Unique Fantasy Combinations – Oh, The Possibilities

Thankfull, unique fantasy combinations don't hide in dark alleysI spent some time this weekend wondering about unique fantasy combinations. I was reading some of those blogs and web sites that create lists like: “25 Best Fantasy Novels” or “Ten Best Fantasy Novels You’ve Never Read.” That search turned up the usual suspects, but it also took me down a few new bunny trails and into the darker underbelly of our virtual world where I found lists of the very worst, most dreadful fantasy books – and not just those lists where a blogger calls a book stupid or an author ignorant, either.

One site in particular wasn’t shy about voicing their detailed negative opinions about books and calling out authors that had established their eyries of fantasy in that vaunted realm of “The Bestseller.” It was like reading a fantasy genre supermarket tabloid written by a rabid Rita Skeeter. It makes me wonder what I really think and feel about fantasy.

fantasy book full of unique fantasy combinationsWhat I do know is that fantasy isn’t just about fairy tales and nursery rhymes. Now don’t get me wrong. I love a good “Once upon a time…” as much as anyone but I believe it is simplistic to think that Walt Disney and the Brothers Grimm are the alpha and omega of a genre where Tolkien has planted a victory flag at the top of the summit. Fantasy is one of the oldest writing forms, dating back thousands of years to classic works like the Mahabharata and The Epic of Gilgamesh. Prior to literature in written form, ancient cave paintings documented prehistoric tales of gods, man and the supernatural. I believe that imagination is a fundamental, inseparable aspect of the human soul and that man has embraced the art forms of fantasy since the beginnings of time.

And though fantasy books seldom seem to hit the bestseller lists, there has been dramatic growth in this genre. It has grown far past stories of elves, dwarves and dragons. Even if a story does contain these traditional magical elements, fantasy authors work hard to forge new terrain and give the usual elements a fresh twist. Within this rich and complicated literary genre, the variations of the kinds of stories one might encounter are beyond measure. I found a cool little permutation/combination calculator on line at Math Is Fun – Calculations and Permutation Calculator

Unique Fantasy Combinations

I’ve never claimed to be a math genius so just keep in mind that if you decide to take me to task over the mathematics, you’re shooting fish on the sidewalk. This is what I put into the calculator:Einstein never had trouble coming up with unique fantasy combinations

  1. How many different Objects are there? 10 (as in 10 different standard fantasy genre features)
  2. How many Objects will you choose? 10
  3. Is the position of each Object important? Yes
  4. Is there an unlimited supply of each Object? Yes

Answer: 10,000,000,000

Now because I wasn’t sure about the effects of #3 and #4, I recalculated:

  1. How many different Objects are there? 10
  2. How many Objects will you choose? 10
  3. Is the position of each Object important? Yes
  4. Is there an unlimited supply of each Object? No

Answer: 3,628,800

  1. How many different Objects are there? 10
  2. How many Objects will you choose? 10
  3. Is the position of each Object important? No
  4. Is there an unlimited supply of each Object? Yes

Idea jar full of unique fantasy combinationsAnswer: 92,378

  1. How many different Objects are there? 10
  2. How many Objects will you choose? 10
  3. Is the position of each Object important? No
  4. Is there an unlimited supply of each Object? No

Answer: 1

To me, this suggests that, depending on how you want to work things, there are up to 10 billion possible unique fantasy combinations. That’s a wind come sweeping down the plains, wide open spaces staggering kind of number.

Although, unless you wanted to work with an unlimited supply of Evil Overlords and Chosen Ones, the option with 92, 378 unique fantasy combinations is more accurate in real life. and hardly limiting.

What are your required, basic elements in a fantasy story? How many unique fantasy combinations do you think are possible?

 

 

Teresa Coffey

Fantasy author, blogger, and book reviewer. I spend my spare time as a Chihuahua herder, intrepid explorer and international woman of mystery. I'm changing the world one word at a time. You can find me at http://www.AlchemicalWords.com, http://www.TLCoffeyWrites.com and http://masqueradecrew.blogspot.com.

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