Finally got a date for the PhD viva (only seven months after I submitted it). Soon, I will be a doctor of dragons and fairies!
So the follow up to The Book of Orm and The Book of Angels (what do you mean you haven’t read them yet, you fool?) is The Book of Dragons! It’ll contain much belching flame, fang and claw, not to mention magical realism, urban fantasy, epic fantasy and ye olde metaphysical fantasy. Tales from myself and other leading dragon authors like Joanne Hall, C. N. Lesley, Michael Bowman and more.
And here’s the gorgeous cover done by Charlotte Pang:
The short answer is ‘sort of’. Because SFF is genre fiction, it inherits and works through tropes and motifs from past works and sub-genres (many of which were implicitly partriarchal, heteronormative and based on the values of ‘white’ societies). In order to represent alternative viewpoints, therefore, modern SFF has to work very hard to subvert those past norms. Sometimes the subversion is successful but, often, the subversion goes unnoticed by the reader and the reader considers the book poorly written or unintentionally cliched. Tricky. Want to read about the subject in more depth? Then have a look at the new Luna Press collection of essays on the topic. I’ve got an essay in there (based on my PhD), and so have the likes of Juliet McKenna, Kim Laikin-Smith, and many more: https://www.lunapresspublishing.com/single-post/2017/04/01/Ten-Strong-Voices-Join-The-Luna-Family
Do you know your ‘high fantasy’ from your ‘epic fantasy’, ‘urban fantasy’, ‘sword and sorcery’, ‘steampunk’, ‘dystopian YA’, ‘dark fantasy’, ‘metaphysical fantasy’ and ‘grimdark fantasy’? Not sure of the definitions, leading authors and socio-history of each? Then you might like to read The Sub-genres of British Fantasy Literature, which I’ve just published with Luna Press Publishing. (It’s based on the PhD thesis I wrote for Huddersfield University, init.)
Hidden Figures is based on the true story of the black female mathematicians who worked at NASA during the 60s to enable manned space travel. These women were treated like a ‘secretary pool’, given a dress code and segregated toilets (a long way from where they actually worked). They also couldn’t use the communal coffee supply. They weren’t allowed to put their names on reports, even if all the work was theirs. Yet the racism within the NASA of the time was institutional rather than personally enforced. Watching the movie, we find most of the white characters likeable (if not admirable), making it hard for us to square that with our feelings about how the black women are treated. The film cleverly manages to weave race issues and social themes with the dramatic narrative about the US’s ‘space race’ with Russia. There are many levels of juxtaposition that make this movie so insightful that you can only be enlightened and enriched by watching it. There can be no doubt it’ll win multiple Oscars. It scores 9 out of 10 from me!
Happy to announce I’ll be giving a presentation on the sociohistory of fantasy sub-genres, doing a reading and engaging in a Q&A at the BFS York Pubmeet on Saturday 11 March 2017. There’ll be a raffle, give-aways, signed things and all that. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/2nd-2017-york-pubmeet-fantasy-sub-genres-sociohistory-and-a-j-dalton-tickets-31990617799?aff=es2