Humorous Fantasy: A Tribute

To me, it all started with the funny fantasy/scifi works. At the point of reading them, I did not even consider them to be in any specific genre, I rather saw them as pure comedy/parody. Only later did I realize that they were in my now favorite genre of speculative fiction (Fantasy and Science Fiction). It was the humorous works that introduced me to the genre.

First of all was Asterix the Gaul. My parents were avid readers and they had a few Asterix books in the house. I could spend hours reading through the Asterix comics, enjoying both the fantastical world and the humor that went with it. In retrospect, it’s interesting to see how much I actually learned of history and cultures through reading those books. When Goscinny and Uderzo poked fun at some cultural or historical reference, it would tickle my interest and lead me to finding out what I can about the subject. To this day I still love Asterix books, what a gem these are to the world.

Next up was “Men in tights”, one of my all time favorite parody movies by Mel Brooks. I watched and re-watched the movie with my family, ending up knowing almost every line by hart. The humor was superb, and the jabs it took at modern society and other movies priceless.

I wasn’t really a big reader in high-school, reading to me was a last resort for those times that I literally had nothing else to do and felt like I was going to die of boredom. Games, movies, music and social life always took preference over reading. But during exam times we were forced to sit in a hall the entire day and study. Sometimes, however, study was simply too much, and in these times I would resort to reading. It was here that Terry Pratchett entered. The Hogfather was the first book I read by Pratchett and I instantly loved it. Discworld is awesome. Later on I read some more of the Discworld novels, loving the series more with each book. My personal favorite thus far is “The last continent” – a whole book dedicated to making fun of Australia :)  [Apologies to any Aussies out there]

At university I moved from the residence where I was staying to a little shoe-box flat (without internet). Many of my friends from class (Mathematical Sciences… go figure) told me about Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy, so I thought that it was time for me to give it a crack. After reading the first few pages of the first book, my life was probably changed for ever – I was now aware of the funniest books ever written. Douglas Adams was a genius, there is nothing else to it. Hitchhiker’s guide was the first book that I couldn’t put down, I found myself reading almost through the night, laughing out loud (yes, like, actually lol) alone in my little room at almost every paragraph I read. I ended up literally sleeping with the book under my pillow. I can’t remember whether I ended up reading the first three or four books, but I know that I have at least one more to go. With my current to-read list, I’m not sure when I will be getting to that, but I am glad to know that there is yet another Hitchhiker’s guide book for me to devour at some point.

Later years, I somehow stumbled upon the “Kingdom of Loathing“, an online, stick-men based game dedicated to puns and making fun of traditional fantasy tropes. I have spent some hours in that game, enjoying the humor it provided.

There are many humorous fantasy and scifi novels, books, movies etc. that are quite awesome, some come to mind but I think I am going to stop mentioning them for now. This post just serves as an honorary to the funny fantasy and scifi works that inspired me growing up, and still do as I go forward. Writing humor is hard, very hard, it’s way more difficult then just spewing out a story, you have to really think things through thoroughly – and time everything perfectly. These guys I mentioned here were masters at it.

The prospect of writing comedy is kind of on my bucket-list, but for now, knowing my limitations, I will let the masters do their thing while I just observe and enjoy. There are many laughs to be had yet.

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