Fellow Fanlit staffer Ryan and I were discussing what a stellar year it has been for the fantasy genre. In fact we were so bold as to say this may very well be the best year of fantasy ever. I thought for today’s Thoughtful Thursday I would build a case for 2011 being the best year for fantasy ever, and then see if you readers could provide other years that might be contenders. There is also the possibility that you agree with Ryan and me, and if you do, then just say so.
Releases: George R.R. Martin, China Miéville, Patrick Rothfuss, Jim Butcher, Lev Grossman, Joe Abercrombie, and probably more that I’ve missed. They have all had highly anticipated releases this year. All have been very well received. Has there been a year with as many best sellers in Fantasy? The only year I think that would come close was last year. Once you consider that both Rothfuss’ and Martin’s sequels released in 2011, it kind of puts the year over the top.
Sales: If you go to Amazon Bestsellers right now you will see 4 fantasy novels (and one fantasy box set) in the top 10. That’s been the trend all year so far. Only 2 months have had no fantasy in the top 10 list in Amazon sales. In the NYT Bestseller list, a fantasy novel has held the #1 or #2 spot on the Fiction Hardback list for 10 weeks so far this year. Out of the 39 weeks of bestsellers in 2011, only 12 weeks have not had a fantasy novel in the top 10.
Film/Television: Harry Potter ended and Game of Thrones started… All the Marvel Comic book movies… Conan is coming out this year too.
Press/Media: I don’t have numbers to quote here, but I definitely noticed an increase in fantasy’s media presence this year. With all the Game of Thrones stuff, plus Harry Potter…I’ve heard little else it seems. I won’t even touch on fantasy’s ever-increasing internet presence that seems to grow year by year.
That’s my case for 2011. Has there been another year with as much going on for fantasy? Have we peaked? Will next year be just as big? I do suspect the popularity of fantasy will reach a saturation point. However, I think the days of hiding the fact you are a fantasy fan is at an end. We will choose a random commenter to get a pick from our stacks.