Is there a Rule of Three in SFF?

Somebody in my Twitter feed linked this today, which I’d never seen before. Some insightful commentary from the late Dwayne McDuffie, a kickass comic book writer and trailblazer within that genre, talking about the Rule of Three. No, not this one; something else: Which got me thinking, of course. I’ve said before that most of the criticism I get as a writer is perfectly thoughtful, interesting stuff, which is doubtless helpful to those who are trying to decide whether to buy my books or read my stories. But I’ve seen a very few reader responses that, IMO, crossed the line […]

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My job is to break your heart.

Was listening to this great interview with Patrick Rothfuss over at The Sword and Laser, which Cy pointed out to me in the comments of another post (thanks, Cy!). Patrick gives me a nice shout-out, but I was more intrigued by something he says starting at about the 27:00 mark in the podcast (apologies for any inaccuracies in the transcription; I’m not a professional at this): It’s very flattering when people get so involved with the work, but it’s terrifying too, because then people come in and they go, “I love your work, I’m sure that you won’t do this

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Brilliance from Hal Duncan

The status quo is segregation. It’s a state of segregation in which black, queer and members of other abject groups are not deemed to belong as main characters. This is the segregation of not being able to sit at the front of the bus. They may be allowed in as an exception if it “serves the plot” (c.f. your reviewer’s expectation of a *reason* for the character’s gayness.) This is the segregation of being stopped in a white neighbourhod and challenged on your purpose in being there. They may be allowed in as Gay Best Friends or Magic Negros in

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Epic Fantasy Defined, again (at Black Gate)

Huh. Saw this interesting post over at Black Gate’s blog. I agree with some of it; that whole thing about a defined evil, for example, and the world-transforming scope. But I don’t agree with… well, the rest. Basically I think Surridge’s definition is too wedded to superficialities and not enough to content. The danger of defining an art form by superficialities is that it leaves no room for experimentation or growth. The boundaries become set by What Has Gone Before, rather than something more intrinsic. That’s the kind of thinking that allows some readers to believe that only men can

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What’s universal? An informal survey.

ETA: Time’s up! Comments closed. Will post summary/moar thinkythoughts soon, though prob’ly not ’til I’ve escaped Deadline Hell on Dreamblood revisions. This great post over at the Rejectionist on the African American fiction section in bookstores made the rounds on Twitter yesterday, so I’m signal-boosting it here. You might remember that this is a subject near and dear to my heart, as well as my career. In that post I mentioned that I would eventually get around to tackling the subject of universality. …But this is not that post. Because I need some data, first. This is not an attempt

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“Feminization” in epic fantasy?

I’ll start by positing an hypothesis (H0), and its logical alternative (H1): H0: Epic fantasy is dominated, if not by male authors, then by a “masculine” aestheticism, ethos, and structural focus (it’s “the hero’s journey”, not the heroine’s). And, as with other male-dominated bastions “threatened” by egalitarianism (a.k.a. feminism and femininity), it systematically defends this masculinity with great vigor. H1: Epic fantasy is already egalitarian in its aesthetics, ethos, and structure, and its domination by male authors is just a reflection of greater society. There is no reaction, positive or negative, against feminine encroachment. The more the merrier, we can

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What fantasy authors do in their spare time, part #354:

Talk about deep stuff. Like, why are there Chosen Ones, and why aren’t more of them jerks? In private email, got to conversing with Sam Sykes, a fellow debut fantasy author of Tome of the Undergates, about the whole concept of the Chosen One and the trope’s not-so-subtle inherent message that birth matters more than effort. He’s got the whole discussion up on his website, but here’s an excerpt from, well, myself: I mean, yeah, Chosen Ones are problematic as hell, and it’s creepy and depressing that the fantasy readership rewards this narrative with bestseller sales without seeming to question

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Comforting Futures, and Whether (or Why) We Should Avoid Them

Meant to post this yesterday, but was traveling for the weekend and got home exhausted. So this continues my one-year-long “tradition” of writing anti-oppression-related posts on MLK Day; it’s just late, sorry. I’m working on a dystopian short story right now. It’s tough going; those of you who follow me on Twitter have probably seen me whining about it, until fellow SFF writer Nnedi Okorafor told me to stop whining and write! So I’m writing. But one of the problems I’m having with this story is the fact that I keep pulling my punches. It’s set in the future, after

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Women, Warriors, and Gender Policing

I’ve avoided addressing this topic for awhile now, mostly because I think it’s the kind of subject that someone, somewhere, could write a book on. (Actually there are a few.) And since I’m busy writing fantasy books, I don’t have the time. Still, I’ve noticed that a lot of readers of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms have shown a persistent interest in Darr and its warrior women. I love this, by the way; it feels incredibly cool to have written something that gets people so engaged. But I’m also aware that it’s not necessarily my Darre, but the idea of a

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