Diversity in Fantasy

Guild Of Dreams

by A.M. Justice

Over the past year or so, I’ve had several conversations about diversity—or the lack thereof—in fantasy. Opinions on this issue can be roughly divided into two camps:

  1. There’s a lack of diversity because authors “write what they know” and naturally create characters who resemble themselves
  2. There is plenty of diversity in fantasy; you just have to read the right authors

Diversity in fantasy falls along a spectrum.

Diversity

I love every series shown here, with the two on the ends vying for all-time favorite. Nevertheless, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings sits pretty far to the left on my scale: all the protagonists in LOTR are white and all but Eowyn are male. George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire and Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series fall in the middle of the spectrum. Both series include roughly equal numbers of male and female protagonists as well as supporting…

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Beta Reading

Guild Of Dreams

by A.M. Justice

Njal's sagaI’ve been beta reading lately. It’s a new experience for me—while the concept has probably been around since the penning of Njal’s Saga in the 13th Century—I never heard the term until a year ago, when I plunged into the indie author world. In times past, friends, agents, and editors might read a manuscript and provide feedback, but there was no formal name for the process. Beta reading is a beautiful term, describing exactly what it is: like a software beta tester, the beta reader is privileged to see a novel at its newly hatched stage. The code is finished but not tested, and it’s the beta reader’s job to find and flag the bugs in the novel. In fantasy and science fiction, the beta reader looks not only for plot holes and gaps in character development, but problems with the world building. Is it internally consistent?…

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