Sketching Out States in Fantasy: Two Cases from Avlis

As promised here are two cases from Avlis of magic equipped societies. I will begin with a (moderately) short description of each state, then compare the place of magic and its political economy. This post is meant as a sketch, with further development and detail to be presented based on comments received. If there are…

The Political Economy of Low-Cost Extradimensional Energy

Reading through Taylor Martin’s excellent blog pointed me in the direction of a Dan Nexon post at the Duck of Minerva. Both Martin and Nexon have interesting takes on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire (a League contributor favorite), but it was a throwaway line by Nexon that caught my eye. …let’s not even…

A Wrinkle in Time

Austin Allen has a lovely post on Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time up at Big Think: L’Engle insisted that her novel be published as a children’s book, but she nearly gave up on finding anyone willing to do so. More than two dozen houses turned it down before Farrar, Straus & Giroux took a…

Fantasy and High Fantasy

Alyssa Rosenberg and Adam Serwer both have responses up to my post on fantasy and the Anglosphere. Adam correctly notes that what I’m writing about in particular is “high fantasy” – a sub-genre of fantasy more broadly. I admit to not making my argument as clearly as I should have. So let me point out…

Fantasy and the Anglosphere

When I published my fantasy piece in the Atlantic it was linked (reproduced?) by Richard Dawkins’ site and a number of the atheists in the commentariat had scathing things to say about fantasy literature. Apparently it is not enough that readers of fantasy do not, in fact, believe in their make-believe. Apparently the fact that dragons…

Fantasy Utopias

This old Sady Doyle post at The Awl helps me understand better where I think she’s coming from in regards to Martin’s work. After pointing out the many flaws with female-oriented fantasy, she writes: The fantasy of Girl World often feels like the feminist imagination taken to its most self-indulgent, hypocritical extremes. We stand for…

Alyssa Rosenberg on ‘A Game of Thrones’ and that Sady Doyle piece

Alyssa has the best response up yet to Sady Doyle’s critique of George R. R. Martin. I realize that we’ve done this to death over the past few days, but I do highly recommend you read Alyssa’s take, if only because it’s a good feminist critique of Sady’s position. A taste: A world where women…

Tits! Swords! Edginess!

(Editor’s note: Erik’s praise for “Game of Thrones” drew me out of semi-retirement. Bear with me) One of the problems with easing constraints on a creative medium is that creators are inevitably tempted to prove their boundary-pushing bona fides. Cable television has been widely hailed as this decade’s dominant cultural force, but I can think…

On Hobbits, Race, and Self-Contained Worlds

I come down closer to Jamelle Bouie’s side of the Hobbit argument than Adam Serwer’s. Jamelle argues that basically Tolkien’s story is one of the British Isles, and that the mythological backdrop of Middle-Earth is taken from Nordic and British myth. Therefore it makes sense to have light-skinned Hobbits. To draw from a brief conversation…

Charmed Life

I finished reading Diana Wynne Jones’s Charmed Life a few days ago. As far as young adult fantasy goes, it was quite good with more than a few unexpected twists. It wasn’t as funny as the other Chrestomanci novel I’ve read, Witch Week, but it was still very good. You can certainly see many of…

Dragonlance

“This book was one of my earliest introductions to fantasy and thus to the limits (or lack of limits) of the imagination. I read Dragonlance before I read Tolkien, and was just amazed by the bigness of the world. All I wanted for my tenth birthday was to swing my sword like Caramon, and get…