I found the article very interesting, compelling and necessary. It made me feel hopeful about speculative fiction's future. However, I would like to understand why these discussions and ideas genuinely upset some folks. I'm a black guy (Nigerian/American) and I have been reading scifi and fantasy for most of my life. As much as I enjoy and love it, sometimes it feels like my favorite genre never considers people that look like me or factor in the possibilities of non-white cultures or settings. I remember as a kid everytime I read a line that had "bronze skin" "dark thick hair" I always assumed the characters were of possibly African descent. I also remember getting older and realizing all that meant was a tan and how crushing that was.
I love ASOIAF to death however, there are next to no non-whites in that entire series, and more often that not they are given insignificant roles, some might argue negative ones. The main black person in that novel is a prostitute that gets whipped to near-death? Why is that? (I won't even discuss portrayals of the dothraki savages) Why couldn't a major house be of a different color? My question revolves around the fact that the series is FANTASY not historical fiction.
Westeros is a CONTINENT. How and why has there been no immigration? Are you telling me that in the 5000+ years of ASOIAF history (where science never evolves, people do not travel and resettle?) why neglect the possibility of characters that are different? You can't say its because of the authors geography. GRRM lives in the US, the ultimate melting pot. Then you have authors like Kate Elliot. I know her Crown of Stars Series is not perfect, but damn it that series showed a world that was not limited by geography, race or history. And that had an impact on me.
I get frustrated when some individuals get angry so quickly that those of us FANS someday want to see a character we can actually relate to or one that represents us. Now if it was an author from Bangladesh writing about Bangladesh culture, that's a different issue. I can't expect the author to have Brazilian main characters. But if you're from the UK or US and you're writing literature that intentionally do not reflect your own world and all the folks that live in it, it kind of really sucks for some fans.
Please, I am not trying to flame or whatever. I want to understand why this topic upsets some people. Some folks can't possibly understand how conflicting it is to love an author's work to death and even recommend it to legion of folks and yet say "damn I wish there was someone like me in this book" It sucks. Yes and you can go ahead and say, why don't you write your own books, authors can do whatever the hell they want. The point is we love the world the author has created. Is it so terrible to want to be a part of it?
Edited by kauldron26, 24 June 2011 - 02:58 PM.