Spears, Sorcery and Double-Consciousness- Part II

When the inspiration first came to me, to try my hand at writing fantasy outside of the usual medieval European framework, I knew exactly where I wanted to begin. I hadn’t read Charles Saunders. I thought for certain I was doing something new–a speculative fiction Jackie Robinson. I’d read enough fantasy to know the basics. I had to create a world, a setting distinct from the Eurocentric fantasy I’d grown up with. I chose Africa with hardly a second thought. Most fantasy works by white authors were set in some version of medieval Europe. Black people were from Africa–that’s what I was going with. Besides, I was no slouch on Africa. My parents had filled our house with books on African culture, art and history. I was taken to see African theater. I’d visited Africa at least once. Being a political junkie, I even felt it my responsibility to read African newspapers to keep up with what was going on. Heck, I listened to Fela! Sure, as the child of Caribbean immigrants, I was more than a few generations removed; but in my mind Africa was something always near–in my music, in celebrations like Carnival, in my fashion, my thoughts. So when I began creating worlds out of varied kingdoms, and scoured through the folklore and myths of diverse African cultures for magic systems, gods and monsters, I never thought of it as “appropriation.” Africa was mine. Wasn’t it?

Continue reading

!The Legend of Korra

I thought nothing could survive in the wake of the utter trainwreck that was The Last Airbender Movie (we’ll always have Lady in the Water Mr. Shyamalan, we’ll always, at least, have that), the good people at Nickelodeon are set to release a new tale set in our favorite world of Pan-Asian Mysticism, Steampunk and Element-Bending. Billed as the next generation in the tale, The Legend of Korra tells the story of a new Avatar heroine, who the press release describes as “a 17-year-old headstrong and rebellious girl who continually challenges and bucks tradition on her quest to become a fully realized Avatar in a world where benders are under attack.” The show will premiere April 14th on Nickelodeon at 11:00 a.m. EST. Get to DVR bending…

 

Continue reading