I had the opportunity to interview fantasy author Michael R. Fletcher this week. Michael R. Fletcher’s novel, Beyond Redemption is a work of dark fantasy and rampant delusion and was published by HARPER Voyager and released June 16th, 2015. You can find my review of it here.The next two Manifest Delusions novels, The All Consuming and The Mirror’s Truth, have been written and are currently in editing. Michael is also the author of 88, a novel described as “dystopia with a dash of cyberpunk.”
Have you read any books that have inspired you as an author?
There are the earlier books, those I read decades ago, that first drew me to fantasy. Books like Michael Moorcock’s (he needs a middle ‘R’ initial in his name) Stormbringer series, and Stephen R. (there we go!) Donaldson’s The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant were what made me want to write.
More recently Mark Lawrence, Anthony Ryan, Robin Hobb, and Richard Morgan have been doing amazing work. I like seeing stuff I haven’t seen before. Push something somewhere new. The magic system, a character, whatever! Twist it. Fuck it up.
What’s the best fantasy novel you’ve read this year? What’s your favorite all-time?
I discovered both Mark Lawrence and Anthony Ryan this year. Yeah, I know, I’ve been living under a rock. I’ve read all of their books in the last year. Pretty great year for reading!
There has been a huge influx of novels in fantasy that focus more on the grim and gritty aspects of medieval life and the moral ambiguity of man. It has been labeled Grimdark. Your novel Beyond Redemption has been called Grimdark by many. What do you think of the Grimdark takeover of the fantasy genre? Is it refreshing or too dark?
One the one hand I think the grimdark label is a honking load of horse-shit. Pretty much everything cool or at all gritty is being labeled grimdark, even stuff written a decade or more before the label existed. Game of Thrones is grimdark? Cow-puckies.
On the other hand, Beyond Redemption is certainly grim and dark. I certainly didn’t set out to write grimdark—hadn’t even heard of the genre until after I’d landed an agent—but it fits.
Too much darkness? Nah. We used to call it fantasy. Then it was dark fantasy. Now it’s grimdark. Years from now we’ll call it something else. Fred, maybe.
What was the question? What the heck am I talking about?
Do you like reading the grim and gritty Grimdark novels or do you prefer to read more traditional fantasy novels?
I love all fantasy. I love the escape. Sometimes I want to read about wizards and brave knights, and sometimes I want to wade nostrils deep in mud and blood.
Do you think Grimdark is just a passing fad or is it here to stay?
I think it’s been around since Lord of the Rings and will always be here, though the label might change. Really, I think Fred would be a great name for dark fantasy literature.
Any fantasy novels you would like to recommend readers to try?
Like anyone I get stuck in the rut of buying books from the same handful of authors I know won’t disappoint me. But it’s when I try something new that I make the best discoveries. I was in a store to get Iain Bank’s The Hydrogen Sonata when I saw Mark Lawrence’s Prince of Thorns. I’d never heard of him and knew nothing of the book. I bought it on a whim.
Thank you for your time Michael!
Find out more about Michael R. Fletcher and Beyond Redemption:
Beyond Redemption on Amazon
@FletcherMR on Twitter