Tuesday, September 25, 2012

American Fantasy and Science Fiction

Still more from facebook:
I just wrote a long post about writing outside one's own culture and then deleted it by accident. I think I will leave it gone. It was in response to a post on Hiromi Goto's blog, which Nisi Shawl linked to. Horomi was writing about the need for F & SF by and about people not in the dominent, white and European culture. The short form of my comment is: yes, indeed we do. Science fiction is about escaping from the here and now, but when it's good, it's based on reality and experience; and white experience is only a small part of human experience.

I rechecked Hiromi's blog and discovered I have read into it some of my pet dislikes. European elves in the US make me crazy. We have our own myths and magical creatures and should use them. Even given the question of how authentic they are, it seems to me that Paul Bunyan and Brer Rabbit say more to me as an American.

And then there are the kings and nobles in the European material that American writers borrow. This reminds me of a comment on another post of mine. It's a quote from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. "I didn't know we had a king, I thought we were an autonomous collective" Well, the US is not an autonomous collective, alas, but we don't have a traditional king or nobles. We have robber barons and governmental tzars. There is a difference. And our folklore tends to work on the level of small animals, working people and petty criminals. Brer Rabbit. John Henry. Paul Bunyan. Jesse James.


Blogger Foxessa said...

Oyez! Oyez!

O are elves in the New World vexatious!

Love, C.

7:13 AM  
Blogger Foxessa said...

However, B'rer Rabbit is a syncretized trickster from several African traditions; John the Conquerer -- many of our so-called native best figure did get here that way.

Which is why I've been declaiming for decades that the Matter of the USA is Africa -- as Arthur is the Matter of Britain.

Yesterday, while rehearsals were going on the studio lobby had a television going -- this is a music studio! The BBC1 was promoting its big documentary on India and a program on -- Merlin.

Love, c.

7:18 AM  

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