Ugh, the Diversity Discussion Again

Recently, author Mark Lawrence posted on his blog about reaching 30,000 ratings for his novel Prince of Thorns on Goodreads. First off, congratulations to Mr. Lawrence. I haven’t yet read his novels, but rest assured they are on my to be read list, especially after hearing all the constant praise for them in certain circles.

But, in his post he brought up a topic which is a bit of a hot button issue in the SFF community, and is sure to spark debate whenever mentioned, as it did today in a reddit post in the r/fantasy forum. In his post Mark brings up several examples of people criticizing Prince of Thorns for it’s lack of well written women characters. He brings up why there are a lack of such characters in this particular novel–it takes place in such a group where you just wouldn’t find women to be present.

I’ll agree with Mark on the criticism. It seems that most of it is just the case of people jumping on this recent bandwagon and using his novel as an example of The Big Bad Problem With The State Of SFF And Diversity. (I have no idea why I capitalized all of that.) And, personally, I think that sort of criticism does *nothing* to advance the real issue of diversity–all it does is create a bunch of pointing and yelling and back and forth, setting each side against one another instead of having a productive discussion.

And, I’ll also concede that Mark has a point. Perhaps, in his world, his story doesn’t take place where women would be present that much. And that’s not what he wanted to write about. I don’t think you need to have any particular kind of character either. It’s fantasy.

Right. Fantasy. So why default to men most of the time, even if it’s about a bunch of thugs and bandits? Can there not be a group of women thugs and bandits? Or a group of children thug and bandits?

The answer is always ‘well, in reality such and such would never be the case’. But, again, it’s fantasy. Not reality. Now, I’m not saying this is what Mark should have written about, of course it isn’t. I’m simply curious as to why it can’t be done. Or, if it has, where’s that story?

I don’t place blame on issues with the industry on the authors (although, I do really appreciate the authors that are writing more diverse characters and settings). No, the blame lies on the publishing companies, for picking the same sorts of stories over and over. And why do they pick them? Because they think that’s what sells and they probably have sales numbers somewhere proving what sells. (Remember folks, everything always comes back to money.) So, really, the blame also lies on the consumers. If you want to read more diverse books, BUY MORE DIVERSE BOOKS.

Finally, I’d like to say I don’t really care either way; I read books with mostly men, I read books with women, I read good books, I read crappy books, I read all sorts of books. I’m a woman and I’m not particularly offended by the lack of diversity in fantasy, although I will say it would be nice to have more of it, at the very least to make it more interesting to read once in a while.

I just get tired of hearing the same arguments over and over again of why we supposedly can’t have that diversity from some people. Because, honestly, I think most of those arguments are BS.

But, authors, please keep on writing what you want to write about. One day someone will come along and publish more diverse stories. Maybe even one with a group of women thugs and bandits. That would be kind of cool.

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Tor’s Standalone Fantasy Recs

A while back we dedicated an entire podcast to standalone fantasy novels. Why? I think standalone works are notable in a genre dominated by series. For one thing, standalone novels are great for introducing someone to the fantasy genre because they have far less commitment than a trilogy or an even longer series (Malazan and Wheel of Time–I’m looking at you.) I count some standalones as my favorite works in fantasy; I think it’s true that sometimes less is more.

Today, Tor published an article listing some great standalones. Check them out if you get a chance. A few we mentioned on our podcast, but there are others that we did not get a chance to bring up. It’s a great list, even if it does leave off The Princess Bride.

Do you have any favorite standalone fantasy works? Personally, I’m all about Good Omens. But, really there are so many to choose from, who can pick just one?

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The End. But Not Really.

It’s with mixed emotions that we are announcing today the discontinuation of our webzine. The final issue of Way too Fantasy webzine will be released at the end of October with content that has already submitted.

In the past year and a half, we’ve worked hard on putting together issues, editing content, and reaching out to others in the community to build this webzine up to where it’s been today. Unfortunately, we just no longer have the proper amount of time to commit to putting out the kind of quality issues we have in the past, and it would be unfair to slop something together on the fly. Therefore, for the time being at least, there are no further plans to put out any future issues of the webzine after our final issue is released at the end of this month. We may still post short fiction occasionally, but for now, the webzine is no more.

Now, all that being said, we are still planning on doing things here at the blog. Perhaps more webcasts and more articles–plans are in the works and more info will be coming shortly.

So, this isn’t really The End. Just a fresh start.

Posted in News and Announcements | 4 Comments

WtF a Broadcast #30 – Lisa & Jen’s Great Big Book Geek-Out – Podcast Version

On the webcast today we geek out about books, recent things we’ve bought and read, and awesome places we get books from. Enjoy!

As always, feel free to download a copy and listen to our cast on the go!

 

To download, right click this link and select ‘save link as’.

Panelists:

June Faramore
Lisa Richardson

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WtF a Broadcast Episode #30 – Lisa & Jen’s Great Big Book Geek-Out

On the webcast today we geek out about books, recent things we’ve bought and read, and awesome places we get books from. Enjoy!

Panelists:

June Faramore
Lisa Richardson

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Next Issue!!!

Hey all,

I know I said the next issue would be out today, but again other life commitments have gotten in the way. I’m working on trying to get it all together asap, should be done by the end of next week at the latest, but might be out before then. I’ll send out an announcement when I’m getting close to having it all done and ready.

In the meantime, enjoy another webacast/podcast from us, talking about books we’ve recently read–I’ll be posting that shortly.

Thanks!

 

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WtF a Broadcast #29 – Currently Reading and Book Hoarding – Podcast Version

On this episode of WtF, we talked about our massive book hoarding issues and some of the books we’re currently reading. Some of the things we talked about–Rothfuss, Sanderson, Martin. Book signings and randomness. The Book Thief. Tam Lin. The Lives of Tao. Outlander. The Ocean at the End of the Lane. A bunch of other stuff.

Enjoy our long ramblings about books.

As always, feel free to download a copy and listen to our cast on the go!

 

To download, right click this link and select ‘save link as’.

Panelists:

June Faramore
Lisa Richardson

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