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
In the future, we have been genetically (re-)engineered to be less emotional (a bit like Vulcans, I suppose), since it is emotion that leads to war, etc. Expressing emotion (love, anger, etc) is a ‘crime’ and a sign that you have Switched On Syndrome (SOS). To avoid being sent to prison or hospital, those with feelings (like Kristen Stewart) have to discipline themselves not to show anything in public (earning themselves the name ‘hiders’). Anyway, Kristen (predictably enough) falls in love with a young chap and they cannot resist ‘coupling’ (would have been a much more interesting movie if it had been a young woman). They then have to go on the run to escape (aided by a support group).
‘Equals’, of course, nicks the premise of better scifi films like ‘Equilibrium’. Does Equals offer anything new? Kinda. It explores the interior pain and abuse that ‘sensitive’ people experience rather than looking to engage in big SFX and an action-based fight against the politics of a dystopian world. The sound track is brilliant – a transcendental white noise that is as much psychological as melodic. Equals, then, is a tender, sweet and contemplative little movie. Worth a look if you’re in that sort of mood. It scores 7.5 out of 10 from me (more than most of the nitwit critics out there have given it). So there.
If you’re reading this, you might do me the swiftest of favours. (You’ll win many soul-points.) To help my scifi novel Lifer get a book deal, just click this link and ‘nominate’. Painless.
Soooooo, my new publication (‘The Sub-genres of British Fantasy Literature’) is now available for pre-order. Form an orderly queue – no pushing or fighting. I knew I should have got some ogres and trolls in for crowd control. Then again they tend to eat too many of the customers.
The book is actually the PhD I wrote for Huddersfield University last year. In their wisdom, Luna Press Publishing decided they wanted to publish it.