Tagged: diversity in fantasy

Blast From the Past: Part One

Lots of other blogs with vast archives do this so I figured I might as well try it out too.  What is a ‘blast from the past’ here on The Mad Reviewer?  Well, for our purposes it will be me plugging some of my older posts way back from 2012 and 2013 (possibly even 2014) that my newer subscribers may have missed.  Some of them are not the best written but I’ve definitely improved over time and my older posts are definitely a reflection of my blogging inexperience.  They’re still pretty cool, though, if I do say so myself.

So here are some random articles over the years that I’ve particularly liked or had fun writing:

1.  Why are Zombies so Scary?  (March 2012)

Here in this post I examine the reasons why zombies used to terrify me and why they continue to terrify other people, even with the popularity of shows like The Walking Dead.  Read the comment section to discover how zombies are like cows as well.

2.  What Makes a Character Memorable?  (March 2012)

What makes a character memorable?  Why is it that some characters stick out to us and we remember them years later whereas some characters you forget instantly after finishing a book?

3.  Accuracy in Historical Fiction (April 2012)

My views surrounding accuracy in historical fiction have slightly changed since this post but the essence of it is true: most history is exciting enough that it doesn’t need to be changed by authors.

4.  A Plea for Diversity in Fantasy (April 2012)

No, this isn’t about racial and other diversity (I’ve addressed that in other posts) but instead this was a desperate plea for some unique plots in fantasy, YA fantasy in particular.  I think part of my problem at the time was the fact it was the height of Twilight fever and I desperately needed a form of brain bleach to displace all the Team Edward vs. Team Jacob nonsense.

5.  Should Reviewers Give Bad Reviews?  (July 2012)

Yep, this controversy has raged for years and will continue to go on long after this generation of bloggers quits.  Should reviewers give bad reviews or simply not post bad reviews?  I think by now you guys know what side I’m on.

I am a Racist Reader

How much do we really think about diversity in fiction?

A while back I was reading a fascinating article over on The Masquerade Crew by JeanNicole Rivers called ‘Are You A Racist Reader?’  JeanNicole made some excellent points and I began to look at how I picture characters when I read.  I have now come to the conclusion that I am a racist reader.  Then I immediately started feeling guilty.

The community I grew up in was not known for its diversity or even its political correctness.  It was predominantly white and racism was pretty much the default attitude for most people, especially the older generations.  There is a family anecdote about how when I was two years old my mother took me shopping in the city and I pointed at an African American man and said: “Mum, why is that man brown?”  Yes, that’s how white my community was.  I never actually had spoken to a ‘brown’ person until I was six or seven, when my father began importing Filipino workers, who we treated as part of the family. Continue reading

A Plea for Diversity in Fantasy

Fantasy has been quite stagnant of late, and frankly, I’m sick of it.  I am sick to death of heroes gallivanting around swinging swords in quasi-Medieval European worlds to defeat the evil king.  Can fantasy writers quit ripping off Tolkein and try to write something different for a change?  Now don’t get me wrong, fantasy is one of my favourite genres, but it’s time for a change, especially in YA fiction.  Here I’ve compiled a list of fantasy writers’ greatest offenses.

1.  Enough already with the vampires, werewolves, fairies, angels and [insert half-something here].

Every genre goes through its trends and fantasy is no different.  But sooner or later these trends have to end.  Except, the fantasy genre in general seems to have no intention of letting go of the usual fantasy creatures.  The funny thing is that most of these creatures come from familiar Western mythology.  Would it really be so bad to include a few oni, Wendigos or even a Nandi bear?  Would it kill fantasy writers to step a little further outside their own culture?  Probably not.  Oh, and calling fairies, “faeries”, or hinting that creatures are familiar fantasy creatures without actually calling them that don’t count. Continue reading