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Is Tar Valon a vagina? I know it sounds crude, but I wouldn't have posted it if I didn't think there was some merit to it:

A bit of subtle mischief from Jordan and his mapmaking cronies, or intentional symbolism?

February 22, 2011, 06:34:38 AM
Re: Worst Fantasy Book Cover... Ever? Found two new candidates!


March 20, 2012, 09:02:41 PM
Re: Writers that shit on their characters.
Fitz may have felt the weight of some of Hobb's shit.

Yes!  I think Hobb was taking extra strong laxatives when writing Assassin's Quest.

February 02, 2013, 10:14:52 PM
Re: Dark Fantasy v Grimdark I think the Elric Saga was more of a nihilistic epic fantasy than either dark fantasy or grimdark.  It had a lot of that going-out-on-adventures feel, but the adventures almost always ended in ruin.

I tried to explain the difference between dark fantasy and horror once by saying that in horror, the protagonists tend to have little or no way to fight back -- whereas in dark fantasy, there may be horrific elements but the protagonists can directly fight the horrific/supernatural enemies that plague them.  They have more agency.

To me, then, grimdark means stories where the characters don't fight those horrors, but either embody or ignore them.  Worlds where violence is a reflex if not the norm, and where the rule of law is shaky, corrupt or completely absent -- where the most pragmatic philosophy is 'do unto others before they do unto you'.

February 10, 2014, 05:08:36 PM
Re: Women Write Fantasy (The Giant 'Women in Fantasy' Database) Way back when this list was a twitter conversation under the hashtag #womeninfantasy I wrote a blog about these issues:

The thing is, yeah it's cool that you don't think about gender when you're selecting books to read - however, the problem is that you're not selecting from an equal deck. The deck is stacked against women writers, as it were. There are more male writers represented on display tables in bookshops, and in promotional emails (Juliet E. McKenna has done a lot of work on this) so when you're thinking of books to read, well, more books by male writers will tend to pop into your head. Ask for recommendations on a forum like this and people will say: Joe Abercrombie, Patrick Rothfuss*, Mark Lawrence, Brandon Sanderson... you often have to ask directly for books by women to get any.

As I said in the blog, do I think this is because everyone is sexist? No, but we're picking from a stacked deck, because male writers get more coverage/attention.

I don't like being told what to read either. But I'm also sure that there are a lot of great books by women that are just passing us by because they never get that space on the table/that review/that mention on a Most Recommended list.

It can only do good to disrupt the circle - it won't take sales away from excellent male authors that we love, but it will give you a broader choice on that display table. And that's why lists like this are groovy and important.

* Last night I dreamt that I went to a restaurant where Pat Rothfuss was cooking jerk chicken for everyone. It was really good.

July 26, 2014, 11:53:23 AM
Re: Women Write Fantasy (The Giant 'Women in Fantasy' Database) The winner of both the Hugo and Nebula awards this year was by a woman, and it's SF, not fantasy. A mind stretching read too, but very good.

It's hard to get statistics on the actual number of publications of SF and fantasy by gender. It's even harder to break it down into subgenres, because there is a certain amount of subjectivity and disagreement about these. But approximately 40% of the members of the SFWA are women. Of course, there are plenty professional SF and F writers of both gender who are not in this organization. No idea if the numbers are representative or not.

Since 1970, women have won nearly 40% of the Hugo awards for best novel, and 34% of the Nebulas. In the past twenty years, 40% of the Hugo winners and 50% of the nebula winners have been women.

I don't think women who write SF and F are that few and far between. Strange Horizons magazine participates in something called the count (an analysis of how literary coverage is affected by gender of the author), which suggests that SF and F novels written by women are less likely to be reviewed or discussed on book blogs.

September 23, 2014, 09:25:05 AM
Re: Insights And Questions I worry about the fridging thing as well. Supporting characters (often female, but sometimes othered or dependent in another way, such as race, age, sexuality, or disability) dying and having repercussions on the (often male) main character is such a common trope in fiction that it can exert weight on my story ideas without me being consciously aware of it, so any time I am looking at including a character death as a plot point - especially if it's a woman - I try to consciously deconstruct the element.

Some things I like to consider:
  • Is this a "classic fridging"? Is the character killed or otherwise brutalised at the start of the story to propel the hero into action? e.g. Batman's parents, Liam Neeson's whatever, the retired warrior's wife and daughter forcing him to take up the sword he had sworn never to swing in anger blah blah blah. Is there a better, more interesting, less cliche way for me to move my character?
  • Are there problematic elements to the death? Would she have survived if: she had followed his advice / he was there to protect her / she'd only stayed out of this / she was a man?
  • Does the character who is killed have purpose and significance to the story beyond their death and its impact? Is that character well-rounded and interesting in and of themselves? (Obviously we want the reader to get to know the character who dies so that they grieve as well, because we as authors are a nasty nefarious bunch who are nourished by the tears of our readers, but the character should be a character, not a collection of endearing traits.)
  • Is the character just killed to show how nasty the villain is? Is this really necessary? Can it be shown another way? Ot at least, can the death also have other plot connotations?
  • Are the surviving characters reacting more like someone broke their stuff than that they've lost a friend?
Sometimes I'll answer yes to more than one of those options, but I'll still try it out in the story because there are other elements that I think balance it out, and/or it does seem to be the best plot option, all things considered. But I think it's very, very important to consider the matter carefully, because as I mentioned in opening, this stuff just seeps into your subconscious. And I consider all of this for the deaths of male characters as well, because it's still cheap - if slightly less dominant-paradigm-problematic.

December 29, 2014, 02:24:24 AM
Fantasy Memes and silly stuff (about books) from the internet Based on the one with Kermit.

Here is a blank to make your own.

February 23, 2015, 07:40:58 PM
Re: Fantasy Memes and silly stuff about books from the internet Take this however you want.  ;D

April 25, 2015, 06:30:47 PM
Re: Fantasy Memes and silly stuff about books from the internet

to stay in the LotR area :

April 26, 2015, 01:22:22 AM