Tag Archives: Fantasy

LonCon3 #21: Gender and Genre

Panellists: Francis Knight, Jenni Hill, Melanie Fletcher, Justin Landon

Are genres gendered? Truisms like “women don’t read science fiction” or “men hate romance” abound, but to what extent do these sorts of assumptions determine what we see on the shelves? How have certain sub-genres become strongly associated with writers (and readers) of a single gender? What are the difficulties faced by a writer trying to work in a (sub)genre traditionally associated with a gender other than their own? What role(s) can publishers and booksellers play in creating, reinforcing, or challenging such bias?

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LonCon3 #13: Fantasy and Medievalism

Panellists: Robin Hobb, K.A. Laity, Marieke Nijkamp (We Need Diverse Books), Lynda Rucker, Gillian Polack

High fantasy is almost invariably set in invented worlds inspired by medieval Europe. Can we put this down to the legacy of Tolkien and to genre works being in close conversation with each other? Or is there something about the place that medieval Europe occupies in our imagination that makes it a perfect companion for tales of epic striving and larger-than-life Good versus Evil? Either way, does this help or hinder the genre?

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LonCon3 #5: Reimagining Families – where’s the diversity?

Panellists: Jed Hartman, David D Levine, Rosanne Rabinowitz, Laura Lam, Cherry Potts (moderator)

In a 2013 column for Tor.com, Alex Dally MacFarlane called for a greater diversity in the way SF and fantasy represent families, pointing out that in the real world, “People of all sexualities and genders join together in twos, threes, or more. Family-strong friendships, auntie networks, global families… The ways we live together are endless.” Which stories centre non-normative family structures? What are the challenges of doing this in an SF context, and what are the advantages? How does representing a wider range of family types change the stories that are told?

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LonCon3 #3: Attendee Demographics – Are there no black sci-fi fans?

Octavia Butler8,000 people attended LonCon3 hailing from 64 countries, some as far away as Australia. Roughly 2,000 from the U.K. and 2,000 from the U.S. What the LonCon3 site doesn’t show is something I noticed as soon as I walked through the doors of the ExCeL building: the age, gender, disability and racial demographics.

70% or more of the attendees were over 40 – though over 60 is probably more accurate – and during the four days I was there I only saw two black faces. There were a few Middle Eastern and south and east Asians, but no black people.

Why?

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If you were a dinosaur, my love by Rachel Swirsky

If you were a dinosaur, my loveRating:

So you’re sitting at home watching Jurassic Park with your boyfriend for the millionth time and you turn to look at him and wonder . . . If you were a dinosaur, my love . . .

An ode to a surreal, lyrical fantasy that’s moments away from turning into monster porn. Until the end when the fantasy cracks to reveal a violent reality, and the inspiration for the daydream.

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Through the Looking Glass (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland #2) by Lewis Carroll

Through the Looking GlassRating:

Okay, so I didn’t enjoy Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland but I had a free audio of Through the Looking Glass voiced by Miriam Margolyes, and I thought, why not?

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Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Alice's Adventures in WonderlandRating:

The week before reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland I read The Migraine Brain in which I learned that Lewis Carroll was a migraine-with-aura sufferer. Migraines muddle thinking and reduce concentration. And for him, a migraine meant distorted vision. Disproportional Alice. Tall and small Alice. Strange tastes. Odd sights and sounds. Mixing up words. All inspired by migraines. Without knowing this, my experience of his most famous work would have been very different.

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Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2)Rating:

If you hated Throne of Glass because the supposedly violent assassin acted out Cinderella instead of Buffy, then you’ll absolutely adore Crown of Midnight. Rare is it these days, that an author will read critical reviews such as mine and actually make a concerted effort to make their readers happy by upping their game. And boy, did Ms. Maas raise the bar.

Let’s address the issues that I brought up in my 2-star review of the debut.

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Review: The Library of Babel by Jorge Luis Borges

The Library of BabelRating:

Completely confounding. An intriguing idea poorly executed. Even reading slowly didn’t improve understanding. Beautifully written sentences were meaningless without much background or context.

I honestly didn’t perceive the allegory; the library representing the universe, its books filled with information detailing everything within it, though in an incomprehensible manner – multiple languages represented in each volume.

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Review: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. LewisRating: 2 stars

Gifted to me for Christmas 1994 by the Sunday School I temporarily attended – according to the bookplate (below right) – after I’d watched the 80s film adaptation at school, I remember the ungrateful disdain I felt for the novel; feeling I’d already read the book having watched the film. How ignorant I was. Granted, I only 8 years old, but we all know that adaptions are usually inferior to the original.

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