12 responses to “Elf Preservation – Part One”

  1. steven walker

    U seem dissapointed in the fact that dwarves and elves were the most favourites, I chose dwarves not because of LOTR but my fav warhammer novels gotrek and felix. And was chuffed to bits to see james barclay get a mention as a big fan of his raven series,was the first fantasy book I ever read!!

  2. AJ

    Silmarillion is more like a chronicle of everything in the history of Middle-Earth. The early, early parts are concerned with the gods, the early to middle parts are concerned primarily with Elves and touch on the Humans as well. The later middle parts and to the ending is Humans and everyone else, especially with the events of the trilogy novels.

  3. James Newton

    Good blog! I do like it when fantasy authors deconstruct the genre (cf Joe Abercrombie). My favourite non-traditional fantasy race has got to be the Sea Serpents from Robin Hobb’s Liveship Traders. I know that you might not class them as such (spoiler alerts!) but I think that they were inventive enough to count as a separate race.

  4. Martin R. Richter

    By demand:

    Favourite non-traditional fantasy race: Walter Moers’ Wolpertinger (I believe those books aren’t translated). The series would be (loosely) the Captain Bluebear chronicles, though it’s not exactly a series and more novels happening in the same wacky universe. It’S a universe where humans are effectively extinct, by the way. If you like that, try and read them. They’re worth it.

    Favourite new twist on a fantasy standard: Shadowrun/Earthdawn elves (if those count), George RR Martin’S Ice & Fire-cycle’s Children of the Forest (a very new take on elves or dryads) if not.

  5. SF Tidbits for 2/18/12 - SF Signal – A Speculative Fiction Blog

    […] Mechanical Hamster on Elf Preservation – Part One. […]

  6. Jared

    I’m so delighted you did this.

    Non-traditional race: I like Mark Charan Newton’s Rumel – they’ve been associating with humans long enough to share most of their cultural traits, but there’s still something slightly alien about them…

  7. Bill

    Interesting post, lots of food for thought. I’ve been spending a lot of time on this very subject (like… years). In my mind, I want to give credit where it’s due; Tolkien introduced many fantasy readers to the fantastic humanoid races, and he did a good job of it. As such, I don’t want to write about Elves and call them Spifflejins or whatever, and pretend to be original.

    Instead, to me, the idea of the fantasy humanoid or race is what they represent. Tolkien’s work has been analyzed to Nth degree, but I think this is where there is room for originality. For instance, Elves if represent longevity, experience – should they always be so pretty and polite? I tend to believe… no. Most of the cynics I know are older than me. If Dwarves represent work ethic – then if people are inherently lazy, Dwarven labor would be a lot more common and accepted.


    I like what Jim Butcher did in his Codex Alera, with the fantasy races there; not just the Canim, but also the Marat and the Vord. And while I haven’t read the stories yet, what I’ve seen suggests that Adrian Tchaikovsky has a very clever and original approach, with his kinden humanoids.

  8. Chaim Holtjer

    To answer your question I realy do like the warhammer fantasy races, almost all of them, where it comes to traditional fantasy races.

    Obviously the Dark Elves are somewhat different than traditional fantasy(as in tolkien) but almost traditional in their own right.

    Nice incarnations of elves are the Raymond E Feist versions of the elven races: The Eledhel, Glamredhel, Moredhel, Ocedhel, Anoredhel and Taredhel… But it is not nececarrily the raxce itself dat makes them brilliant, it is the story line and characters behind the facade of race.

    Also from Feist and non-traditional are the Valheru and Parthians.
    The first being a race of dragon riders and demi-gods as it were, very awesome. The latter are serpent-people which is also quite interesting.

    1. AJ

      Feist’s variety in the Elven species was quite awesome to read about. One of the best things in his novels. Also, the serpent-folk were Pantathians and the Panath-Tiandns IIRC. Was there a third subset of this race?

  9. Adam Coombs

    While obviously I’m Druchii to the core, I do quite like Elves in other settings. The Elder Scrolls (Skyrim especially) seems to handle them well with the Altmer being your typical poncy stuck up architype, the Dunmer being ostracised and the Bosmer having a cannibalistic pact with the forest. Have to be honest, I don’t read a lot of fantasy that isn’t human-centric these days but for that I blame A Song of Ice and Fire. Love Pratchett’s Elves, especially the idea that they’re not beautiful, it’s just how their glamour works on feeble human minds.

  10. seer

    well. about being too human that is what i call “human plus” when a charater who is inhuman. o become more inhuman act just like a human with something extra. human+something. just look the space marine y warhammer and other SM y wharever sci-fci. the first are almost like angels or monsters are most of the SM are just soldier with bigger guns. the same with vampire. some time they are just human but more powerful.

    about elves,orc they are like sometimes requieres. that is why after human,elf,orc and dawrfs the rest become more easy for just becasue there isn`t any standar

    about the eldar. i like then because they are really alien in their ways

  11. Elf Preservation – Part Two « Mechanical Hamster

    […] long time ago (two novels ago, in fact), I conducted a brief survey of Hamsterites’ thoughts on fantasy tropes in preparation for a panel at SFXWeekender3. There were […]

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