Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Warning Touchy Subject -- Racism
Okay, so I'm writing an alternate history story that starts in Australia in the 1820s, then veers off into a different time line. The cast consists of educated Europeans, escaped English convicts, Irish convicts, aboriginals and a half-caste girl.
(I do have a map Dave. This whole book grew out of a map!).
Just as we are products of our times, these characters are products of their times. Some of them are down right nasty and, even when they are well educated and good hearted, they are unaware of the depths of their racism.
If I made them 'new age' and aware, this would be anachronistic. (I'm one of these people who like historical stories to be accurate). During the course of the story some of these characters are going to grow and change. But at the start things are pretty grim and accurate, according to my research. The topic of my Masters Thesis was Persecution and Discrimination in Fantasy Novels, which meant I did a lot of research into persecution and discrimination in our real world.
I've been reading Joe Abercrombie's books and I think readers are willing to read more realistic fantasy stories. His books are set in a fantasy world that is based on Europe, but distanced because the names have been changed and things have been tweaked.
I'm just wondering if readers can identify with characters (from our real 1820 world) who don't act politically correct by our modern standards. My hope is that the story and characters are interesting enough to keep the readers reading.
Have you read anything in the fantasy or SF genres recently that explored persecution and discrimination? Do you think readers are ready for more realistic fantasy books?