Saturday, November 01, 2014

Interview with George R.R. Martin

From an interview in the Wall Street Journal:
Your new book shows us countries in your fantasy world influenced by Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. In general, though, fantasy literature isn’t very diverse. Pretty much all the main characters in the TV version of “Game of Thrones” are white. Why is fantasy so monocultural?

It’s so monocultural because it’s mostly been written by white men. I’m a 66-year-old white man…. I do see evidence that that’s changing. If you look at the world science-fiction award, the Hugo, which is given every year, and the John W. Campbell award, which is an award that’s given every year at the world S.F. convention, more and more of them [award-winners] have been writers of different ethnic backgrounds, more women, women of color, women from other countries, of Indian descent, black writers like N.K. Jemisin and Nnedi Okorafor, Asian writers like Ken Liu …. If these books sell, publishers will publish more of them…. If they don’t succeed, though, and the books by the old white guys continue to succeed, then you’ll get more books by old white guys.
I mentioned the multicultural fantasy I wrote in the 1980s in a previous post. It's the one I've been proofing. One can write about people who are not identical to oneself. However, it's more stressful, especially if the people still exist. One is operating on someone else's turf.

The ultimate answer is to have more writers who are people of color, a term I really dislike. It sounds so clunky. More nonwhite writers. More writers from different cultures and different parts of the world.


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