My dad doesn’t read fantasy fiction. Ever. The only fiction books he reads are crime novels, like those by John D. MacDonald. In fact, he only reads John D. MacDonald books. And only the ones with Travis McGee in them.
Because he loves me, he might make an exception for Valknut: The Binding. I’m not sure what he’ll make of it.
I can picture my dad and my brother sitting on frozen folding chairs, hunched over a hole in the ice, their fishing lines dangling in the barely liquid water. The conversation might go like this.
Brother: So…what’s Marie’s book about?
Dad: That magic stuff she likes.
Dad checks line. Peels off frozen, half-chewed, dead meal worm and puts on fresh bait.
Brother: Dwarves and Elves, then.
Brother: Swords and sorcery?
Dad: Nope. Trains.
Brother: Oh. Steampunk?
Dad’s eyebrows go up. He gives brother hard look.
Dad: What did you call me?
Brother, patiently: Steampunk—magic mixed with Victorian age technology.
Dad, relaxing: Oh. Nope. Modern.
Brother: Like Twilight?
Dad: Nope. Mostly takes place in the middle of the night.
Brother: Any vampires, werewolves, or maybe succubae?
Dad glares: Watch your language.
Dad (mollified): No vampires. Norse gods.
Tip-up pops up. Dad’s got a fish on. Tugs on line.
Brother: Right. Urban Fantasy. Gotchya.
Dad reaches bare hand into only slightly liquid water and pulls up two-pound crappie stuck in the semi-frozen hole. De-hooks and throws fish back in water. Too small.
Actually, this conversation could never happen. Neither of my brothers could get much past “fantasy.” And my dad is not inclined to say, “whatever.” (But they really do talk like that while ice fishing. Don’t want to scare the fish with too many words.)