guy!

Oh, and hey! Let's go open a big old can of worms and have people crying foul at me! New Weird is totally Prog Rock - Dream Theater, Rush, Frost. The ultimate in pretentious fret-wankery where the composition of the music and the expertise with the instruments is deemed more important than the pleasure of the listeners! Have at that, Jeff VanderMeer! *grins*

And punk - the Sex Pistols and God Save the Queen and all that: the only person who feels close to this is Michael Moorcock. Someone who has stuck two fingers up at the establishment and does his own thing.

Oooh, and more worms everywhere - the YA trend is totally McFly!

Ha, I had so much fun with this - in fact, I can't stop! Ursula LeGuin is totally Janis Joplin, right?

Anyway, your turn - which rock music fits which fantasy fiction for you? What do you *totally* agree with from the above? Have fun!


  1. Probably the best explanation of Fantasy trends I have seen :-D

  2. Pish posh. Mike Moorcock *wrote* prog rock.

    New Weird, if it exists, is Tindersticks, Nick Cave, Scott Walker, the darker side of Songs Ohia and Murder by Death, etc.

    I will let you get away with that because I know in your heart of hearts you didn't mean to be cru-el. cheers, jeffv

  3. Guns & Roses is clearly GRRM

    Chinese Democracy = A Dance With Dragons.

  4. And Sam Sykes is definitely Susan Boyle.

  5. @JeffV - If I'd known the way to get you to my humble blog was to just mention your name... *grins*

    @Patrick - man did you just make me laugh!!

  6. What what WHAT?

    Susan Boyle was a lovely young woman striving to become more than fate deemed her capable of.

    I am a haughty, handsome young man trying desperately to keep people from discovering what a fraud I am.

    If anything, I'm more like Coldplay.

  7. Awesome post! Though I would disagree with Sanderson being The Darkness, yeah he harkens back to classic fantasy, but not in a way that treats it like a joke. So maybe he is more like Them Crooked Vultures - mixing the new with the old.

    The important question is: Who is Iron Maiden??

  8. Guys you just made me wet myself a little.

    David Gemmell - Led Zeppelin

    Joe Abercrombie - Metallica

  9. where's the frackin' "like" button?? blogger needs a like button so I can push it a million times!

  10. @Ryan - Oh, Iron Maiden are my first love where music is concerned! I couldn't possibly come up with an author who has been going for so long, been experimental, almost broken up.... Oh hang on! I'm thinking Stephen King :-D How's that?!

    @allan and redhead - thanks for the comments, I had loads of fun with this post :-)

  11. Coming up in Amanda's next book review:
    "It's got a catchy tune, but I can't dance to it."

  12. Now I'm sad you think Aerosmith are hair rock and churn out the same music over and over

  13. Hell yes, Stephen King is definitely Iron Maiden! Great call.

    I was also thinking Robert Jordan is Metallica. Started out great, then faded, creating a product that divided their fan base, but kept plugging away despite the criticism

  14. I'm waiting for the Blogger/Music comparison post. Of course, I'll stake out the Bob Dylan comparison now in a preemptive strike against you. Maybe you'll be the Spice Girls of the bunch? :P

  15. Oh, let's not stop at that Larry! I am, in fact, the blogging equivalent of Mel B's abortive attempt at being a single artist!

  16. I'm waiting to find out if Pat is the blogger equivalent of Lawrence Welk or not!

  17. You aren't misogynistic and/or xenophobic and/or conservative enough for him. Work on the bile spewing some more and the quoting copiously from press releases, grasshopper, if you wish to follow The Way of Pattism.

  18. "New Weird is totally Prog Rock - Dream Theater, Rush, Frost. The ultimate in pretentious fret-wankery where the composition of the music and the expertise with the instruments is deemed more important than the pleasure of the listeners!" < OUCH! Sound more like 'Literary Fiction' to me, although New Weird *does* make most current Fantasy seem cheesy and simplistic ;)

    @JeffV: Neutral Milk Hotel are most certainly New Weird.

  19. Great post, Amanda! I don't have anything clever to add, but it was fun to read anyway.

  20. What a fabulous post Amanda! I haven't got any funny comparisons, but I wanted to let you know you made me laugh. I do womder though what sort of music Terry Pratchett would be!

  21. Heh, thanks for all the comments and the disagreements and such - has been making me laugh a lot!

    @Mieneke: I think only a band as beloved as The Beatles could represent Terry Pratchett. Both a band and an author that other people will express surprise about if you confess that you don't like them or have never read/heard them!