I am having a very genre-specific problem at the moment.
It’s getting harder and harder to find sci-fi or fantasy books anymore that aren’t about saving the world.
Whatever happened to just saving a loved one? Or pulling off a heist? Or escaping a kidnapper? Or completing a journey? Or finding something/someone? I mean, seriously, there are a million different goals a book can have, as proven by the many successful books in other genres, so why are they all about saving the world?
At this point, I won’t even pick up a book anymore if it’s the first in a series and it’s already about saving the world. But that got me thinking, why is that I won’t read those types of series anymore? And I realized the answer is, the scope is too broad, and I’m more of a narrow scope kinda girl. But since each has its own pros and cons, I figured I’d discuss what I like and dislike about them and then take it to you guys and see what you all have to say!
I bet you thought I was gonna do a pros and cons list after that intro, right? Well I tried, but it all seemed too subjective. Things I consider cons, you might consider pros, and vice versa, so I’m just gonna talk it out instead.
As I said, I no longer bother with books when they’re the first in a series and already about saving the world because when the scope is already that big, where does the series even go from there? Saving the world really ought to be a last book kinda thing, in my opinion. So, if it’s already in the first book, that means every book is probably going to be about saving the world because it wouldn’t make sense to go backward and make the scope smaller. And then doesn’t that get kind of repetitive if all the books are just about saving the world?
Not only that, I find it believable enough when a character gets thrown into something but then learns and grows and eventually builds up to something like that. But when a character is thrown into that and immediately gives up her whole life and sacrifices herself and has epic fighting skills all within the course of one book, that’s just not believable to me. I feel that characters need time to get ready for that kind of thing, mentally, emotionally, and physically.
The real problem I have with broad-scope books though is that I find them lacking in the type of character depth and development that I like. I like books that stay tightly focused on the main characters. I wanna be so creepily far inside their minds that I don’t even know who I am anymore. I want to feel their likes, their dislikes, their passions, their loves, the things that are super important to them personally. And that’s what I want the book to be about, what I want them to fight for, because then it means more. Saving the world or the country or some population of people is great and all, and obviously the world is, in fact, important to the character, but it’s still not personal. The world is important to everyone, and that makes the story a lot less meaningful and emotional to me.
But books with narrow scopes? Those do more often have that deeply emotional, personal aspect I like, at least when they’re written that way. And even if a book does have a broad scope, I like it more if there’s also something smaller and more personal that the character is fighting for that ties into the bigger thing.
Of course these things don’t apply to EVERY small scope or EVERY big scope book. There are plenty of books with narrow focus that aren’t super emotional or even character-driven. And I’m sure there are some with broad focus that are. And with broader scopes often comes more action, maybe even more characters or world-building, etc.
Anyway, I know what I like based on the experiences I’ve had with the books I’ve read, but now I want to hear about your reading experiences and what you like!