Chris McKitterick (mckitterick) wrote,
Chris McKitterick

Speculative fiction and authorial laziness. Also stupid people.

Just saw this fantastic response by author Scott Lynch to small-mindedness in speculative fiction.

I've been talking with several people lately about this very issue, ever since clevermanka got me started thinking. She gave up on Game of Thrones right away upon realizing that, socio-politically, women have been suffering the same sexism there in that fantasty world as they have in our world. (She also has a good discussion going on over at her LJ on this topic.)

Fantasy so often fails to try new things because "that's not the way they were." BULLPOOP. It's FANTASY, people, which means IT'S NOT AND NEVER WAS REAL. Why re-create the same sexist, racist, religionist, etcetera-ist stereotypes from our own history when you can create fresh, vivid, DIFFERENT worlds? It just reveals the authors' own imagination limitations. In fact, if you're writing any form of speculative fiction, you have no excuse for limiting yourself to the way things were or the way things are; it's SPECULATIVE, which means you can - and ought to, if you want to write something that stands out - do things like invent futures where elections aren't affected by someone's genetic heritage, or whether they belong to a religion, or how many times they've been married, or if they're even fully organic after the shipwreck. Heck, that's the whole point: to speculate on possibilities, to examine what it means to be human encountering change.

PS: Also, FRAK the closed-minded people who say "Men can't write about the women's experience." This author, who at least appears to be a man, isn't writing about the women's experience, but a woman's experience. Which is another way to not just write stereotypes. Bravo.

PPS: If you haven't yet, be sure to read this article: Historically Authentic Sexism in Fantasy. Let’s Unpack That.

PPPS: Here's a great discussion about "How to be a fan of problematic things" (with the subtext of "without being an a-hole").

What are your thoughts on this? Can you accept the problematic, sigh a bit, then go on to enjoy a work? Or does it stop you from being able to read it?

Tags: science fiction, the human condition, writing

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