Monday, August 20, 2012

'African American' Fantasy Novels

Is it weird that I can tell what a story in this category will be about just by the setting?

  • If it's LA--gangs;
  • Georgia--slaves in the Civil War era;
  • Mississippi Delta--black people overcoming racism;
  • The Carolinas--interacial couple;
  • Lousiana--mulattoes mixed in with hoodoo and voodoo;
  • Africa (y'all know that's a big ole continent, right?)--tribespeople finding spiritualism.

Why is a genre with so few black authors already limited and stereotypical in what those authors do?

4 comments:

Zoap Soap said...

Good Morning Angela,
Interesting perspective. I'd be interested in having you read "The Adventures of De'Ante Johnson: The Obsidian Knight" and get your take on it, eh?

Angela S. said...

@Zoap Soap I'll have to see what's that about and let you know!

cozycommons said...

I know this reply is extremely late, but I still wanted to add my two cents to this post. I feel that a lot of authors are trying to appeal to their audience and not push boundaries with African Americans in the fantasy genre. Unfortunately, some authors may think that their audience won’t be interested stories like Chronicles of Narnia or The Hobbit written with a Black protagonist. I also think another reason why is because we don't see a lot of African Americans in settings like Tolkien, so a lot of people don't think about writing us in those settings. The presence of Black people in these epic fantasies is so small that many authors aren’t interested in writing stories like that nor does it cross their mind to write these types of stories. I feel that we should step outside of the box and write ourselves in these settings if only for the fact that the fantasy genre offers so many different possibilities to writers. In fantasy, even writing outside of the confines of our imagination is better than limiting ourselves to only what we can imagine.

Angela S. said...

@cozycommons Thank you for your thoughtful reply.

I agree with you wholeheartedly. I'd love to see black protagonists on other worlds and in other lands unhindered by Earth's history. Writers such as Ursula K. Le Guin already do this, but I would like to see how a black author would do this, too. I think it would be wonderful and refreshing to the genre. I hope to see black protagonists change fates, worlds, and destinies in epic fantasies in the future. Of course, I can't just sit back and wait for that to happen. If I see that there's a story that needs to be told, then that means that I probably should be telling it.