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

Anthropomorphization

anthropomorphize: 1. To endow with human qualities. 2. To attribute human characteristics to something that is non-human. (from wiktionary)

I live with four cats who are a fundamental daily part of my life. I know I’m guilty of anthropomorphizing them sometimes, although I make a serious effort to understand them on their own terms, and it’s more often teasing than for real.

I’m the admin of a lolcats (and other lolanimals) site, which is heavy on the sincere animal lovers, but a deliberate part of the game involves reading human facial expressions, body language, motivation, thought processes, and/or other interpretation into photos of cats (and other animals). This is, however, a game, and many of the regulars are fascinated by the realities of animals.

Assuming, of course, that one isn’t writing something deliberately playing with the idea… as a writer, anthropomorphizing animals is simply unforgivable for multiple reasons. Read the rest of this entry