Call for Guest Blogs About Representation
2/2: The response to this post has been great, thank you! Unfortunately, that means I’m having to pick and choose. I’m doing my best to get a wide range of topics and writers. I’m keeping a few spots open to see what else comes in, but I think the roster is mostly full at this point.
This is a call for a handful of guest bloggers to talk about representation in fiction. Because it’s one thing for me to talk about this stuff, but let’s face it, it’s not exactly difficult for me to find characters like me in books, TV, movies, advertising, video games, etc. And there’s a painful irony when conversations about representation end up spotlighting some guy whose part of the most overrepresented group in the country.
I’d be looking for personal stories about what it’s like to not see yourself in stories, how powerful it is the first time you do, things like that. There’s no length requirement, though 400-1000 words is a pretty good range for blog posts. (I’m still amazed anyone read that 6000-word monster from earlier this week.)
As an example of what I’m hoping to help spotlight, here’s an excerpt from an interview with Nichelle Nichols talking about Whoopi Goldberg:
Whoopi Goldberg, she’s just marvelous. I had no way of knowing that she was a Star Trek fan. When I finally met her it was her first year on the Next Generation.
She loved the show so much and she told her agent she wants a role on Star Trek. Well agents go “Big screen, little screen, no, you can’t do that.” Well you can’t tell Whoopi “You can’t do that.”
And so they finally asked, and they had the same reaction at Star Trek office, specifically Gene. And she said, “I want to meet him and I want him to tell me to my face. If he tells me he doesn’t want me and why, I’ll be fine.”
Knowing Gene he had to take that challenge, and so he met with her. She said, “I just wanted you to tell me why you don’t want me in Star Trek.”
Gene said, “Well, I’ll just ask you one question and I’ll make my decision on that. You’re a big screen star, why do you want to be on a little screen, why do you want to be in Star Trek?”
And she looked at him and she said, “Well, it’s all Nichelle Nichols’ fault.”
That threw him, he said, “What do you mean?”
She said, “Well when I was nine years old Star Trek came on,” and she said, “I looked at it and I went screaming through the house, ‘Come here, mum, everybody, come quick, come quick, there’s a black lady on television and she ain’t no maid!'” And she said, “I knew right then and there I could be anything I wanted to be, and I want to be on Star Trek.”
And he said, “I’ll write you a role.”
ETA: It gets better.
Lupita Nyong’o, star of 12 Years a Slave, credits Whoopi Goldberg for inspiring her to become an actress. (Thanks to pandoradeloeste for this.)
Please let me know if you’re interested. Give me a sense of what you’d want to write about. I want to showcase a range of different stories. I’ll be happy to include a bio and link to you online if you’d like, and if not, that’s fine too.
I’ve never done an open call like this, and I have no idea what the response will be like, so I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to publish everyone. But I’ll do the best I can.
If you have questions, please post them in the comments or send them to me directly.
February 1, 2014 @ 5:06 pm
Jim: There is one way you belong to an under-represented group (one of the ones I belong to also) – people with chronic illnesses. How many SF/F books have major characters living with diabetes, fibromyalgia, asthma, etc.? Especially where the illness is not a major focus of the story, but just something that’s part of who they are. That’s something I’d like to see more of.
Jim C. Hines
February 1, 2014 @ 5:15 pm
Oh, right — both diabetes and depression. (The latter of which will be included in the next book.)
One of the things I liked about Anton Strout’s “Dead to Me” series was the way he used his experience as a diabetic to write his protagonist, whose blood sugar drops sharply any time he uses his magic. It was a, “Hey, I know what that feels like!” moment that I hadn’t expected to find.
February 1, 2014 @ 5:34 pm
So cool about the Strout book!
February 1, 2014 @ 5:39 pm
I’ll put my hand up but it’ll be slightly different. I’m angry about how albinos are represented. In the past 10 days I’ve read a novella and a novel with the Evil Albino trope. Last year I read Akata Witch where the albino didn’t have bad eyesight and was magically cured of her sunburn (magical disabled person trope AND magical healing of disabled person trope). Off the top of my head I can think of one story I’ve read in recent years where there’s a positive albino who isn’t healed (although technology does for her in a steampunk world what technology cannot do for real albinos today).
It’s deeply hurtful to be repeatedly cast as the villain. This influences others’ reactions and expectations towards albinos as well as fostering incorrect perceptions of what albinism is and how it affects people.
If you’re interested in this divergence, let me know 🙂
February 1, 2014 @ 5:46 pm
Have you tried Caitlin R. Kiernan’s Alabaster stuff? There’s the comic (Alabaster: Wolves), and shortly a reprint anthology (Alabaster: Pale Horse) and another comic (Alabaster: Grimmer Tales). The main character is albino (I don’t think she has a sexuality, but the author has once or twice on her blog made hints she might pair her with a female character – never worked out if it was serious or not), and she appears in some of Kiernan’s novels, as well as her own stuff. The character gets mocked for her condition, but… I reckon you should check it out too.
Just a recommendation 🙂
February 1, 2014 @ 5:51 pm
I’ve never heard of it before but now I must find it. Thanks.
February 1, 2014 @ 6:21 pm
If people in real life get mocked for a condition, then I appreciate seeing it happen in books too. That’s part of showing real people in real situations.
February 1, 2014 @ 6:28 pm
I’d love to write about how discovering several new books/movies/tv shows has made me realize that not everyone thinks 60-something women are dull, feeble, sexless drones who could never be interesting or have adventures. I’d love to but I can’t.
When I suggested Wiscon have a panel about older women in f&sf, all but one of the panelists was under 35 and talked exclusively about the young kickass heroines in their books. Yeah.
February 1, 2014 @ 6:32 pm
Yes and no. In the movie The Heat the albino wasn’t realistic (also Evil Albino AND albino with good eyesight /facepalm) but the insults – they made me feel nauseous.
Dr Shari Parker, head of Albinism Australia, said she went to see the Heat to review it. She wore a hat to the cinema to conceal her albinism. Even so, when the insults started she shrank in her seat. There was discussion in albinism groups about how we’ve all heard those insults before and how they made us feel. It’s like saying that it’s ok, this is acceptable behaviour, because the perpetrators – in this case THE HEROES OF THE STORY – insult the albino without repercussions, it’s ok to do so.
On the other hand, showing some realism with consequences and/or empathy could be a good thing. I haven’t seen it yet in literature, so I’ll reserve judgement for now.
I have ordered the books, thanks Kathryn.
February 1, 2014 @ 6:34 pm
This is why I love & adore movies with Judi Dench and any of the Calendar Girls’s actors. Anything with interesting older characters. I’m way younger than the likes of Bruce Willis and Helen Mirren but I love Red and Red 2 for this reason.
Not as many interesting older characters featuring as more than incidental characters in sf/f, though.
February 1, 2014 @ 6:50 pm
Nalini – I definitely did not mean showing it as a good thing. But I think it’s important for people to see what some of us have to endure. For some of us, it’s having our diagnoses mocked, belittled, or not believed. For some it’s sexual harassment. And for some it’s being mocked. If handled appropriately and compassionately, I think it is good to include scenes where these things happen (even though it makes me feel sick).
February 1, 2014 @ 7:17 pm
Spaceships filled with only women. Female-only stellar colonization. And in a cast of 30, there was one lesbian…no one liked her. She was abrasive and needy. (Well, okay, th author got one thing right.)
A popular suspense novel, the lead male’s wife is being hit on by the lesbian neighbor….eww?
Lesbians are supposed to be touch butchy types, yet none of them lead anything. They are the murdering crazies. Should a young lesbian couple find each other they will inevitably die.
But it’s not just about “being lesbian.” Plenty of early mysteries had lesbian detectives and almost all of them fell into two camps: Post-traumatic Lover Death Disorder or Early Signs of Dysfuntional Breakup Disease. Forget having a happy, functional, fun lesbian character who is perfectly capable of having friends and family and a life and a relationship without being surrounded by depression, drinking and murder. So I wrote a story. No one dies. The lesbian gets the girl, there’s crises of utterly normal proportions and every stays friends and lives happily ever after. Creepy, huh?
February 1, 2014 @ 7:18 pm
thank you for that clarification. I will now cheer your comment. 🙂
February 1, 2014 @ 7:21 pm
Last year at uni someone did a presentation on Lesbian literature down through the centuries. She said that, for a good portion of the 20th century, there were controls REQUIRING either unhappy endings or straight conversion at the end of Lesbian novels. I haven’t verified it myself but dayum, that woman did some research! I’m inclined to believe her.
February 1, 2014 @ 7:26 pm
Yeah! Paladin of Souls was much talked about as a book featuring an “older” woman, but Ista was still in the 35-45 range.
February 1, 2014 @ 8:47 pm
When I was reading Lois McMaster Bujold’s book The Paladin of Souls, it occurred to me that this was the first time I’d read a second-world fantasy book where the protagonist was a middle-aged woman. I was in my forties at the time, and was feeling a bit invisible and uninteresting, to put it mildly.
February 1, 2014 @ 8:56 pm
Yeah, I mentioned Paladin of Souls down thread in the context of adventure fantasy books with “middle aged” female protagonists being so rare. Women in their 60s and older are rarer still in all genres.
The one thing that bugged me about Curse of Chalion (which I loved overall) was that the protagonist was a broken middle-aged guy, and he ended up with a teen-aged girl as his love interest. She was a cool character, and the best friend of the teen-aged princess, so it made sense for her to be young. But I wish Bujold had aged her up a few years at least. The message that middle-aged men are interesting, but middle-aged women are over is pretty pervasive still.
As for older women? Sigh. They’re always someone’s grandmother.
February 1, 2014 @ 10:50 pm
There’s Beowulf Shaeffer from Larry Niven’s Known Space stories. It doesn’t get mentioned much, except as a small plot point when Earth’s paternalistic Government doesn’t let him have kids. He has to wear contact lenses most places, and takes melanin pills to avoid sunburn so there isn’t a magical cure going on. He’s a highly competent space pilot, explorer and mystery solver so his portrayal is very positive.
February 1, 2014 @ 10:55 pm
Okay, that’s strange. This was supposed to be in reply to Nalini Haynes’ albino comment.
February 1, 2014 @ 11:38 pm
I’m following comments so I read it anyways, thanks 🙂
February 1, 2014 @ 11:52 pm
On my LiveJournal, I had a few blog entries in a series called “Pinoys in Pop Culture” where I explored how I felt about how people of Filipino descent were treated in fiction. I had always planned on doing an entry about Johnny Rico in “Starship Troopers,” is that the kind of thing you’re looking for?
February 2, 2014 @ 1:31 am
Chronic illness in a book makes me instantly think of DragonLance and Raistlin.
February 2, 2014 @ 6:05 am
I’ve actually thought of another. Commander Brynd in Mark Charan Newton’s Legends of the Red Sun books (starts with Nights of Villjamur). He’s albino and, as you guessed, kinda outcast for it (but more because he’s gay, I reckon). But again, really good series. And it has a trans* character in later books.
February 2, 2014 @ 10:49 am
I propose a game: pick up an SFF novel and copy the descriptions of the first five men and the first five women who occur in it.
Here’s an example, taken from a book I love, from a series I love: Jim Butcher’s Storm Front.
1. “The new mailman…looked like a basketball with arms and legs and a sunburned, balding head….”
2. [the narrator] I am tall and lean..I have dark hair and dark eyes…my features are all lean and angular, with a hawkish nose and a sharp chin.”
3. “He was short and overweight and balding, with beady, bloodshot eyes and a weak chin.”
4. [murder victim] “a lean and powerfully built man” “probably in his forties, and had the kind of fitness that comes from a lifetime of conditioning. There was a tattoo on his right biceps, a winged dagger, that the pull of the satin sheets half concealed. There were scars on his knuckles, layers deep, and across his lower abdomen was a vicious, narrow, puckered scar”
5. “He had bright red hair and a thick neck. His face looked like someone had smashed it flat with a board, repeatedly, when he was a baby–except for his jutting eyebrows. He had narrow little blue eyes that got narrower as I sized him up.”
1. “…she’s short and stocky…she’s got Shirley Temple blond locks and baby blues…her [features] are round and smooth, with the kind of cute nose you’d expect on a cheerleader….I suspected she’d have muscular, well-shaped legs, like a gymnast. She was built for function…..Her hair was cut at shoulder length….She looked more like a favorite aunt or a cheerful mother than a hard-bitten homicide detective.” Later, she smiles, “making her look entirely too pretty to be such a hard-ass.”
2. [murder victim] “back bowed like a dancer’s, the curves of her breasts making a lovely outline”…”in her twenties, in fabulous condition. She had hair the color of chestnuts, cut in a pageboy style, and it seemed dyed to me. Her eyes were only partly open and I couldn’t quite guess at their color beyond not-dark. Vaguely green?”
3. “She was a good-looking woman, in her mid-thirtysomethings. Ash blond hair that I thought must be natural….Her makeup was tasteful and well applied, and her face was fair, friendly, with enough roundness of cheek to look fresh-faced and young, enough fulness of mouth to look very feminine.”
4. “She was a woman of average height and striking, dark beauty…Her dark, straight hair was trimmed in a neat cut that ended at the nape of her neck and was parted off of the dark skin of her forehead, emphasizing the lazy appeal of her dark eyes.”
5. [this character is nonhuman and her appearance is at least in part illusory]: “Her hair was a burnished shade of auburn that was too dark to cast back any ruddy highlights, but did anyway. Her eyes were dark, clear, her complexion flawlessly smooth and elegantly graced with cosmetics. She was not a tall woman, but shapely…She looked too good to be true.”
By the time the fifth woman is introduced, we’ve met at least 11 men. OTOH, there are probably quite a few books that don’t have five female characters.
I’d like to emphasize that Butcher is one of my favorite authors, whose women are emphatically PEOPLE rather than set-dressing or plot counters. But the women in the series are almost universally beautiful, and this is definitely not true of the men.
February 2, 2014 @ 11:00 am
I’ve heard this as well and I can’t remember exactly where I read it, but there’s one novel which was groundbreaking in which it was lesbian fiction, and the lesbians were *allowed* to have a somewhat happy ending where there was a chance that in the future they’d be able to get back together! And this was written in the ’50s. Anyone know which book I’m talking about?
February 2, 2014 @ 11:56 am
I hope then that you’ll like the Urban Fantasy series written by JA Pitts which features a lesbian protagonist who is a blacksmith and a dragonslayer. My only problem with the book was the dangerous Asian woman trope who is the only WoC in the book (bringing the term “dragonlady ” a new meaning.) But if you can get past that, the writerat least got a few things right.
Ms. Haynes : Do you mean the “tragic gay person ” in movies? They either had to die, be thoroughly unhappy and depressed about “their condition “, or convert to happy heterosexuality by the end of the movie. I didn’t know this was also a thing about lesbians in books too.
Ctr : I want to point everyone in the direction of two of my favorite authors of Color : Jewelle Gomez who wrote The Hilda Stories about a black lesbian vampire traveling through time and just about any one of Octavia Butler’s science fiction books. The last book she wrote was a take on the vampire trope titled Fledgling. (Please read reviews before picking it up as there may be triggers in it for some people.)
February 2, 2014 @ 11:58 am
My apologies for the typo : I meant Jewelle Gomez “Gilda Stories “.
February 2, 2014 @ 12:09 pm
Oh this was something I noticed in TV a long time ago. But mostly as regards dress. There’s not a single woman on TV, no matter their job or age or the situations they find themselves in from High School to the Zombie apocalypse who dresses like a real world woman. Women on tv wear makeup all day, everyday and even sleep in it. Their clothes (their blouses and sweaters) are always just a little too tight and (this is especially prevalent in movies) they wear heels, even in jobs where women absolutley do not wear heels, like waitressing -we’re looking at you Mary Jane Watson.
Ive rarely paid attention to it in books but now that you mention it…
February 2, 2014 @ 12:17 pm
Thanks – I’ll have to look into those.
February 2, 2014 @ 12:52 pm
My son is, what is the best term, disabled? I dislike that one, but there’s no doubt he’ll have a harder life than his peers. His diagnosis sways between one end of the autism spectrum and a form of ADD. It turns out there’s a lot of overlap in symptoms and behavior.
So, what I don’t see a lot of – books with parents trying to raise different children. Maybe they are out there. The only one that comes to mind is one of The Edge books by Ilona Andrews. It has a character Lark with some mental illness issues that touch lightly in this area. I re-read it recently and could connect with the lead character’s pain at being unable to reach her sister.
It seems like a void in this area.
February 2, 2014 @ 4:23 pm
My friend Trisha Woolridge has a new book, The Kelpie, out. The main character’s father has bipolar disorder and her brother is on the autistic spectrum. I should let Trisha know about this call.
February 2, 2014 @ 7:30 pm
Try the Tanyth Fairport series by Nathan Lowell. She’s an older woman protagonist. I don’t believe her age is ever stated in years, but given her history, she has to be at least 57 or 58, probably a bit older than that. It’s fantasy, a riff on the young guy goes out on a quest trope. I enjoyed them very much, and not just because I am coming up on 60 myself.
As for Ista, she has a daughter who is in her 20s, so she’s at least 40, probably a bit older. While she’s not over 60, she was still a refreshing change. Middle aged women are in as much need of more representation as protagonists as old women.
February 2, 2014 @ 8:25 pm
I read this post yesterday, and I thought then that I wasn’t going to respond. After reading further into a novel today, I have to speak up. I’m sick to death of not being able to identify with female characters in spec.
I know why it happens, but I’m sick of it anyway. I’m tired of worlds that have patriarchies (oh big reach there, must be tough to imagine a world where men dominate). I’m tired of male authors who other their female characters, obviously switching gears to “think like a woman” instead of like a person. And I’m about to go postal over the easy trope that rape has become. It’s the lazy way to add rough backstory or show how heinous a villain is. It’s to the point that an author can hardly add it even where it would make sense.
I’ll volunteer to write that, though I’d just be happy to see it addressed at all. Or any of the above points, for that matter (I’m especially intrigued by the subject of albinos in fiction, of which I have admittedly zero knowledge). Though Jim, I’ll warn you, I would drag Libriomancer into it because of the dryad from Gor thing, and the three-way at the end.
On the plus side, I very much appreciate that you’re creating this opportunity. I’m eager to see what comes of it.
February 2, 2014 @ 9:56 pm
JJ – have you read Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s Liaden Universe books? They have a non-patriarchal (although very rigid and hierarchical) society and both women and men fill all roles – from leadership on down, warrior and healer. And I don’t remember any rape scenes in any of their books.
February 2, 2014 @ 10:12 pm
Mgwa, I haven’t, and thanks for the recc. I’ll definitely check that out.
I feel the need to clarify that I know there’s spec that doesn’t fall into the faults that I listed. But so much of it still does that I don’t believe for a second that we’ve achieved any sort of equality in our genre. Not on any level really, race, gender, or ability. Perhaps it’s not fair for me to want to hold spec to a higher standard. But if we can’t visualize where we should be going, how can we expect anyone else to, or ever hope that our real society can ever get there?
[turns soapbox back over again and goes to find Liaden Universe books online ;)]
February 2, 2014 @ 10:51 pm
I hear you!
February 3, 2014 @ 12:23 am
One of my favorite book series is the Monster Hunter International books the main character Owen is very tall like me and he talks about what its like being bigger than every one there is even parts were he can’t find clothes in his size or there is only one kind of shirt with the right number of xs. Later in one of the books he talks about being overweight as a kid and how it still affects him. It was so cool reading it think wow me and this person have some of the same problems.
February 3, 2014 @ 6:05 am
The presentation at uni was solely about literature not movies, but that same trope, yes.
February 3, 2014 @ 6:09 am
Kathy Lette wrote “The Boy who Fell to Earth”; her son has autism so it makes the mother/son focus of this novel even more realistic and poignant although you need to get through the first portion that feels like a hyper standup comedian cracking jokes to get it all out there – all the hurt and all the pain. The book has heart so it’s worth persevering.
February 3, 2014 @ 7:17 am
Thanks, for your comment. I just learned that my own world view is still rather limited it seems. I’ve never really thought about the representation of Albinos in the media. I will have to read up on that. Thanks again.
February 3, 2014 @ 1:31 pm
The Jaran books are like soothing music to my brain, where they have plenty of assigned gender roles but not based in patriarchy and people don’t act like the world has ended when someone breaks from those roles. I have the same issue you do, finding patriarchy-as-default to be so unoriginal and lazy when you are creating an entirely new world/culture/species, and honestly it goes unexamined so often. Ursula Le Guin’s books generally don’t default to that as well. Still, it bothers me that I can only think of a couple off the top of my head, and one is more sci-fi than spec fic.
February 3, 2014 @ 5:24 pm
One of the things that strikes me about representation in fiction, thinking about it, is how often I’m willing to settle for over tiny bits of representation, even when it’s subtext instead of text, and even feel grateful when a book/movie/tv show just avoids specifically closing off the possibility of characters being gay or lesbian (by not giving them an opposite-gender love interest, for example), because there are so few LGB characters out there that even the tiniest of crumbs is welcome. I was thrilled to have Elsa to identify with in Frozen for example, because OMG Disney Princess with no boyfriend whose character arc mimics being closeted! I wanted to cheer when I read the Dante Valentine series and the female protag turned out to have had a female lover in the past despite the fact that it was just a handful of references and one or two brief flashback scenes with the rest of the five book series devoted to hetero relationships. I felt personally betrayed by the ending of Robin Hobb’s Fitz and Fool novels despite knowing how silly that is, because it felt like the author was deliberately spitting in the face of LGBT readers.
It makes me extra grateful for things like Malinda Lo’s Ash and Huntress, Melissa Scott & Lisa Barnett and Laurie J. Marks’s novels, comic books like Runaways and The Authority (even with Frank Quitely’s ugly art!), and your Princess books. I rarely get to see relationships like mine in SF/F unless it’s written by LGBT authors, and Snow & Talia are a rare exception.
February 3, 2014 @ 10:45 pm
I’ve never seen anyone in media that looked like me. Quasimodo commits suicide. Sloth is mute. And they don’t really look like me anyway. Not only am I invisible but if Hollywood does see someone like me they see a monster.
February 4, 2014 @ 12:45 am
I once had a long male gaze/female gaze conversation with other fans (not all male,)who were complaining about contemporary fantasy novels with women protagonists being all too sexually charged because the women noticed male butts, faces, build, that they were attractive to them or not (the usual insistence that this means the female author is only focused on romance and sex.) And that numerous males were attracted to them, considered unrealistic and problematic. And Butcher was brought up as the opposite who didn’t do such a thing. I countered with the fact that Butcher and other male authors did in fact describe in loving detail the body of each female they encounter, noticing their hair, eyes, breasts, build, butts, legs, etc., and how sexually attractive the women are to them — the exact same thing, but because the male gaze is the default, this is seen as normal and not uncomfortable at all and not an unhealthy focus on romance and sex. Harry has females constantly sexually attracted to him, but this is not seen as unrealistic or a problem. Butcher has Dresden have all sorts of romantic encounters, fall in love, have a kid, get a new girlfriend, and so forth, and all this is seen as normal, subplots supporting the main plots and not a problem. But the women are obviously, if they notice a guy has nice eyes, only interested in sex and romance, and that plot about stopping the war between vampires and werewolves or preventing a sorcerer from destroying the world — that’s clearly just filler.
Lena is a great character that Jim created. He does the balancing act with her very well. But the reality is that some of the stuff he can do with her and descriptions he gives of her he gets to do without much complaint because he’s a male author. A female author would get a lot more guff for it.
February 5, 2014 @ 9:50 am
The “doomed, unstable lesbian” trope has puzzled me for years, since most of the lesbians I actually know are notably cheerful and level-headed.
February 5, 2014 @ 9:58 am
Well, the Provincara was not a dull character. And, as noted earlier, in the next book we got Ista, who is even older then Cazaril.
Cordela Naismith / Vorkosigan is over thirty in her books, but I grant you that for a Betan it probably is not exactly a middle-age ;-).
I think the problem is not in an age as such but in thinking that “married characters (or worse, PARENTS) can not have adventures”. Also, we all know that any woman over forty who is not married / has no children is a looser, and nobody wants to read about loosers, right?
February 5, 2014 @ 10:27 am
It’s hard to find examples even of strong female characters in late middle-age.
Some of the Doctor Who audio plays co-star Maggie Stables as “Evelyn Smythe”, a 55-year-old history professor. She doesn’t take any crap from the Doctor, is more disposed to exploring than to screaming and running away, and unlike most companions is capable of REALLY appreciating a time machine. (The character was introduced some 14 years before the actual TV show broke new ground by casting a /40/-year old companion…)
One main character in Scott Lynch’s “Red Seas under Red Skies” is a middle-aged female pirate captain with two children. I remember running into some online argle-blargle about how this is unrealistic and a travesty…. to which someone replied with a list of real-life historical pirate queens.
In Gwyneth Jones’ “Spirit”, Lady Nef is a wise, compassionate and tough-as-nails aristocrat with an extended life-span and an alien lover. She’s probably about 100, but, yeah, artificially youthful-looking.
February 5, 2014 @ 10:39 am
One male author I like for accepting the “female gaze” as real is Jack McDevitt, in his “Alex Benedict” SF detective novels. Chase, the narrator, is ALWAYS checking out the guys, with no damage to her professionalism.
February 5, 2014 @ 4:56 pm
The problem is, though, that when it’s a male writer writing a female pov character and giving her the “female gaze,” it’s more accepted as okay and not indicating the story is a romance, under the belief that guys don’t write romance (which is incorrect.) When it’s a woman writer writing a female pov character and giving her the exact same female gaze, it’s considered by many to be an uncomfortable focus on male bodies, sex and romance, with those being more important than say a suspense plot, under the assumption that this is the woman writer’s first interest. The bias is not just for the female gaze, but also about female writers. That’s why I was saying that Jim can get away with a lot of things in doing Lena and her pov that a female author would get dismissed or complained about for doing with a similar female character.
February 10, 2014 @ 1:16 pm
Two of my favorite fantasy authors have strong lesbian and gay characters and I began reading them 20 years ago. Gael Baudino’s Gossamer Axe has wonderful lesbian main and secondary characters. Several of Mercedes Lackey’s books have well done gay and lesbian characters. I appreciate the diversity that these authors write with and have always felt that it made fantasy books more real and relatable. If only more writers would use it.
February 17, 2014 @ 1:08 pm
such spam! so grammar! wow
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February 24, 2014 @ 2:10 pm
[…] few weeks ago, fantasy author Jim C. Hines put out a call for guest bloggers to submit article ideas for a series on diversity and representation in science fiction/fantasy (SF/F), and today, my entry […]
“Aging children, I am one”* | M. Fenn
February 28, 2014 @ 9:17 am
[…] Hines’ call for guest blogs about representation in fiction got me thinking. And the folks who have posted over there since have kept the thoughts coming. […]