Multicultural Fantasy

10 03 2009

I just discovered that Marie Brennan has put together a list of fantasy novels based on non-Norse, non-Celtic, non-medieval-English cultures.  She’s even divided it up into categories, organized by the main foundational culture for each novel.  This is completely awesome.

On a similar note, one of the positive things to come out of RaceFail ’09 (in addition to many fruitful conversations and the founding of a new press, Verb Noire) has been the sheer number of recommendations for books written by chromatic people.  Some dedicated and wonderful fans are compiling a spreadsheet of recommendations, and I know there’s been rumors of a GoodReads/LibraryThing list.  I’ll link that info here, too, when it’s finished.


Elizabethan fantasy

21 02 2009

The next two books in my queue are Marie Brennan’s Midnight Never Come and Elizabeth Bear’s Stratford Man (i.e., Ink & Steel and Hell & Earth*), both set in a fantasized version of Elizabethan England. I’ve begun Midnight Never Come and am quite impressed so far: compelling story, well-researched, with a fascinating interplay between the faerie and mortal courts. Because I’ve done some work on the vagaries of patronage in early modern England, I’m really interested in the mirror stories of Lune and Michael Devan’s quests for favor; they’re sympathetic and fascinating. I have been looking forward to this book ever since I first heard about it over on the Livejournal community fangs_fur_fey. So far, I’m delighted to say, it is absolutely living up to expectations.

I have to add that my interest in The Stratford Man has spiked since Race Fail ’09, but possibly not in a good way. I already owned both before the internet exploded, so I see no reason not to read them. I’ll certainly be thinking about the way they talk about race in particular, although the handy thing about 16th-century England is that one can get away with not really discussing race very much. We’ll see.

* Ink & Steel is the third book in Bear’s series about the conflict between Promethean mages and the Faerie courts, although it’s set 400 years before the events of the first two.

And they’re all women

18 02 2009

As a corollary to my last post, I just realized that all the authors I talked about (Jensen, Willis, Monette, and Clarke) are women. In fact, although like many fans of SF/F I started off with Tolkien and Lewis, I find myself drawn primarily to women writers in current SF/F these days. As I think about the books I’ve read in the past year for the first time, these are the ones that stand out to me:

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