Bending the Landscape Fantasy Creat Nicola Griffith Stephen Pagel J K Po
Bending the Landscape: Fantasy Creat Nicola Griffith Stephen Pagel J.K. Potter Carolyn Ives Gilman Mark Shepherd Mark McLaughlin Mark W. Tiedemann Ellen Kushner am Book Nicola Griffith has won the Washington State Book Award, the Nebula Award, the James Tiptree, Jr Memorial Award, the World Fantasy Award, Premio Italia, and six Lambda Literary Awards She is also the co editor of the Bending the Landscape series of anthologies Her newest novel is Hild She lives in Seattle with her wife, writer Kelley Eskridge.Series Aud Torvingen. In the groundbreaking anthology, queer writers write fantasy for the first time, and genre writers explore queer characters But don t expect the usual fantasy backdrops these stories will give you a frisson, a thrill, as they fizz off the page They are extraordinary characters living outside the bounds of reality But you will recognize them It s about being gay, beinIn the groundbreaking anthology, queer writers write fantasy for the first time, and genre writers explore queer characters But don t expect the usual fantasy backdrops these stories will give you a frisson, a thrill, as they fizz off the page They are extraordinary characters living outside the bounds of reality But you will recognize them It s about being gay, being straight, falling in love, sorrowful partings, death, and fantastic circumstances Bending the Landscape stretches the standard fantasy genre.. Bestseller Ebook Bending the Landscape: Fantasy Extranormal?Recently I’ve been privileged to encounter some excellent tales about LGBTIQQ* characters. That is, the tales were excellent. In some cases, the authors’ notes gave me pause. One of these is Bending the Landscape: Fantasy, edited by Nicola Griffith and Stephen Pagel. The stories themselves are delightful. Many of them exercise that privilege of fantasy that is most welcome to me as a queer reader: the existence of a queer character is not the unusual part.Sadly, the editors undo that positive message in their introduction. Griffith and Pagel begin on solid ground by picking up Samuel Delaney’s definition of speculative fiction as containing “events that contravene reality” (p. 10). They go on to distinguish science fiction---events that haven’t happened [yet]---from fantastic fiction---”something in the story could not really have happened” (p. 10). They define this fantastic fiction as extranormal. “We know it’s impossible. That’s the point.” (p. 10).The editors assert the need for lesbian and gay characters to be seen in worlds where previously only “(presumed) heterosexuals” appeared: “We all need to see representations of ourselves in the world, whether that world is real or not.” (p. 10). I wholeheartedly agree, and it’s one of the reasons I love reading fantasy and SF by authors who’ve noticed this. I particularly enjoy it when the existence of queer characters is not the point. (Just one example: in Tanya Huff’s Sing the Four Quarters, the king has disowned his sister, not because she loves women, but because she declined a diplomatic alliance with a nice princess and went off to join the bards.) So thus far, these editors and I are on the same page. The next bit is where I take exception. “There is another reason why we put together queer characters and the fantasy genre. If part of the excitement of fantasy lies in violating reality, or the norm, then doing so twice---extranormal characters in extrareality---is doubly exciting.” (pp. 10-11). Oops. With this sentence, Griffith and Pagel undo everything they said in the prior paragraph. Queer people are not “extranormal” in the sense the editors have described. We really do happen. We happen around you every day. We are your coworkers, your teachers, your auto mechanic, your bus driver, your checker at the grocery, your friends, your cousins, your aunts and uncles, maybe even your parents, your spouse, your child, or yourself. We are not “extranormal”---but many of us are afraid to tell you.Queer characters belong in fantastic fiction because at its base, fantastic fiction is about the human experience. How will humans react in a situation? How will we deal? The excitement of finding queer characters in extrareal fiction, for me at least, is seeing myself and my community in the books that speculate about how everyone in the human community will deal.Speaking of dealing. Don’t toss this book out because of its three-page introduction. The stories are great. For the most part, they are only peripherally about gay men and lesbians**, and mostly about how humans handle extrareal situations---aliens, ghosts, visible magick---and real situations---love, heartbreak, discrimination, violence, unreasonable bosses.... What do you do when your long-time partner runs off to join the aliens, leaving you and the cat broken-hearted? How do you respond when your employer requires you to steal the icon of the Goddess of Luck, and the Goddess of Luck takes her natural revenge? What’s next after you take the 911 call from your lover, who’s 15 years dead? These are stories worth reading. Just keep in mind that they are about normal people in extrareal situations.Notes:* LGBTIQQ: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, questioning. I will now exercise my privilege as a member of the alphabet community to use the much more pronounceable and recently reclaimed word “queer”.** Despite the editors’ use of the word “queer” to describe this anthology, I haven’t, thus far, encountered any bisexual, trans, or intersex folks in these stories. I haven’t finished the book yet, though, and I also might excuse this particular aspect of narrow vision given the publication date: 1996.