Intro Music by Fretts!

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What We Hate About Science Fiction/Fantasy!


What We’re Drinking:

Bacardi Gold. A pretty standard gold rum that people use to get drunk. I didn’t find it to have as much character as my personal favorite rum.

What We’re Saying:

Please tell us what we should be drinking on the show!

So before you turn off the podcast, we like science fiction and fantasy! We write sci-fi/fantasy! We just want to help make the genre better. There’s no reason that you can’t write sci-fi/fantasy and write good fiction!

We definitely want to do an episode about literary fiction and communities at some point to balance the scales.

Thing 1: Speculative Fiction is a supergenre that came about fairly recently and seems to cover science fiction, fantasy and all associated subgenres, and it’s a dumb name because all fiction is speculative in nature. All fiction is, when you get down to it, a what-if question.

Thing 2: Classic fantasy, especially epic fantasy, tends to be offensively boring, and I personally blame J. R. R. Tolkien. In my opinion, Tolkien wrote long books that were, in the majority, long and detailed descriptions of the worlds of white men. James disagrees; he states that Tolkien opened up a door for writers to access fantastic worlds and have them published. But the fact that Tolkien developed the prototype for epic fantasy worlds kinda for white dudes is not just a problem, it’s exceptionally boring. That and the fact that Joseph Campbell, whose “hero’s journey” is the structure that many epic fantasy tales take, said that women don’t take the hero’s journey, that they are the prize at the end of the journey, has left the fantasy genre in a state of anemia from which it is only just now recovering. The graveyard of sad tropes.

The Writing Excuses Podcast can be found here; it’s another excellent, high quality writing podcast. You should definitely check them out.

Thing 3: Magic systems. Kind of the point of magic as a tool in writing is to give the author a way to break rules without pulling people out of the stories. I mean it reinforces genre and when well written can communicate a sense of wonder that is really important to the fantasy genre, but structurally, it lets us break rules. So when you develop rules for your magic system and then communicate those to your reader, you’re basically letting the reader backstage to see how stuff works. I can’t speak for all readers of the genre, but I don’t want to know the rules of your magic system! I want it to be lovely and wondrous and outside my understanding!

Here’s an article on the subject by N.K. Jemisin.

Thing 4: Vampires. Or rather, vampire worlds. In order to write a compelling vampire story, all you need to do is understand why we write about vampires. We write about them because there’s something in the vampiric nature that reflects humanity. And when you abandon that, your vampires become shells. The same goes for werewolves and other fantastic races and monsters.

And stop using non-human races as stand-ins for human races. There have been reasons why this could have been constructive in the past, but we have different ways now to explore race, it’s not necessary to continue to code the conversation.

In closing, Star Wars isn’t science fiction.

What do you hate about science fiction? What do you hate about Fantasy? What did we get wrong?






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