It takes a true fan to really dig into all the terrible details of a thing. And as we’re all true fans of fantasy here, it’s important to talk about the parts of our genre that are just not working for us. So that’s what we’re going to do today.
Most of my issues with fantasy stories relate to one thing. A dramatic lack of diversity. This will kill any genre. But in worlds with such dramatic possibility, it seems particularly heinous.
Everyone has the same jobs
Everyone seems to be a farmer, or a smith, or a warrior or a member of the nobility. Usually, they’re one of the first two but secretly one of the seconds. There are peddlers aplenty and of course the occasional healer.
But people had other jobs! interesting jobs, too. People made candles, taught school, built shoes, ran shops. Can we please talk about some of those people, even if they’re not the main character?
Everyone uses the same sorts of world templates
I’m not the first person to voice this complaint, but I’m going to go ahead and voice it anyway. Most fantasy worlds are based in a very middle ages England or Norse style world. I used a similar set up myself in Woven, with Montelair being based heavily in Russia. Now and again you’ll see something from Asia.
Why not Africa? Why not Native Americans? What about the Middle East like I also did in Woven? It was fascinating enough I’m considering a whole new series just to explore it more.
Almost all dragons are western dragons
And maybe, just saying, we might see too many dragons in general. Not that I don’t freaking love dragons. But there are these things called drakes, and they are also pretty freaking cool. There are also basilisks and a hundred other mythological creatures that we never see. Brownies! Why aren’t there more books about brownies?
Few if any characters are gay
If someone knows otherwise, please let me know. If you know of any fantasy books besides mine that deal with homosexuality (especially if they’re written by own voice authors) please leave them in the comments below. I want to read them.
It’s rare to see any not straight character in any genre unless that’s what the whole book is about. I would love to see more stories about a person who happens to also be gay or bisexual.
Few if any characters are differently-abled
I have seen more dead characters than differently-abled ones in books.
Why? Do they not have stories to tell? Do they not have adventures or challenges to overcome? Why can’t we see people with more physical issues than the occasional pair of glasses?
So what do you think? What irritates you in the fantasy genre? Let us know in the comments below.