Great article from Salon on black writers in Fantasy

Laura Miller’s terrific article at Salon.com, “If Tolkien were black,” interviews two authors, N.K. Jemisin and David Anthony Durham. Fantasy is often associated with a mythical Great Britain full of anglo-saxons, but both of these authors question that, and create books that are not your typical fantasy fare. One insight from Jemisin I really liked was:

Jemisin finds deeper problems in “certain expectations of the genre that are rooted in Western cultural assumptions that are not necessarily true. For example: the whole good-versus-evil focus, the binary. You see that in so much of epic fantasy. The Dark Lord is really bad, we know this. Because he’s dark. Well, did you do something to him? Doesn’t matter, he’s dark. That’s why he’s bad and that’s why you’ve got to go kill him. That kind of thinking I inherently do not trust.”

Also interesting to me is how both writers celebrate the imaginative power of fantastic fiction, and use imaginary worlds to discuss real world topics without any overt ideology.


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