Or maybe you DID know them. But I thought they were super interesting!
1. JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis were pioneers of what we now call “Fantasy.”
Of course they weren’t the first authors to write fantasy books — just think of the Iliad and the Odyssey with their powerful gods. But they helped shape it into its own genre. Before the Lord of the Rings, in the 1920s, there were a variety of popular pulp fiction magazines such as The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction; Weird Tales; and Unknown. The massive success and wide audience who enjoyed The Lord of the Rings, though, really set fantasy apart from other literature.
2. The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling is the best selling series of all time.
This may not be something everyone knows, but it’s something you could easily find out if you think about it a little bit! A seven-book series that took the world by storm and changed the face of Young Adult literature. the first book was published in 1997 in the UK and 1998 in the US. By the time the seventh book was released in 2007, it sold 11 million copies in the first 24 hours. The books have been adapted into eight films and translated into nearly 70 languages.
3. Fantasy authors rarely make #1 on the New York Times Best Seller’s List
Though they do appear in the top 100. From Wikipedia:
To date the only fantasy novelists whose works have debuted at number one on the list are Robert Jordan in 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, and 2009, George R. R. Martin in 2005, and 2011, Neil Gaiman in 2005, and 2013, Terry Goodkind in 2006, and Patrick Rothfuss in 2011.
Good job, guys!
4. The longest fantasy series, by pages, is Malazan by Steven Erikson.
It has 14,000 pages over 16 books. In the same numbers is Valdemar by Mercedes Lackey, which is about 14,000 pages as well in 34 books. I found a few websites quoting Conan’s Journeys as longer, but I didn’t include it because of the multiple authors. I know, maybe that’s not fair, but I wanted to honor a single author! Good job, Erikson and Lackey! I keep seeing Erikson’s covers at the bookstore where I work, and they’re beautiful!
5. Women are gaining status and growing in the genre.
in 1948, 10–15% of science fiction writers were female; in 1999, women comprised 36% of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America’s professional members.
Historically, science fiction has been more slanted toward male authors, while fantasy has been more open with gender, but these two genres often overlap. Notice, for example, that of the #1 authors in fact #3, there are no women. Still, we’re growing and we’re definitely not going anywhere! That 36% stat is 10 years old, and with the growing popularity of paranormal, women authors are some of the most popular authors in the fantasy genre.
Emily Ann Ward is the author of Finding Fiona, Le Garde series, and The Protectors series. One of her first stories featured a young girl whose doll came to life. The rest is history. Aside from writing, she loves traveling and she’s the managing editor of the Rush line for Entranced Publishing. Currently, she lives in Oregon with her husband Chris and their cats. Visit her website at http://emilyannward.com