What is your favourite wuxia/xianxia novel/series?

Discussion in 'Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books' started by Readsalot, Feb 22, 2018.

  1. Yuli Ban

    Yuli Ban Level 18 (Magician) LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

    16%
    Messages:
    880
    Likes:
    807
    xp:
    916
    LitCoin:
    377,203
    Zorkmid:
    26
    If I may defend Tolkien for a moment here, I wish to point out that his intention with The Lord of the Rings was to write a mythology for Britain like there was for Greece, Rome, and the Nordic countries. Mythological characters aren't supposed to be deep or very human.
    From the perspective of modern literature, all mythological characters are cardboard cutouts that follow archetypes because that was the point of these myths in the first place. In that regard, Tolkien deliberately limited himself (or maybe found a good excuse to work within his limitations as a writer?) and achieved his goal of making a myth.
     
    Windfall, RauthrMystic and Berserk like this.
  2. CheshirePhoenix

    CheshirePhoenix Crazy Hermit on the Hill LitRPG Author Beta Reader Citizen Editor Aspiring Writer

    96%
    Messages:
    1,275
    Likes:
    1,661
    xp:
    996
    LitCoin:
    879,615
    Zorkmid:
    139
    JRR Tolkien: 'I never expected a money success'

    In his own words, he wrote it as a fairy tale. He wasn't trying to create a mythology - that was the beginnings of the Silmarillion, which wasn't published until four years after his death (as most artists do, he got even more popular posthumously), and even that went through quite a lot of changes as he tried to get it published during his lifetime. He wanted to bring fairy tales back to the kind that the Brothers Grimm wrote. And Britain has always had its own mythology. It has Arthurian and Faerie mythologies as its contribution to the world's collective subconscious listing of things that go bump in the night and consist of wonder and magic.

    He also wrote it because he wanted to get paid. “I wanted the money very badly to buy this house.” was what he said in the interview.

    Even so, if you accept the belief that he wanted to create a mythos out of dribs and drabs that he cribbed from other cultures through history like an anthropological myna bird, then why not try to improve on the formula? Writers who write by formulas are like painters who paint by numbers.
     
    RauthrMystic and Viergacht like this.
  3. Yuli Ban

    Yuli Ban Level 18 (Magician) LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

    16%
    Messages:
    880
    Likes:
    807
    xp:
    916
    LitCoin:
    377,203
    Zorkmid:
    26
    Because sometimes painters do want to paint by the numbers. If I want to create something in the vein of Leonardo da Vinci, I'm not going to try adding my own flair or improve on what he set down. Same reason why "x-worship bands" exist like Greta Van Fleet (Led Zeppelin), Socotra (Nirvana), older Oasis (The Beatles), and Orchid (Black Sabbath). Sometimes, hitting all the beats is exactly the point.
     
    RauthrMystic likes this.
  4. CheshirePhoenix

    CheshirePhoenix Crazy Hermit on the Hill LitRPG Author Beta Reader Citizen Editor Aspiring Writer

    96%
    Messages:
    1,275
    Likes:
    1,661
    xp:
    996
    LitCoin:
    879,615
    Zorkmid:
    139
    Tribute bands never make it out of their own local bar scene, and a paint-by-numbers painting will never make it onto the walls of a gallery. At least until they start producing original works, anyway.

    But still, there's the interview where Tolkien said in his own words why he wrote, and how he wrote. And the Silmarillion wasn't even an attempt to make a new mythology for Britain, but to make one for Middle Earth, showing the origins of Elves and Men.
     
    RauthrMystic and Yuli Ban like this.
  5. Yuli Ban

    Yuli Ban Level 18 (Magician) LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

    16%
    Messages:
    880
    Likes:
    807
    xp:
    916
    LitCoin:
    377,203
    Zorkmid:
    26
    So I'm doing some background work on Enekai of Kollidor and one of the topics I love thinking about is the clash between Eastern and Western fantasy. One of the things I have noticed as a result is that Western fantasy definitely isn't as "martial" as Eastern fantasy by a long shot— in Western stories, hand-to-hand combat is considered wimpy or a last resort or extremely personal. In Eastern fantasy, martial artistry is one of the famous tropes. So being punched by a wizard or a knight probably won't kill you, even if they're considered the greatest wizard/knight in all the land. Whereas the last kind of "unarmed" person any mortal should ever piss off is a Shaolin or Wulin monk.

    But more than that, I've also noticed a difference in how characters gain superhuman powers. In Western fantasy, there's almost nothing but characters being "given" superhuman abilities. Whether it's Tolkien-esque fantasy or superhero comics, there's just a general acceptance that people have no potential for truly godlike power within themselves (usually, it's just using the power of heart/friendship to be able to wield this power). This is why characters have to search for legendary items, create battle suits, or learn the arcane arts. Even in cases where characters do have godlike power (usually due to being gods, demons, aliens, or mutants), they don't really foster strength. Hell, think of Superman— he has a varying power level, but only because of the light of the sun. In other cases, you have average people who stumble upon freakish powers. This was a big thing in Marvel comics, most famously with Spiderman. You can certainly practice to improve your abilities, but this is different from cultivation.

    In Eastern fantasy, there's a much greater mixture between being blessed with superpowers and cultivating them. Characters grow strong through training and hard work, except they can also break far beyond human limits through this method and essentially become superhuman or even godlike. I can't think back to the last Western fantasy story that utilized cultivation and wasn't inspired by Eastern fantasy/kung fu movies.


    In Short:
    Character in Western fantasy starts out as an average dude. He finds the Holy Sword of Antioch. When using it, he has supernatural abilities and can shoot lasers from the blade. Without it, he has to use his wits just to survive so he can find the sword again.

    Character in Eastern fantasy starts out as an average dude, but he wants to become a legendary swordsman. So he trains for years, eventually being able to move his arms and fingers at near light speed and can utilize his chi to shoot lasers from the sword. Even without the sword, he can punch you at near light speed.

    In Shorter:
    Western fantasy: "I didn't ask for this."
    Eastern fantasy: "I trained for this."

    I think a big reason for this might be religion. Western fantasy comes from a Judeo-Christian root, and in this particular religion, power comes through Yahweh. Humans are powerless but can find salvation through Yahweh. Eastern fantasy tends to come from a Buddhist and Taoist root, and in that religion, there's no clear supreme deity because enlightenment is entirely your own effort. Because you don't rely on a god to achieve enlightenment, that implies humans have their own spiritual power.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2018
  6. Yuli Ban

    Yuli Ban Level 18 (Magician) LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

    16%
    Messages:
    880
    Likes:
    807
    xp:
    916
    LitCoin:
    377,203
    Zorkmid:
    26
    Adding onto that, this is why litRPG is usually compared to xianxia rather than Tolkienesque fiction. If anything, litRPG can be considered to be a fusion of the two. Most settings in litRPG have been fairly generic high fantasy, but they play out like xianxia. This is inevitable considering the nature of RPGs. You can't be given a magical item that imbues you with great power— you first must level up to be able to use that item in the first place. This is why taking a pre-existing Tolkienesque fantasy and adding stats does not create a convincing litRPG story. There's no cultivation, here referred to as "leveling". There's practice and growth— obviously— but this typically does not give one superhuman abilities that one doesn't already have.
     
    Readsalot and Viergacht like this.
  7. RauthrMystic

    RauthrMystic Elf Beta Reader Citizen Aspiring Writer

    90%
    Messages:
    279
    Likes:
    308
    xp:
    345
    Zone:
    Midwest, USA
    LitCoin:
    621,405
    Zorkmid:
    69
    OMG I can't believe I missed this conversation! I too found The Cradle series first (and am currently re reading it...purely for research purposes I promise!) and did eventually stumble on the Coiling Dragon and I need more of both of them. Great choice of topic!
     
    Readsalot likes this.
  8. RauthrMystic

    RauthrMystic Elf Beta Reader Citizen Aspiring Writer

    90%
    Messages:
    279
    Likes:
    308
    xp:
    345
    Zone:
    Midwest, USA
    LitCoin:
    621,405
    Zorkmid:
    69
    Well Said, even if I can't say I've studied a lot of Eastern Fantasy.
     
  9. Yuli Ban

    Yuli Ban Level 18 (Magician) LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

    16%
    Messages:
    880
    Likes:
    807
    xp:
    916
    LitCoin:
    377,203
    Zorkmid:
    26
    Just because of nostalgia, I'd say my "favorite" xianxia series is one I'm sure we've all heard about:
    [​IMG]
     
    RauthrMystic likes this.
  10. RauthrMystic

    RauthrMystic Elf Beta Reader Citizen Aspiring Writer

    90%
    Messages:
    279
    Likes:
    308
    xp:
    345
    Zone:
    Midwest, USA
    LitCoin:
    621,405
    Zorkmid:
    69
    I never got to watch much of this but I am familiar. I need them to put the entire series on netflix so that I can binge them!
     
  11. Yuli Ban

    Yuli Ban Level 18 (Magician) LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

    16%
    Messages:
    880
    Likes:
    807
    xp:
    916
    LitCoin:
    377,203
    Zorkmid:
    26
    ^ Honestly, if it's your first time through the whole thing, go with the "rich man's version" of Dragon Ball Z:
    [​IMG]
    It is objectively better in all areas while hailing from the exact same roots. Which is to say, xianxia. Since it's not meant to be a parody like Dragon Ball was, it obviously takes itself more seriously, which basically means it's like the difference between Monty Python and the Holy Grail vs Excalibur. When I was a kid, I thought they were part of the same world because they used so many common elements, but it's only recently that I learned that it's no different than a Western fantasy drawing from the same myths (e.g. Greco-Roman gods in different series, Judeo-Christian canon and myths being found across unrelated IPs, etc.).
     
    RauthrMystic likes this.
  12. YonEye

    YonEye Level 7 (Cutpurse) Citizen

    18%
    Messages:
    27
    Likes:
    25
    xp:
    109
    LitCoin:
    1,874,836
    Zorkmid:
    115
    this is a good starting point:
     
    RauthrMystic likes this.
  13. RauthrMystic

    RauthrMystic Elf Beta Reader Citizen Aspiring Writer

    90%
    Messages:
    279
    Likes:
    308
    xp:
    345
    Zone:
    Midwest, USA
    LitCoin:
    621,405
    Zorkmid:
    69
    beautiful! thank you!!
     
  14. Windfall

    Windfall Level 16 (Paladin) LitRPG Author Citizen

    75%
    Messages:
    616
    Likes:
    973
    xp:
    775
    LitCoin:
    744,654
    Zorkmid:
    44
    I remember binge-watching this over one New Year's with the whole family. It was glorious. That was during the last days of video tapes.

    I also remember being absolutely terrified of Cell.
     




Share This Page