Because so much of fantasy takes place in settings that in no way resemble the real world, featuring species that in no way resemble human, fantasy writers often have trouble dealing with regular people. This is something that, I think, isn’t as much of a problem for mainstream writers, because they can simply describe the world around them and come up with a reasonably accurate representation of humanity. They can also fall back on the plethora of real-world terms used to describe human beings, racially and otherwise. But using these terms makes no sense if you’re dealing with a world that doesn’t share our political/cultural context. You can’t call someone “African American” if your world has no Africa, no America, and has never gone through a colonial phase in which people of disparate cultures were forcibly brought together, thus necessitating the term in the first place.
That said, it’s equally illogical to populate your fantasy world with only one flavor of human being, which is what far too many fantasy stories default to. Granted, many fantasies take place in confined cultural spaces — a single small kingdom in a Europeanish milieu, maybe a single city or castle within that city. (But how did that castle get its spices for the royal table, or that lady her silks? What enemy are the knights training to fight? Even in the most monochromatic parts of the real Ye Olde Englande, I can guarantee you there were some Asian traders, Sephardic or Ashkenazic Jewish merchants, Spanish diplomats or nobles partly descended from black Moors, and so on.) I get that lots of countries on Earth are racially homogeneous, so it makes perfect sense that some fantasy settings would be too. But whiteness is the default in our thinking for Earth-specific cultural/political reasons. So while it’s logical for fantasy realms to be homogeneous, it’s not logical for so many of them to be homogeneously white. Something besides logic is causing that.
So. It’s a good idea for all fantasy writers to learn how to describe characters of color. And I think it’s a good idea to learn how to describe those characters in subtle ways, since they can’t always rely on Earth terminology. Now, doing subtle description increases the chance that the reader might misidentify the character racially — and to a degree, I think there’s nothing you can do about that. You’re working against a lifetime of baggage in the reader’s mind. But you can still insert enough cues so that when combined, they’ll get the idea across." - N.K. Jemisin, blogging on Describing Characters of Color for Magic District. (via audreymgonzalez)
- What are you currently reading? “The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet”. Review to come!
- What’s your favourite book to reread? Harry Potter :)
- Would you hate me if I asked you to choose a single favourite author? One favourite book? Yes I would :P
- Haha, too bad. Do it. Nope :P
- Reading while on the toilet. Acceptable or not? Not my thing, but whatever floats your boat
- A book someone recommended to you that you weren’t so sure about, but it still managed to sneak its way into your favourites list? Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
- And overrated standalone? Series? The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, and Looking for Alaska
- Underrated? "Sally Lockhart series" by Philip Pullman
- Talk to me about poetry.
Okay I’ll just write (and by write I mean copy and paste) my old poem here:
It’s somewhat improbable
For me to feel this way.
However, I’m unable
To see why, where and when.
Anger, bargaining, denial -
I’ve experienced them all.
I stored them in a file
That I then threw into a hellhole.
I am still haunted
By the fires of the past.
Relieving them is strange and daunting.
I need something to occupy my mind.
Suppose I’m not that young anymore.
Perhaps it is too late for me.
But your presence is still too sore.
I don’t know how this feeling came to be.
Some may say I’m way past distractions.
But right now, they’re all I need.
One’s mind needs this kind of corruption.
My walk on the wild side can be short and sweet.
All I’m asking for
Is something to remind me
Of the taste, of the feeling, of the sensation.
I can close my eyes if need be.
- Got a favourite picture book? From your childhood or now, whichever you want to talk about. I can’t remember that far back I’m afraid :/
- Send me the titles of three books (anything) you think I should try
Among Others by Jo Walton
I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
Wicked by Gregory Maguire
I know I love it when people send me questions, so I thought I’d put together a list of questions for you to answer as a sort of ‘thank you for following me’ treat.
You can reblog with your answers, submit them to me, make a new post with your answers (please tag me so I can check it out!) - whatever you like.
Hope you have fun with it, I can’t wait to see your answers! :)
- What are you currently reading?
- What’s your favourite book to reread?
- Would you hate me if I asked you to choose a single favourite author? One favourite book?
- Haha, too bad. Do it.
- A book someone recommended to you that you weren’t so sure about, but it still managed to sneak its way into your favourites list?
- And overrated standalone? Series?
- Talk to me about poetry.
- Got a favourite picture book? From your childhood or now, whichever you want to talk about.
- Send me the titles of three books (anything) you think I should try.
This was a lot of fun last time, so I thought I’d bring it back.
Three brand-new YA Novels at the intersection of Bisexuality and Disability!
- Far From You by Tess Sharpe - After a car crash Sophie can barely walk and ends up addicted to opiates for her chronic pain, but she’s been clean for six months. When her best friend (and secret girlfriend) is murdered and the killer tries to make it look like she got Mina killed in a drug deal gone wrong, it only makes Sophie more determined to find the killer.
- Frenemy Of The People by Nora Olson - Opposites attract when wannabe-radical Lexie and emphatically-conventional Clarissa join forces to help Clarissa’s older sister Desi, who has Down Syndrome, achieve her dream of being elected prom queen.
- Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis - Nolan is an epileptic amputee Latino boy who travels into Amarra’s magical world every time he closes his eyes. Amarra is mute, speaks in sign language, and may be falling in love with the princess she is forced to protect in this thrilling fantasy.
why do fantasy worlds always have to include real world misogyny and sexism
Four month difference.
you should see my one month difference
do you ever just look at your bookshelf and realize you literally have hundreds of dollars invested in it!?