The Tattered Banner by Duncan M Hamilton tells the story of Soren, a young man living on the streets who, after a fight with a merchant, finds sponsorship from a wealthy aristocrat to learn sword fighting at the prestigious Academy, a ticket out of his old life and into a new life of fighting, diplomacy and politics.
The topic of diversity in sci-fi and fantasy has been making the rounds recently. They are genres dominated by white casts with maybe token non-white characters – and these usually male. It’s hardly inclusive. And that’s a problem.
Fantasy is a genre where anything can be possible. It’s a medium by which messages, challenges and debates that would otherwise cut too close to the bone can be addressed. So why do so many people claim that having a character with black or brown skin would be tokenism or unrealistic? Excluding groups of people from your cast on the basis of “realism” in a genre that is defined by its being set in a world that is not our own is just stupid.
It’s been reported recently that JK Rowling is to write a screenplay called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, based in the Harry Potter universe around the young wizard’s text book of the same name, and, presumably, the fictional text book author’s adventures in researching for it. You can read the book if you want – along with Quiddich Through the Ages, JK Rowling write it as a mini companion to raise money for charity Comic Relief.
With the second season of the Legend of Korra about to begin broadcasting, I thought it would be a good time to rewatch the first season to get up to speed ready for the new stuff. In November last year, I reviewed the series, and frankly I wasn’t too impressed with it at that time. Upon second viewing, though, I have come to re-evaluate my assessment.
Here I’ll go through my previous concerns and look at them again, and below that I’ll add new insights and feelings.
Be warned: this contains spoilers for Legend of Korra book 1 and Avatar: The Last Airbender.
I’ve written another article for fantasy writing website Mythic Scribes. It’s called Forests of Fantasyland, and it looks at why forests as a landscape are a staple in fantasy stories and worlds, from Middle Earth to Hogwarts. I hope you enjoy it.
Oh, and all the pictures bar the one with the unicorn were taken by me.
This morning Malala Yousafzai officially opened the new Library of Birmingham. The Library aims to “rewrite the book” for modern public libraries and offer “world-class facilities and resources” (see Mission Statement). It is the largest public lending library in Europe. I think it’s a stunning building, shining out golden across Birmingham with a façade made up of over 5,000 silver and black circles. The appearance has been a bit controversial, but I adore it.
I’ve been quite excited about this building. You see, I work for Carillion, the Main Contractor responsible for building the Library of Birmingham, and my job has involved keeping my department’s records up to date for completed and ongoing projects, including the Library of Birmingham. And since it’s been a flagship project for the company, I’ve been seeing a lot of info about the Library – and an awful lot of amazing photos.