Open Thread Redux: The doom of this age or: Let this be the dawn of an epic fantasy era that has representation for everyone

(written by Lonespark, except for the title)

[Link to the music video of “Last Goodbye”, the song that marks the end of Cinematic Middle Earth.]

I love these books and these films. They were the soundtrack of my childhood. They helped bring me to my faith. They have shown me visions of magic and courage. They have made me so many wonderful friends. They have made memories for me with my family, my friends, my beloveds, old and new…

And I hope they are the end of an era. I hope we never again have to choose… to choose between epic fantasy awesome, and representation for everyone. We need awesome that embraces cultures and people from every corner of this badass, fantastic world.

Repeated because the final The Hobbit film has since come out.

[As a reminder, open thread prompts are meant to inspire conversation, not stifle it. Have no fear of going off topic for there is no off topic here.]

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19 thoughts on “Open Thread Redux: The doom of this age or: Let this be the dawn of an epic fantasy era that has representation for everyone

  1. lonespark42 January 7, 2015 at 9:08 am

    I requested this, but I think my thoughts about this turned into a post, sorry.

  2. froborr January 7, 2015 at 9:29 am

    I’m working on it. Well, my little corner of it, anyway. http://mlpomo.blogspot.com/2014/12/dragons-of-industry-minifesto.html

  3. lonespark42 January 7, 2015 at 10:31 am

    On balance, the movie is very awesome.
    (Spoilers to follow
    Vague spoilers though)

    There were so many many “Hell yes!!” moments. Chief among them Galdriel getting her High Elf Sorceress on all badass-like.

    Also WAR PIG. And Battle Sheep. And aerial bombing via shape-shifting bear.
    And just Dwarves. I love Dwarves.

    I meant to take my axe to the cinema but ran out without it.

    I was all weepy at the end with that song playing and the main cast credits.
    And then the last two credits are Lawrence Makaore and Manu Bennett. We never saw their faces. I don’t think there are any speaking roles for POC humans or humanoids in the whole double trilogy shebang, are there? Screw that.

  4. lonespark42 January 7, 2015 at 11:08 am

    There is a part of me that really needs a big-screen adaptation (animated would be great) of the Luthien story. Probably the Galadriel moments are the closest I’m going to get.

  5. Only Some Stardust January 7, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    I’m glad Galadriel got a wicked cool moment, she needed one. Would have been more bad-ass if it was a solo rescue effort, but oh well. I remember spotting a POC human in the River Town crowd, so that’s something.

    I definitely enjoyed the last movie the most, as it seemed to drag less than the other two did.

  6. lonespark42 January 8, 2015 at 8:57 am

    Yeah, it was like nonstop battle, interrupted only by suspenseful waiting.

    But WTF supposedly happens to Tauriel before LOTR?

  7. lonespark42 January 8, 2015 at 9:00 am

    There were def. POC in Laketown, and possibly more in flashback!Dale which makes ALL THE SENSE because it was a cosmopolitan type of place. But no speaking parts, nothing important, and there was no reason for that.

    Also, Gondor. Gondor should be fairly multicultural, shouldn’t it? Would they take in refugees from Rhun and Harad? Negotiate/trade/intermarry? I suddenly want ALL THE FANFICTION about this. (I recall Minas Tirith’s population being quite white, but I haven’t seen LOTR in a while…)

  8. christhecynic January 8, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    One of the things that the movie brought back to my mind is that, in forms of fiction I consume, fantasy races never really go to space.

    You never have people finding a drifting space ship, exploring it to see if anything can be salvaged, and realizing that the reason the rooms, doors, and halls are so damned huge is that it was designed to be used by dragons. You don’t see what dwarves do when they have modern technology to work with (think about what they can do with just medievalish blacksmith tools.)

    No great star faring elf societies. No orcs in space. No trolls. Groot is an Ent in space, but he’s all alone.

    Dragons never get nanotech armor. Mounting laser cannons on them simply isn’t done. Why is that?

    All of that is, of course, off topic.

    And apparently I walked away for, I’m going to say “Seven years”, before I got to the on topic stuff.

    One thing that I’m reasonably sure I did want to say is that not only are we lacking in representation of actual people, we’re lacking in representation of fantasy worlds. Tolkien an D&D have had an incredible influence on the fantasy settings we see represented. It would be nice if other traditions got their representation in. Of course the best way to do that would be to have the creators be from whatever culture the fantasy world draws its foundation from, which would mean more representation behind the scenes, which is sort of win-win.

  9. storiteller January 11, 2015 at 8:31 am

    I’m sure there are POC in high fantasy, but I myself am not a big fan of it, so I’m not super-familiar with what’s out there.

    Where I think you’re getting the most representation today is in magical realism, as it arose out of South America to begin with. I know I’ve recommended it up the wazoo, but Liar by Justine Larbalestier is fantastic. You’re seeing more and more in traditional SF as well, like John Scalzi’s Lock-In (protagonist, although ambiguous for much of the book), Hunger Games (major supporting character), and Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One (major supporting character).

  10. lonespark42 January 12, 2015 at 8:14 am

    Everyone keeps telling me to read Liar. So I should.

  11. lonespark42 January 12, 2015 at 8:22 am

    How could that be off-topic, Chris?

  12. alexseanchai January 12, 2015 at 9:16 am

    DAMMIT CHRIS. Now I want to write spacefaring elves and dragons.

    …which okay maybe I can leverage that into finishing the Firefly-esque Tam Lin?

  13. alexseanchai January 12, 2015 at 9:17 am

    Oh also I keep hearing people ought to read NK Jemisin and Nnedi Okorafor and what’s the other N one oh yeah Nalo Hopkinson. I have not, because I do not have time to read these days (bad me!), but I’m passing on the rec.

  14. lonespark42 January 12, 2015 at 10:38 am

    And don’t forget Alaya Dawn Johnson! And Nisi Shawl!

    You don’t even have time to read short stories? I might even be convinced to mail you my copy of So Long Been Dreaming: Post Colonial Science Fiction.

  15. lonespark42 January 12, 2015 at 10:53 am

    And we all need more Badass Rastafarians In Spaaaaace, so I give you Crystal Rain and Ragamuffin by Tobias Buckell.

    Look at this cover. How great is it? SO GREAT! http://www.amazon.com/Ragamuffin-Sci-Fi-Essential-Books/dp/B005Q62U3I

  16. alexseanchai January 12, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    Pretty sure I own So Long Been Dreaming. I just. Time reading is time stolen from obligations, you know?

  17. lonespark42 January 12, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    We have probably had this conversation before.
    I tend to read in the bathroom or on the bus. Short stories are perfect for that.

  18. Firedrake January 16, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    I can’t speak for the elves and dwarves, but dragons in space don’t need to be eggbound in some metal casing. Simply flying works much better. You didn’t think dragonflight was running off aerodynamics, did you?

    (On a writing level, it’s conservation of miracles – having fantasy races and consequent magic is an amazing thing in itself, having people in space is an amazing thing, and the more amazing things you have the harder it is for the reader to get a grasp of what’s going on.)

  19. Brenda A. January 26, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    Re: fantasy in space – It’s been a long time since I read it, but the YA Age of Magic trilogy by Tom McGowen involves a fantasy/ancient setting in which the various races must work together to signal the aliens that are going to destroy the planet, using beacons shaped like geometric symbols to show that there is intelligent life. I remember almost all of the dragons are killed trying to attack the spaceships in midair…

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