Monday, August 27, 2012
A More Diverse Universe
Aarti posted this today, and I was really excited to see it, not only because I will take any excuse to read any fantasy novel that pretty much anyone throws my way, but because I've been really interested in reading more fantasy by non-white writers lately. I signed up right away, and I'm really excited to browse all the links she gives to reading lists.
I've been thinking about this for a while, mostly since I discovered Octavia Butler and started reading a little about how important a figure she was as a black woman writing fantasy. N.K. Jemisin has talked about people of color being under represented in fantasy. And then there were the cover whitewashing scandals. And I remember Ursula LeGuin's comments when they made a TV movie version of Earthsea that they made all the characters white, which is kind of horrifying, and then I remembered this blog post that I can't find anymore about an avid fantasy reader of Southeast Asian extraction thinking s/he could write a book, but not even knowing where to start, because the culture s/he was imagining was missing all the tropes you expect in a fantasy novel (what do your characters do if they live in a world with no inns?).
So, bloggers unite, and let's get this moving. Seriously, fantasy is too Eurocentric and needs shaking up. Let's take a look at early contenders for my review.
Who Fears Death, by Nnedi Okorafor. Already in my pile (physically)--does it even count if I already wanted to read it? Also, so popular everyone's reading it. Let's get outside the box, am I right? I don't know a huge amount about this book--African dystopia, angel of death, quest for an absent parent. Supposed to be phenomenal.
Redemption In Indigo, by Karen Lord. Another African story, this one sounds a little more lighthearted and domestic; a storyteller with an annoying husband crosses some feisty spirits and chaos ensues. I could be way off, though.
The Killing Moon, by N.K. Jemisin. Again, can this possibly count since I've been meaning to read it for ages, and can you believe I haven't gotten to it YET? It's obnoxious to say I don't even care what it's about, but it's kind of true, mostly because her stories are so complicated that trying to describe them almost works against you. And that's misleading, because all those places they take you? So, so great.
My Soul to Keep, by Tananarive Due. Horror! It's still speculative, it still counts, and I've been on a kind of weird thriller kick lately. Strange deaths in her circle of friends lead Jessica to a horrifying discovery about her husband. I know very little more, but its Goodreads rating is 4.22 stars, which is kind of awesome.
Huntress, Malinda Lo. This is more YA, set in a fantasy version of China, where two girls go on a quest to restore the balance of magic in the world. This draws me because I'm a big fan of worldbuilding, and I'm really in the market for a non-standard fantasy world. I was quite excited about The Silver Phoenix when it came out, but the writing style was so very, very not mine, I couldn't get very far. Maybe this will be what I wanted from that!
So, that's the early shortlist. Head over to Aarti's blog to find a bunch of possible reading lists, and check back here for updates on my book choice and the blog tour in general.