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latinegrasexologist replied to your photoset “Finished last big edit on the novel. It’s at 168 pages for now, very…”

is this a childrens book too?

The publisher generally decides the genre and the age range (a marketing thing, in many cases), but I’d say yes. It is also very much an adult’s adventure book.

Okay, here’s my pitch on the spot:

Imagine a Tolkienesque/Narnia-like/Earthsea-ish/Game of Thrones-ey meld authored by a PoC author who subverts (or attempts to subvert) the racist trope present in almost all fantasy fiction he can think of, without it being preachy at all; A magical drama that references various cultures and current day GWOT and imperialism through age-old Fantasy archetypes and story shapes, and also employs gender typing much in the way Miyazaki does. Upside down to what is normal. I’d like to think Ursula K. Leguin influenced my Fantasy writing a bit in that way, too. The story does other things, too, with other issues, but I don’t want to talk it to death. I want to send some copies out and see what comes back without too much of my own thoughts.

But that layering/metaphor is why it works for both kids and adults. You don’t need to read anything into it for it to be an engaging Fantasy story (again, I hope!), but if you as an adult do catch some of the historical and cultural and literary games I’m playing, you’ll be doubly delighted.

I’m pretty excited by the book for a couple reasons. Firstly, because I love the Magic/Dragon/Wizard/Fantasy genre, devoured it as a kid but as I grew older, was saddened to suss out CS Lewis’ anti-Arab/anti-Muslim/Pro-Crusading Christianity themes, as well as all the Racist coding in LoTR books, and in so many other titles. I want Fantasy I can feel good about, and that won’t train children in the corrupt ways that so much media does today, and that is simply more true (while being Fantasy!).

Secondly, because I took a huge break in serious creative writing—from my songwriting to my bookwriting—in 2006, to focus on decolonization of thought, and general education into some of the pollutants to my earlier work, which mirrored some ignorance I’d absorbed growing up: the entrenched racism and misogyny in American culture. I blogged my heart out for 6 or 7 years without pausing (UMX), and still do a more casual form here. But I purposely stopped writing creative work because I’d come to realize there was a lot of unconsciousness in my work. I didn’t want to come from that place.

So this is my first major creative work since I took a hiatus, 8 years ago. I think it’s good book. Granted, I’m pretty close to the material, but there’s no question that it is the best long-form fiction i’ve ever created. And I’m happy, too, because while I’ve received plenty of compliments on my work in one way or another, for all my life, an artist judges themselves, and that’s what matters. And personally, I know that so much of it has been practice. Nothing there was something I’d want people to look at after I died. Clever, weird, original, sure. At times. No ‘great’ work. Now, I don’t know if this is a Great work, I doubt it. But it is something I feel good about leaving behind. You know how you grow up hearing all about your ‘potential’ and later feel it was a bunch of bullshit? I feel like this book is me living up to my potential, or beginning to.

Or maybe I’m just superjazzed, coming off the high of creating!

If Tolkien Were Black by Laura Miller (full article here)

N.K. Jemisin (left) and David Anthony Durham

Looking at the most visible exemplars of epic fantasy — from J.R.R. Tolkien to such bestselling authors as George R.R. Martin and Robert Jordan — a casual observer might assume that big, continent-spanning sagas with magic in them are always set in some imaginary variation on Medieval Britain. There may be swords and talismans of power and wizards and the occasional dragon, but there often aren’t any black- or brown-skinned people, and those who do appear are decidedly peripheral; in “The Lord of the Rings,” they all seem to work for the bad guys.

Our hypothetical casual observer might therefore also conclude that epic fantasy — one of today’s most popular genres — would hold little interest for African-American readers and even less for African-American writers. But that observer would be dead wrong. One of the most celebrated new voices in epic fantasy is N.K. Jemisin, whose debut novel, “The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms,” won the Locus Award for best first novel and nominations for seemingly every other speculative fiction prize under the sun. Another is David Anthony Durham, whose Acacia Trilogy has landed on countless best-of lists. Both authors recently published the concluding books in their trilogies.

Although they came to the genre from different paths, both Jemisin and Durham have used it to wrench historical and cultural themes out of their familiar settings and hold them up in a different light. “I never felt that fantasy needed to be an escape from reality,” Durham told me. “I wanted it to be a different sort of engagement with reality, and one that benefits from having magic and mayhem in it as well.”

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In Durham’s trilogy, four royal siblings are deposed and then fight their way back to the throne in an empire presided over by the island city of Acacia. Their dynasty’s power resides in a Faustian bargain made with a league of maritime merchants: the League supplies a rabble-soothing drug in exchange for a quota of the empire’s children, who are sent off across the sea to meet an unknown fate. As promised, “Acacia” is a sweeping yarn filled with adventure, intrigue, sorcery and battles.

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Jemisin’s series, too, is set in the capital of an empire that has been run by an aristocratic clan for generations. The power of the Arameri family, however, resides in the gods — specifically a pantheon of deities whom they have imprisoned and enslaved. The narrator of “The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms” is the daughter of a renegade member of the clan who ran off with a foreigner. Raised in a remote kingdom with its own fiercely independent customs, she returns to the capital seeking information about her mother and, once there, becomes embroiled in vicious palace intrigues.

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She made the main character a woman and, in an even more marked departure from the norm, she decided to have that character narrate the book in the first person. “I knew that what I was writing was inherently defiant of the tropes of epic fantasy,” Jemisin said, “and I wasn’t sure it would be accepted.”

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When Durham decided to write an epic fantasy, he set out to recapture the enchantment he felt as a 12-year-old, discovering Tolkien at his father’s house in Trinidad, while “brushfires and buzzards” ranged over the neighboring hills. Jemisin, on the other hand, based her trilogy on “the old-school epics: not Tolkien, but Gilgamesh.” The gods in her imaginary world evoke the squabbling divine families of the world’s great myths: “The ancient tales of mortals putting up with gods and trying to outsmart gods, of trickster gods outsmarting other gods: That’s the basis of my work.”

“The genre can go many, many more places than it has gone,” said Jemisin. “Fantasy’s job is kind of to look back, just as science fiction’s job is to look forward. But fantasy doesn’t always just have to look back to one spot, or to one time. There’s so much rich, fascinating, interesting, really cool history that we haven’t touched in the genre: countries whose mythology is elaborate and fascinating, cultures whose stories we just haven’t even tried to retell.”

3

September 21, 1937: The Hobbit is published.

J.R.R.Tolkien’s classic children’s novel turns 75 years old today. The book begins with the line “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit”, a sentence which, according to Tolkien, came to him spontaneously while marking papers. The first edition dust jacket was designed by the author himself, who also provided the black and white illustrations. Since 1937, The Hobbit has been translated into over forty languages and sold tens of millions of copies. The initial print of 1,500 copies ran out in three months, and response was unanimously favorable. Tolkien’s close friend and fellow fantasy author C.S. Lewis wrote in The Times Literary Supplement: ”Prediction is dangerous: but The Hobbit may well prove a classic.

Perhaps The Hobbit's greatest legacy was not the book itself but the sequel that was published seventeen years later - the far more complex first volume of The Lord of the RingsThe Fellowship of the Ring. Urged on by his publishers, who wished to make the most out of the smashing success that was The Hobbit, Tolkien worked on his sequel slowly and deliberately through the years of World War II and after. Both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings brought the popularity of fantasy literature to new heights and established Tolkien as the “father” of modern high fantasy. 

The first film of Peter Jackson’s new trilogy, based off The Hobbit, is set for release in December. 

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When J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Hobbit, he was already an accomplished amateur artist, and drew illustrations for his book while it was still in manuscript. The Hobbit as first printed had ten black-and-white pictures, two maps, and binding and dust jacket designs by its author. Later, Tolkien also painted five scenes for color plates, which comprise some of his best work. His illustrations for The Hobbit add an extra dimension to that remarkable book, and have long influenced how readers imagine Bilbo Baggins and his world.

I have found The Art of The Hobbit book here in Amazon. Some of these images are published here for the first time, others for the first time in color, allowing Tolkien’s Hobbit pictures to be seen completely and more vividly than ever before.

(amazon.com)



10

World of the Ring by Jian Guo

Middle-Earth seems like it’s a pretty happening place: plenty of exotic locales to explore, elves handing out gifts, trees to ride when your footses ache, and treasure available only to those courageous enough to take it. If it ever existed in a Tolkien novel or note, then Jian has probably drawn it: his jaw-droppingly resplendent masterpieces tell just as enthralling a story as the novels they emulate… though in considerably fewer words. The lead image: "A Long Adventure with a Hobbit" is available in print form at Jian’s DeviantArt.

Artist: Blog (via: Kotaku)

Okay, so I had planned to write a big long review of this book, but you know what? It’s too fucking good.

You need to buy this book.

It is a fantasy novel. It is the best fantasy novel. It is in a fantasy universe populated with protagonists of color, and evil white people. There are a few good white people, but mostly evil white people who have wayyyy too much power and are evil.

You need to buy this book if only for the scene where the disabled Black woman protagonist picks up a bottle of white people shampoo, sniffs it, and just rolls her eyes and thinks, are they expecting me to use this astringent shit on my beautiful Maroneh(Black) woman hair?

It in particular is actually the second book in the series, but I accidentally read it out of order the first time (and have since read the other) and it didn’t particularly suffer from being read out of order.

You need to buy this book.

There is also a bit of sexy sex. The exact right amount of sexy sex.

I cannot tell you how much I fell in love with this book. All three, but in particular this one was my favorite.

There is also a significant amount of queer sex in the trilogy. QUEER PEOPLE OF COLOR.

This is N. K. Jemisin. She wrote this book.

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You need to buy all of her books.

I plan to.

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Bitch Magazine Series: Girls of Color in Dystopian YA Fantasy Literature

This current guest series by Victoria Law includes book reviews, analysis of race and tends in YA literature, questions about race and gender in Dystopic narratives, interviews with authors and more.

"Stay Away From My Elves": Racism in Epic Fantasy Fandoms-Damned if you Do, Damned if You Don't.

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Wistful POC make a photoset POC fancast for Lord of the Rings. White people :

Like I said before, I think adding poc into things JUST for the purpose of inclusion is just as bad. But I don’t think adding them in to a fantasy story that has been around for decades with a very strong and dedicated following is the right way to do it. This isn’t about racism, this is about fucking with my fandom.

Stay away from my elves.

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An author of color writes a book featuring POC protagonists. White People:

I’m all for being happy that a black person wrote a fantasy book with black protagonists, just as themselves, largely (though not entirely) away from any color related power struggles, letting them exist on their own merit and showing the obvious fact that fantasy characters don’t all have to be pale.

It would be nice if the responses weren’t “FUCK YEAR! FINALLY A BOOK FOR US! TAKE THAT YOU HORRIBLE, BORING WHITEYS”.

However I do fail to see how ‘race isn’t a conflict’ as someone (I think) mentioned above, when it’s really just about black supremacy, not white supremacy. BUT HEY DON’T MIND ME. I prefer not to read fantasy with an agenda, even if it’s in my favor.

I’ll reserve my adulation for a black writer who is above being racist entirely. I do not withhold judgment based on skin color.

Making it clear that White villains are only bad if the Protagonists are POC:

You know, I kinda have a problem with this, as well. I’m white, but one thing I’ve made a major point in my life is to never see skin color. If you had told me this book was part of a wonderful fantasy series that would have been fine. If you had told me the protagonists were people of color and the antagonists where white: still fine. But you had to drive home the thought that it’s so superior just for those reasons, and that’s unsettling.

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A white author writes black characters which are subsequently whitewashed by white fans. White people:

I mean seriously, you SJS Skidmarks whine and bitch about how authors don’t include enough “non-white” characters in their books. Then when an author DOES do so, you whine and bitch because they aren’t the star or the main character. And when an author makes one a pretty important character you complain about THAT.

Seriously, kindly write “racist” on a club and beat yourself to death with it. It’s what you want, anyways, but no one would likely care enough to humor you. You can make the club any color you want, though I think we can all guess what color it’d be. Funny thing is, regardless of that? It’d still be stupid and incredibly ironic.

Ursula K. LeGuin writes a Black main character in The Left Hand of Darkness, a seminal Gender studies text and all-around awesome sci fi book. White people:

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Ursula K. LeGuin writes an entire World full of people with “reddish-brown” or “blue-black” skin. There is quite literally only ONE white character (Tenar). White people make a TV miniseries:

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I take it that everyone remembers the racist shitstorm over Rue and Thresh? No?

“Naturally Thresh would be a black man,” tweeted someone who called herself @lovelyplease.

“I was pumped about the Hunger Games. Until I learned that a black girl was playing Rue,” wrote @JohnnyKnoxIV.

“Why is Rue a little black girl?” @FrankeeFresh demanded to know. (she appended her tweet with the hashtag admonishment #sticktothebookDUDE.)

“Awkward moment when Rue is some black girl and not the little blonde innocent girl you picture,”@sw4q

“Kk call me racist but when I found out rue was black her death wasn’t as sad,” wrote @JashperParas

But wait! Let’s not forget the Fan-made movie that was uploaded and waddled its way around the internet well before the ACTUAL film came out, which has OVER 3 MILLION VIEWS AND FEATURES A BLONDE, WHITE RUE, AS WELL AS DOZENS OF COMMENTS REGARDING HOW MUCH "BETTER" IT IS THAN THE ACTUAL HOLLYWOOD MOVIE

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According to the filmmaker:

I know that Rue is described as being dark skinned in the book, but I wanted to show Savanna’s acting. I think she would make a good Prim though.

The commenters:

Danielle McMeeking 11 hours ago

Everytime I watch this, I always think it was so much better than the movie. This vid is just epic. It captures the whole feeling of the book. It’s realistic, and for that reason it’s completely awesome.

justanotherandomanon 2 weeks ago

Personally, I like this version better than the one in the movie. It’s more emotional, it feels more realistic, and the actors here acted better, especially Rue.

dawn98silver 4 weeks ago

Why is this better than the movie?! I cried! I didn’t cry for the movie.

Jon snow 1 month ago

This was more sad when rue died than in the actual movie! still loved it though!

lolapoopbear 2 months ago

rue is so beautiful

Okay, so….

Recap.

White people: “STAY AWAY FROM MY ELVES!!!”

White people: “I’ll reserve my adulation for a black writer who is above being racist entirely.”

White people:

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White people:

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We might have mentioned before how much we love science fiction, and the fact that this year’s summer reading theme is Science. Actually: Science!! It needs an exclamation point. 

So, we’ve put together a really, really, incredibly huge booklist (working title? The Hive) for fans of science and fantasy fiction - and we added a little something extra, since, if you’re anything like us, when you love reading a genre, you love to watch films and shows, and play video games, in that same genre. 

And if you’re playing Reading Bingo this summer with us for Summer Reading - or if you’re planning to take part in our Summer Fling (With a Book)! matchmaking program - then these books will definitely see you through summer and beyond!

2

Lit. Meme - 3 Genres: High Fantasy

Notable Authors: J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, G.R.R. Martin 

High fantasy is defined as fantasy fiction set in an alternative, entirely fictional (“secondary”) world, rather than the real, or “primary” world. The secondary world is usually internally consistent but its rules differ in some way(s) from those of the primary world. By contrast, low fantasy is characterized by being set in the primary, or “real” world, or a rational and familiar fictional world, with the inclusion of magical elements.

These stories are often serious in tone and epic in scope, dealing with themes of grand struggle against supernatural, evil forces.

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