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The origin of the phrase "Extruded Fantasy Product"
james_nicoll
Inspired by a conversation on LJ that touched on the origin of this phrase, I went looking for the first time that it showed up on rec.arts.sf.written. As near as I can tell, Joseph Major and William December Starr created the phrase in a thread dating from 1999.

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What does it mean?
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I believe most dictionaries illustrate the term with a photo of Terry Brooks.

Cue Sea Wasp...
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Or Dennis McKiernan. His first published "work" was Tolkein, transcribed (poorly) onto flashcards, shuffled and redealt.

Pete Newell
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Or David Eddings.

The connotations of the term EFP depend somewhat on who is using it; but I think it's necessary to point out that EFP doesn't necessarily have to be bad. EFP uses a standard sheaf of fantasy tropes in standard ways, and so it's unimaginative to that extent -- but it's still possible to use those tropes well. Good EFP won't stretch you, but it can be a comfort read.
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Right. The books you don't even need to read because, well, it's obvious.
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Will the world be saved at the last minute from the terrifying legions of evil?

This can be an unresolved issue in open-ended series, since any kind of closure threatens to terminate the series prematurely (Herein defined as "before people bail on the series).

There is always "and then another, even worse horde of monsters appeared," which raises two questions:

"If each threat is more powerful than the last [1] and they appear at regular and frequent intervals, isn't it inevitable that one will eventually win?"

and

"If world-threatening events occur every few years or so, why is there still a world?"

1: There is the special case where a great power cunningly destroys the buffer state that previously protected it from obnoxious neighbors but I sure that that must be rare.
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"If each threat is more powerful than the last [1] and they appear at regular and frequent intervals, isn't it inevitable that one will eventually win?"

Didn't David Gemmell have the nomadic barbarians eventually win, sweep over the civilized lands, become civilized themselves and then have to deal with yet another group of nomadic barbarians?
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Tiny invading alien fleet (Anonymous) Expand
This can be an unresolved issue in open-ended series, since any kind of closure threatens to terminate the series prematurely (Herein defined as "before people bail on the series).

My "favorite" form of that is when, after the Ultimate Evil has been defeated in the previous book and the new Even Ultimater Evil comes along, all the wise advisers who coached the plucky farmboy in destroying the Ultimate Evil say, "Oh, yes, of course we knew about the Even Ultimater Evil all along. We just never got around to mentioning it before now."

"If world-threatening events occur every few years or so, why is there still a world?"

I've speculated on this in the context of Buffy, where both Sunnydale and LA seemed to kick out roughly one world-ending (or world-permanently-altering) threat per year. Now, Sunnydale is a Hellmouth, so a certain amount of apocalypsism is to be expected; but it's not the only Hellmouth. And LA doesn't seem to have any particular eeeeevil associations beyond being a major population center.

So you have to expect that there are many other world-ending threats going on around the world at any given moment. And there's no reason to think that this just started once Buffy got Slayer-fied, so it likely goes back through history. And yet, as Oz once noted while waving around vaguely... check it out, the world.

Conclusion: either Evil is so unbelievably, spectacularly incompetent that even after thousands upon thousands of attempts they still haven't managed to push one all the way through. Or, the fix is in and the game is rigged on the side of Good.

Or -- and this one I find intriguing -- the world does end on a regular basis, but nobody ever notices.
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Let us be thankful for the Draka novels, which show us that over in alt-hist/SF land, evil sometimes triumphs.

(Aside: If someone has written a Daily Life in Mordor book, I'd like to read it.)
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You might want to take a look at Grunts! by Mary Gentle.

-- Ross Smith
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"Will the magical doohickey be rescued?"

I read that as "magical donkey" which brings to mind some interesting ideas.

But Pratchett's probably already done it.


William Hyde (yes, I just had my eyes tested)
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It's not in Brave New Words and I thought it would be.
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