Sometimes too much of a good thing is, uh, well too much.
If you ask me what the best album from the 90s was, I’ll probably say Radiohead’s OK Computer (or, depending on my mood, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel). I haven’t listened to OK Computer in at least 5 years, maybe 10. And I don’t plan to anytime soon. You see, I hit what I call Lifetime Maximum Radiohead while about 10 minutes into a Radiohead concert. Like a switch had flipped, I suddenly had had enough Radiohead. For life. I still think just as highly of the band. I just don’t need/want to hear their music anymore.
I hit something similar with high fantasy novels based on pseudo European history. You know, the swords and sorcery stuff. Knights, dragons, etc. I loved that stuff growing up and read series after series. At some point I my hit lifetime maximum, and I struggle to get into these stories now.
I increasingly like fantasy that connects a familiar world with something very unfamiliar. The unfamiliar could be a made-up alternate world (think Jeffrey Ford’s brilliant The Well-Built City Trilogy) or it could take place with a real culture and history that’s foreign to me. For example, I recently really enjoyed The Devourers by Indra Das. It’s a werewolf/shapeshifter story, but it takes place in current and seventeenth century India. The writing is as beautiful as the cover art. Check it out.