First Cup of Coffee – November 3, 2019

On yesterday’s podcast, First Cup of Coffee – November 2, 2019, I talked about building up daily wordcount gradually. So I’ve resurrected a previous post that gives a suggested strategy for hitting that 50K in November NaNoWriMo goal. Come on over to the SFF Seven to read about it!

THE FATE OF THE TALA has a cover!

 

Coming December 15, 2019! Preorder here

An Uneasy Marriage,
An Unholy Alliance.

The tales tell of three sisters, daughters of the high king. The eldest, a valiant warrior-woman, conquered her inner demons to become the high queen. The youngest, and most beautiful outlived her Prince Charming and found a strength beyond surface loveliness.

And the other one, Andi? The introverted, awkward middle princess is now the Sorceress Queen, Andromeda—and she stands at the precipice of a devastating war.

As the undead powers of Deyrr gather their forces, their High Priestess focuses on Andi, undermining her at every turn. At the magical barrier that protects the Thirteen Kingdoms from annihilation, the massive Dasnarian navy assembles, ready to pounce the moment Andi’s strength fails. And, though her sisters and friends gather around her, Andi finds that her husband, Rayfe, plagued with fears over her pregnancy, has withdrawn, growing ever more distant.

Fighting battles on too many fronts, Andi can’t afford to weaken, as she’s all that stands between all that’s good in the world and purest evil.

For Andi, the time to grow into her true power has come. . .

Is Fantasy Inherently Conservative?

So, I’ve mentioned on my podcast, First Cup of Coffee, that I like listening to L. Penelope’s podcast, My Imaginary Friends. (Our podcasts are also part of the Frolic Podcast Network, but we listened to each other before that.) On this week’s episode, Making an Impact, she talks about her experiences on panels at a recent convention. I tell you, folks, I was gaping at the speakers when she said the other panelists had said that the Fantasy genre is inherently politically conservative – and no one challenged it.

People: I SO want to challenge this assertion!

Apparently the thought process is that Fantasy often involves the trope of restoring the One True Thing in some sense. Defeating the Big Bad to restore the Time Before. The Chosen One appearing to usher in a time of peace and plenty. The recovery of magic or something else that has been lost.

I’m sure you all can recognize these themes.

First of all, I want to point out that this is a pretty narrow conception of what the Fantasy genre encompasses. I mean, yes, there are people who equate “Fantasy” with “Tolkien.” People have said exactly this to me. Never mind that Tolkien was writing a hundred years ago, so that’s akin to saying they equate Science Fiction with Fritz Leiber, Jr. and Isaac Asimov. Sure, all of these authors made substantial contributions to the SFF genres, but there’s been movement since then.

A lot of the time, when people say “Fantasy,” they do mean Tolkienesque epic fantasy  – including all those writers who’ve followed that path. It’s a grand tradition, but it’s not the only tradition. The writers who keep to that fairly narrow interpretation of fantasy, who write only pastoral, non-tech, peaceful-farmers-are-pure-of-heart tales might be conservative. I dunno. I think the writer brings their values to the story, regardless of genre.

Fantasy is a broad genre with many themes. There are a LOT of people writing it who very much do not have conservative values.

Second, I don’t think there’s ANYTHING inherently politically conservative about the concept of creating peace and plenty, of overthrowing an oppressor. Our current political situation speaks to that. The avowed conservatives in power may give lip service to “family values” and “making things great AGAIN,” but a totalitarian government is exactly that – and resisting can be an act of rebellion. Fantasy absolutely takes on these themes. For example, my Forgotten Empires books (see? even the series title speaks to something lost) tell of people laboring under an oppressive empire. They rebel, eventually and in their own ways, but that recovery of what’s been lost is hardly an expression of conservative values. Those are radical and dangerous choices. And, yes, those stories are absolutely part of my personal response to an authoritarian government that serves only the rich – and part of my resistance to that.

I’d argue that the best Fantasy takes on sweeping political change.

There’s a lot more to the enormous and varied Fantasy genre than Tolkien and farm boys called to be the Chosen One. Let’s make some noise about it.

Gravedigging: a Peek at Something No One Has Ever Seen

It’s laundry day here, and Jackson takes laundry VERY seriously.

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is Gravedigging: Share Something Great from a Dead Project.

While intriguing, this is also a tall order. I mean, for me, very few (if any?) projects are truly dead. Though I suppose zombie works also qualify for this spooky theme. Also, if there’s something Great in it, then the projects is almost certainly not dead. The truly dead projects are those that have nothing redeemable in them.

Also, this topic seriously took me down a rabbit hole of looking at old fragments of stories and various projects that languished for one reason or another – some going back twenty-five years to when I was first rooting around and finding my voice as a writer.

But here’s a little something that’s kind of been hanging around in the Undead Files. I wrote it down in part to capture a certain feel. It came from a dream when I was immersed in other projects and couldn’t devote time to this. Turns out that was ten years ago! I could’ve sworn it was only a couple. Alas.

Anyway, it’s rough – the names are placeholders – but I still see the shine in it. Come on over to read it.