I don’t know how I never noticed it before, but in Lord of the Rings, the hero is not the Chosen One. That is to say that Frodo is not so special as to make me unable to relate to him. He is not part of a prophecy, he is not the rare person born with a one in a million special ability, he is simply a better than average example of his people. How is it that modern fantasy has emulated everything else about Tolkien (trilogies, worldbuilding, obsession with description) but has managed to forget about this one key aspect?
I was just browsing the scifi reddit, and I came across a comment thread titled Does it REALLY bug anyone else when they go to a library or book store and the sci-fi and fantasy sections are combined? I thought “this might be interesting” and so checked it out. Damn. The comments consist almost entirely of how much fantasy sucks, and how the only genre worth reading is scifi I don’t recall ever seeing the fantasy crowd attacking the scifi crowd like this.
My theory is that the scifi crowd was simply trying to gain some legitimacy at the expense of fantasy, and unfortunately this sort of thing just reaffirms it. Depressing.