Blog Archives

Writing Diversity

I’m very big on diversity in writing, particularly when it comes to fantasy and science-fiction.

Our dominant, mass-media-driven culture is keen on portraying “normal” (=”good and right”) in very restrictive terms. (I’ve talked about this elsewhere.) With humanity still struggling with our tragic history of hatred and bigotry and many of us trying our best to get past that (unfortunately, far too many seem quite content to wallow in it), value judgements disguised as entertainment only undermine the slow climb towards equality.

That said… “political correctness” kills creativity.

Before you lynch me or stop reading, please understand. I’m not advocating that you portray prejudice and bigotry and hatred and all the countless “isms” as good things. In fact, our job as writers is to challenge the “isms” and show what the alternatives can be. Writing should show and celebrate the amazing and endless variety that occurs within humanity – and explore what can lie outside of that, when we’re playing with the supernatural or extra-terrestrial or otherwise non-human. Read the rest of this entry

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Assumptions: Gender and Sex

Everyone has basic assumptions about the world around us. We have to; they’re a part of how we keep functioning.

When you’re writing, however, and especially if you’re writing speculative fiction of any sort (speculative fiction is an umbrella term for fantasy, science fiction, and anything else that doesn’t fit precisely into either but is nonetheless outside “normal reality”), it’s a good time to take a look at your own assumptions. Speculative fiction is, after all, about transgressing the normal rules. I’m not going to try to give specific instances of these, mainly because there are so many I’ve long since lost count and I’d rather not single out individual works from a long list.

A personal pet peeve is the assignment of gender to absolutely everything. Beings of kinds that have no sexual reproduction nonetheless are treated as intrinsically either males or females, no reason for this offered, and Western society being what it is, that tends to then colour everything else associated with that being. Read the rest of this entry