marina_bonomi: (argh)
...But definitely it wasn't The Hobbit.

I think T. nailed the feeling we were left with: 'It feels like a feature in a theme park'.
Part of it might have been the dubbing (foreign films are dubbed by default over here), for instance Saruman sounded like he had a somewhat loose denture, but most of the people in Rivendell felt contrived, I didn't see Elrond this time, I saw Hugo Weaving with pointed ears.

Also, the reason of my dislike aren't the details they got wrong (like Mirkwood getting the name just about then), those are minor details that would have done for a few hours of book browsing at home and 'Ah, but it wasn't like that', no it goes both deeper and about way simpler things, here are a few.
Comment with spoilers ahead )
  

 
If you are into roleplaying or fantasy art it's very likely you have at least heard of Larry Elmore, he is the one who did the famous D&D red box and set the tone for D&D art for years.
He is also a very personable and approachable guy, bot T. and I were stunned by his friendliness and down-to-earth attitude a few years ago when we met him at GenCon.

The news is that he is planning to do a full-color art book including most of his pieces, and is crowdfunding it through Kickstarter.
(it's already a few times above the set sum), it's good to see more and more established creatives taking the crowdfunded route.

(Crossposted to [livejournal.com profile] crowdfunding )
marina_bonomi: (book)
Some time ago I was in the mood for some light, fun reading, I happened across White Tiger by Kylie Chan, the blurb intrigued me, I went with the book and was hooked right from the start.

Let it be said immediately, it isn't a 'perfect' book (if such things even exist) there are moments in which I wish the editing had been tighter, sometimes the romance is a bit schmaltzy and the action feels a bit repetitive, but nothing of this mattered overmuch to this reader, because a whole lot of things felt absolutely right, and one of these is the outsider gaze of the main female character, Emma.

Wave in front of me a book, any book, set in China (in the wider sense, including Taiwan and Hong Kong) and I'll bite, but most of the time when those books are written by non-Chinese authors (mrs. Chan is not an ethnic Chinese) I end up throwing  them against the wall out of frustration (sometimes outright fury, thankfully those are few and far between) due to mistakes, misunderstandings, poor research, exoticizing, 'I want to show you how much research went into this' or anything in between. Not so with White Tiger and the other books in the series.

Emma, the female protagonist is an Australian expat living in Hong Kong, she works as a teacher in a kindergarten and, in her free time, as a nanny. In the same day she leaves her job and gets an offer from one of her private clients, a mr. John Chen, to become a live-in nanny for his daughter. John Chen isn't exactly what he seems and Emma finds herself catapulted in a world she didn't have an inkling about.

When I surfaced for air, having zoomed through White Tiger, Red Phoenix, and Blue Dragon I tried to find out what had me so enthralled in what basically is fantasy light reading, I found a few things.

The setting: as one could hope for, the author having lived there, Hong Kong comes alive in the trilogy, and not as the magical exotic city where magical things happen, Hong Kong here is  alive and concrete (pardon the pun), pollution and maddening traffic very much included.

The cast of characters is wide, but not exaggerated and they are, by and at large, well rounded.

The supernaturals in Hong Kong are mono-cultural (a nice change from the usual) and part of a whole system that is internally consistent and get explained little by little. 

The main thing, though, is Emma's gaze. She is a foreigner and an outsider, her closest friends are also foreigners (an American and an ethnic Chinese from Australia), at the beginning her relationship with the local people is just about work-only, she is adjusted, reads and researches but a lot of things go above her head while she has very present some matters that can directly impact her life ( the 'trophy Western worker' for instance as a way for a company to gain face),and this doesn't change all of a sudden  when she finds herself working for a shen (I'm trying not to spoil too much).

Some of the supernaturals like her from the beginning, some are very standoffish because they don't like the idea of a foreign woman in their midst and, in either case, when they talk and joke among themselves a lot of it is lost to Emma because she doesn't share either their cultural milieu or their common history. It is very well done, half a sentence there, a literary allusion buried in dialogue here, a joke that has somebody reacting strongly for no apparent reason someplace else, definitely not enough to bore a reader with no previous knowledge of Chinese myths (and the tasty morsels are explained in the author's note), but at the same time enough to give cultural dephth  to the whole and to startle this reader into delighted laughter more than once either because I got it or because I didn't and wanted to find out.

So, my compliments to mrs. Chan for the whole and, specifically, for using the outsider gaze as it should be used but too rarely is.

   
marina_bonomi: (book)
A post by one of my LJ friends ( [livejournal.com profile] la_marquise_de_, this time ), provides a lot of food for thought and sparks a post of mine. I count myself fortunate in my friends.

La marquise ponders on many things, one I feel strongly about is the matter of principles, rules, duty and sacrifice as portrayed in fantasy literature.

If one reads recent productions, by and at large it feels that we are in the age of the anti-hero, the sheer number of books with vampire main characters, for instance, seems indicative to me. Not considering the popularity of the ultimate predator as hero, though, even normal human 'heroes' seem to be mostly loners who live by their own rules, disregarding those of the society around them as arbitrary or just irrelevant, 'I do what I like and I don't give a ****' people.

I understand the idea of cycles in history and literature, I understand growing tired of 'clichèes' and going for something else (even though at times I think some people don't get the difference between a clichè and an archetype), but when I read over and over again on authors' and readers' forums that 'evil characters are more fun' or that 'goody-two-shoes are boring' I start to worry.

Let me say it loud: if a good character is boring it is because it is written badly.

I see  this idea that being good is effortless and a good character is also perfect, we all should know enough, by simply living and dealing with people around us, to realise that it is an idiocy : being good, being decent, takes effort. The tentation of shortcuts, the tentation of 'but no one is looking, no one will know' is always there, should be always there. Rules chafe, even though one recognizes the need and embraces them willingly, doubts creep in, hard choices need to be made, the dark night of the soul can threaten even the most devout and committed of paladins (or rather particularly the most devout).

One of my favorite characters (non-fantasy, but the reasononig is the same) is Brother Cadfael, the benedictine sleuth created by Ellis Peters. None who is aquainted with him can doubt that Cadfael is a good man, but he is also a complex character.
Cadfael is a Welsh monk living in an English abbey on the border between the two countries, he has taken the cowl in his fifties after a rather adventurous life, with both eyes well open and loves the life he has chosen, warts and all. With all that, he often comes in contact with different grades and shades of evil and at times has to choose, as he puts it, between obeying the rules or The Rule, but in no case is this  a travesty for 'do whatever I like' .

In the last book of the Chronicles, Cadfael comes to know that his natural son is being held prisoner, and he leaves the abbey against the wishes of his abbot to do what he feels is his superior duty towards a son he didn't know he had, knowing fully well that he might have thrown away his chosen life  with that decision. The book closes with Cadfael prostrated in front of the altar of Saint Winifred, in the abbey's church. The reader is left hoping that the errant sheep will be welcomed back, but we don't know, and neither does Cadfael.

Here are the two themes that [livejournal.com profile] la_marquise_de_ (rightly, in my opinion), feels are lacking in most contemporary fantasy : duty and sacrifice, the idea that there are things worth doing, no matter the cost to oneself; the idea that my own convenience could and should take a distant second place to something else because that is the right thing, the idea that someone might choose to lay down their life, with no resurrection spell or last-minute rescue, because that is how it should be.

That is, I think, the main reason why I loved, and still love, The Wheel of Time saga (I haven't read the latest books yet), because, no matter how derivative the first book might be, or what the holes in the world-building are, or how in need of a tighter editing that huge beast was, the themes of sacrifice, choice, lesser evil, and duty, embraced, freely chosen or shouldered from what appears to be chance ('why me?') are constant threads giving meaning to the whole, that, for this reader, covers a moltitude of literary sins.

It goes without saying that I highly recommend [livejournal.com profile] la_marquise_de_ 's books to anyone wanting to read fantasy with brains and elegance, her most recent post mentions quite a few other writers of note.

Death is lighter than a feather,  duty is heavier than a mountain.

     
marina_bonomi: (book)
Some of you may remember that I mentioned having an half-baked idea for a paranormal romance, I went so far as posting here a snippet of the beginning. I think I wrote about 400 words in all, the story didn't let me be but something was off and the words weren't right.

Last week I thought of some changes, and the pieces of the puzzle started coming together, my characters started talking to me and I find myself writing every night, linking together the scenes they show me during the day.

I realize that's nothing new or grand for the many writers I'm lucky to have in my friends list, but for me it is, since every time I have written fiction it has been in short form.
I'm used to writing fairy tales, not novels, Ming Li has been my longest work to date and it's just over 7000 words, so finding myself at 5200 words with a whole lot of story left to tell it's a new and very exciting sensation.

And if my male main character is determined to be something of a dissident in addtion to a composer and wants to use his music to bring some issues to the attention of the public in a book that was supposed to be pure escapism... ...well, if a character takes the bit between his teeth and runs that's a good sign, right?

*crosses fingers* 
The gaming world, that is, if things go according to plan.

Both hubby and I are Magic the Gathering players (nothing more competitive than the basic tournaments held by our local game store), and illustrating for Magic is a long cherished dream of his.
So hubby has decided to work on portfolio pieces for submission to Wizards of the Coast, offering his own take on iconic cards, first in line is Royal Assassin



A couple of details

below the cut )
Browsing my friends' page I happened across this post by [livejournal.com profile] ysabetwordsmith linking to a different post about evil races in fantasy. The whole sparked a few thoughts of mine and here they are, in part to elaborate on what the quoted OP wrote, in part to get a few things off my chest (or off my stomach, as we say in Italy).

The OP mentions  the evil race in his/her own writing saying:

Inspired by varied African folklore, they’re definitively not Orcs–nor are they based on any existing human phenotypic differences. No “tall, broad-chested, sharp-nosed, pale-skinned, with thin mouths and blue eyes degraded and repulsive versions of the (to POC) least lovely Caucasian-types” in my stories…cuz that would be ridiculous

What I really don't get is why it would be ridiculous, I'd totally read an epic fantasy work where one or more African heroes work to discover who those repulsive pink beings snatching away people are, what they want and how is it possible to foil their nefarious plans (and that's just the most obvious plot possible). What I would find ridicolous indeed, was  if such story was written only to 'turn tropes on their heads' with no research, no world building and no characterisation, but a story where caucasians are the antagonists and seen through the eyes of somebody who has had no previous contact with them and as such tries to 'read' them through his/her own standards (be it a standard of esthetics or of what constitutes civilized behaviour)? Give me!!!

Another quote that I found interesting is this one:


There’s a line of thought that Tolkien was merely pulling from European medieval texts, who used such unflattering terms to describe the Mongols, Moors, Saracens and other “foreign” armies they encountered. Take for instance the semi-mythical Frankish Song of Roland:

And Ethiope, a cursed land indeed; The blackamoors from there are in his keep, Broad in the nose they are and flat in the ear, Fifty thousand and more in company. These canter forth with arrogance and heat, Then they cry out the pagans’ rallying-cheer;

Yeah…transcribing ethnocentric medieval descriptions of human differences into fictional sub-human monsters…still *cringe* worthy.

First of all I believe that writings must be read keeping in mind when they were written, one cannot expect 2012 CE sensibilities in a 1950 CE book. Secondly why it doesn't make sense to transcribe ethnocentric medieval descriptions in a fictional work when that work is meant to be a saga (not a novel, a saga in a literary sense) set into a lost age of European history?

I've read more than one article saying that Middle-Earth is a world 'more or less' like our Earth, fact is that Middle-Earth is and moreover is meant to be our Earth, in a long-over age before the history we know and even before the continents took the places and the shapes we are familiar with (see The History of Middle-Earth and The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien for more about this).

Many readers nowadays (and even more, many US readers) seem to have problems realizing (or possibly believing) how ethnically homogeneous (from an European point of view), most of Europe was, outside of the big cities, till just a few decades ago (for my own country till about 25 years ago). When I was growing up everyone around me was caucasian and no one gave a second thought to the matter. Moreover our definition of caucasian is rather different from the one I 'get' from my US friends, it covers anyone that isn't evidently of a different ethnicity or doesn't actively claim a different ethnicity: to us people from Portugal to Russia, from Iceland to Sicily are equally caucasian (moreover  that includes also my Berber, Jordanian and Libanese collegues, and my once-removed cousin with afro-textured hair and dark eyes isn't seen as any less caucasian than his blondish fair-eyed relatives).

i remember speacking with an 80-year old Comboni father from Yorkshire, who told me that when he was about 10 he heard there was a newly-come man in his village who built and sold wonderful  kites, he gathered his courage and the little money he had and went to this gentleman's house to ask to buy a kite, and when he opened the door the kid froze in place for a few moments before bolting. The kite-builder was of African ancestry and was the first non-caucasian the boy had set eyes upon.

I remember my time as the only caucasian in my neighborhood, in Taipei, comments on my nose, hair- and eye-color were a given (particularly before everyone realized I knew the language), and I remember a kid of about three that, when he saw me, started screaming and crying. He was scared to death and I well understod why: 'white' skin, long nose, pale eyes and light hair, I do look like a Chinese demon. When a population is very homogeneous, people from a different ethnic background stand out, and usually the elements that are most different are those that become the defining characters of that group and-or get translated in myth. 
Is it dangerous? Yes. It is always bad? I don't think so. Sometimes it can be the only believable, realistic gaze, depending on the specifics of the world or community one is writing about.

Once again Professor Tolkien is often called a racist because of this line: "Out of Far Harad black men like half-troll with white eyes and red tongues"

Honestly I don't know what kind of image Tolkien had in his mind writing this, I can only say what image I see when I read it and it is something like this. To me 'black' when referred to mythical creatures has always meant black, not 'human-shade brown'.

'Uber-fair skinned elves'? Elves are part of the North-European mythology and are explicitly linked to light, they are always described as fair-skinned, I don't expect (actually I don't want) elves of different ethnicity, other cultures have their own nature spirits, elves are a European myth.

'Gandalf the White'? Yes, that's part of his 'transfiguration' and a clear (if maybe not conscious) reference to the other Transfiguration (and His garments became glistering, exceeding white, so as no fuller on earth can whiten them), our culture has a long-standing association of white with purity and light (and that's the reason why candidates bear that name, in ancient Rome candidates wore the toga candida the bleached toga that symbolized their purity of intentions), I don't believe any writer should be considered guilty for writing within his/her own cultural symbolism (even more if you are writing a work you mean as 'an epic for' your country intended as a long lost book), moreover here again white means white, not skin-pink.

But I forgot, professor Tolkien was strongly and explicitly Catholic, and that's no good either.

In Tolkien’s universe, these weak-minded men of the South and East were just hood-winked and bamboozled by the Dark Lord (He who Sits on His Dark Throne), cut off from the almost “Christ-like” light of Maiar colonial missionaries.

Well, we have the gall of believing that the devil is a real entity (not just an astraction or a symbol) and that he takes a rather keen interest in the world, and having been 'the brightest of angels' he is rather more cunning and smart than any mortal, so, when writing of the embodiement of evil from that perspective, there's no need to be 'weak-minded' to be bamboozled,

In fact there are plenty of the 'wise and honorable white guys of Gondor' who don't fare any better (I'm really sick and tired of hearing that Tolkien's characters are either wholly good or wholly evil):

Denethor is one of the best, full of good intentions, but he gets tempted through his pride (convinced he'll be able to master the Palantir) and through that he is led to desperation (in the theological meaning) and his suicide.

Boromir gives in to the ring's temptation, only to come to his senses later and try to atone protecting Merry and Pippin, ultimately dying for them.

In 'The return of the King' we learn that the Pukel-men (wich we saw at the beginning as savages) were 'hunted like beasts' by the Rohirrim (which we saw as good guys) and yet it's the Pukel-men that lead the allied armies (including the Rohirrim) through their paths so that they come in time.

And, folks, Frodo fails  he goes through all that, some of his friends die to help him on his way and right at the end he claims the ring for himself. If not for Gollum Frodo would have become the next lord of Mordor.

And given that Tolkien was an old classist reactionary (another staple comment), Sam is a ring-bearer too, and the only one to relinquish the ring completely of his own will, because he is truly humble (which doesn't mean thinking poorly of oneself, it means doing what needs to be done without taking oneself in consideration) and he can shake the temptation of power the ring provides with a laugh or a song, it has no hold on him.

And of course the professor himself is responsible for all those people that, knowingly and consciously, decided to 'repeat the formula' ripping elements from his books and regurgitating them in some kind of different shape to appeal to readers clamoring for more, more often than not grabbing just the outer layer of things with no understanding and, even worse, no love.

I guess I'll still see the same objections and comments going around tomorrow or next year, at least I do feel better now.




marina_bonomi: (book)
Is a very interesting fantasy/alternate history novel by a three-writer team, Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint and Dave Freer.

I'm often wary of collaborations, but in this case as I was reading I kept forgetting that the book has more than one author, no mean feat, in my opinion.

I picked The Shadow of the Lion from the Baen Free Library, I was intrigued by the premise, a fantasy set in 16th century Venice, and I figured that, it being free, at worst I would just lose a couple of hours before deciding it wasn't for me (I'm past the phase in which I forced myself to finish each and every book I started).

In that couple of hours, or even less, I was hooked. The alternate history is intriguing (also 'alternate theology' if you wish, thanks to the conversion of Saint Hypatia), the characters are nuanced and three dimensional, there are as many intriguing and strong females as males, and it manages to completely sidestep one of my biggest turn-offs in fantasy (the 'big, bad, fanatic church' and 'poor, persecuted magic users/pagans' trope) here there is bad and good on both sides. I loved equally the dottor Marina (a family name here) the strega, and father Eneko Lopez, a Basque former soldier of venture turned priest who, I believe, is the fictional alter ego of Íñigo López Loiola

The plot is complex, many of the major players on the European checkerboard of the time are there (but for France, the rival of the Empire is different in this story), it may not be your cup of tea if you don't like politics in your fantasy but the politics is neatly balanced by the action, in my opinion, and neither feels overdone.

And, most of all, Venice feels real. That in the book is the city were I studied, with its pride, its history, its special mix of sea and island that sets it apart from any other city in Italy, the strong esprit de corps of the workers at the arsenal, the strenght and world-view of the canalers, the pomp and sense of duty of the best of the aristocracy... I could go on for hours. Venice is a character in the novel, and not a minor one.

This is not to say that the book is perfect, but my problems with it (if that's even the right word), are definitely minor.

I did a couple of double-takes reading of the Swiss guard of the Doge and of the Scaliger of Verona as an enemy of Venice in 1538 (in this world the Scaligers were thrown out of Verona in 1387 and Verona gave itself to Venice in 1405), but I think it likely that these aren't mistakes but points of divergence (note to writers of alternate history: please, please put a note on historical matters somewhere in your book spelling out what is intentionally different , this reader, for one, would be grateful) .

All through the narrative there are Italian words for flavor, I've no doubt they work fairly well for readers that don't know Italian, for me... the mis-spelled words were like a constant itch I could not scratch.
Giaccomo for Giacomo, Polestine for Polesine, Caesare for Cesare, Fruili for Friuli, Veneze for Veneziani, capi (a plural word) used also as a singular, in one instance slices of prosecco on a platter (prosecco is a wine, neither cheese nor salame) and why should Kat, a scion of one of the 'old houses' of Venice bear the definitely non-Venetian family name Montescue ?

They are all small, silly things, but an Italian beta-reader would have weeded them out, and I believe an already good book would have been made even better by it.

BTW, if any of my writer-friends on Live Journal needs an hand with Italian words or details, I'm happy to officially volunteer.
marina_bonomi: (book)
[livejournal.com profile] haikujaguar has this interesting post about speculative fiction that doesn't fit the mold of 'inspired by such and such culture' (which is a thing I love and I'd like to see more of, but it appears publishers like better playing it safe).

The post links to this list of 'Non-european Fantasy by Women' (sic), connecting nicely with this previous rant by[livejournal.com profile] la_marquise_de_ .

I went to read the list out of a mix of interest (I'm always up for discovering new-to-me authors) and a masochistic streak (all those 'everything by Europe, please' posts and lists make me feel a bit like I and my fellow Europeans are plague-carriers, moreover no setting on its own guarantees a good book), and I found a couple of interesting things:

First of all: the list includes books set in Eastern Europe and Byzantium, because 'those are less known' and ' in fantasy, Europe mostly means Western Europe, the protestant and catholic countries'.

..But it also includes at least a book, Silver Wolf , set in Rome at the time of Charlemagne and another, Lavinia, set in pre-Roman Italy. It looks like Italy moved while I wasn't looking...

It is a pet peeve of mine, but my hackles rise really fast when people manipulate data like...,you know, geographical and cultural boundaries, because they don't fit the theory (European settings must be stale and overdone, so let's mutilate Europe of anything that hasn't already been done to death), besides, as many have said better than me, most of what generally passes for 'Standard European Setting' is McFantasyland, a bland, flavorless pap of uncertain composition.

So I'd like to start a list of mine: speculative fiction set in Europe-inspired or European settings written by Europeans (Europe , not the EU, both female and male authors, if dead, deceased not earlier than 20 years ago )
suggestions are welcome.

Ben  Aaronovitch

Sarah Ash

Petros Ambatzoglou

Pierre Bordage

Maite Carranza

Mike Carey

Mark Chadbourn

Susanna Clarke

Michael Ende

Valerio Evangelisti

Alan Garner

Kerstin Gier

Markus Heitz

Paul Hoffman

Wolfgang Hohlbein

Ju Honisch

Rhys Hughes

Tanith Lee

Stanisław Lem

Suzanne McLeod

Sergei Vasilievich Lukyanenko

Stan Nicholls

Milorad Pavić

Pierre Pevel

Otfried Preußler

Cecilia Randazzo (aka Cecilia Randall)

Jessica Rydill

Andrzej Sapkowski

Ekaterina Sedia

Johanna Sinisalo

Kari Sperring

Jonathan Stroud

Thorvaldur Thorsteinsson

Licia Troisi

Freda Warrington

Diana Wynne Jones

Paper Mage

May. 1st, 2012 10:32 pm
marina_bonomi: (book)
Thanks to this post by [livejournal.com profile] haikujaguar I learned that Paper Mage is now available as an ebook, I had read of it some time ago and was intrigued, I don't know of many Chinese-themed fantasy books and the idea of one where a mage folded paper to do magic, bringing back origami to its Chinese roots intrigued me even more.

I started Paper Mage yesterday, and finished it a short time ago.


Read more... )
Everyone has her or his pet pevees, I have a few of mine, often language related.

Recently I started bumping into the expression Eurocentric fantasy , it never fails to raise my hackles in 1 second flat. Why? Because it is shorthand for clicheed, sexist, ethnocentric, unimaginative, stale fantasy set in a world theoretically inspired by medieval Europe.

The fact is that there is very little of either medieval or European in those works. To me, an European weaned on mithology and sagas, they have the same relation to the real thing as a Mc Donald frankfurter has to the bratwurst I had in Koln last time I was there.

Let's see : women were oppressed and had no power at all (never mind that a woman's lot was far worse in the XIX century than it was, by and at large, in the XII), everybody was ignorant, only the clerics could read and they wanted to keep things as they were (never mind that universities were a medieval invention, where students were in charge and chose their teachers, also, most universities were of ecclesiastical origin), also everybody within a kingdom seems to be of the same ethnicity, speaks the same language and has a rather homogeneous mindset, thing that totally ignores the influence of such modern elements as a unified school system and television in spreading the official language and the dominant culture.

Moreover, everybody seems to live in a kingdom, monarchy is the default for this sort of fantasy, what about oligarchies of different stripes, what about city-states, what about dictatorships, for instance (do you know that dictatorship is an ancient form of governement and didn't have a negative connotation per se, right?)

If there is any research done before those books are written, it is based  on little more than divulgative books rehashing older texts and so called popular knowledge (aka things that get passed down and nobody bothers to check).
Let see for instance the case of the Norsemen: viking is almost a byword for 'barbarian with a lot of muscle and not much brain wielding an axe and wearing an horned helm'.
Well, there's a saying in France referring to the Normans (the people of Normandy, descendants of the Norsemen who settled there), it goes Normand, renard, Norman, fox. It was their cunning together with their ruthlessness they were famed for, the same cunning and political acumen that allowed them to get Normandy and conquer England, besides they built incredible ships and were great merchants .

And of course any Eurocentric fantasy has dwarves and elves. Folks, Europe has a lot of peoples in itself, each with their own traditions, legends and mythical creatures, from the domovoi to the anguana, from the lamia to the saliga and the salvani, and we have ancient history all around us, which in time turns to legend.

I live in a mid-sized town in a place that was inhabited since the Neolitic, our cavalry fought against Hannibal at Cannae. Later, roman buildings like our arena  became the matter of local legends.
The images of Charlemagne's paladins are sculpted on the portals of our churches and we still tell the legends of king Theoderic the Great   and sing of queen Rosamund .
A well known figure here is la Gran Contessa (born just a few kilometers away) and near my home is the fortress where Adelaide of Italy was held prisoner by her husband's murderer.

And this is just my small corner of Italy. In my country, besides a myriad dialects we have linguistic minorities speaking German, French, Occitan, Arbërisht and Griko each group with different habits, traditions, history, legends, a trasure trove for any writer looking for fresh materials and doing serious research, this in just a single country of old Europe.

Personally, I think of that kind of stale, tired fantasy clichè with an expression I got from [livejournal.com profile] ysabetwordsmith , mcfantasyland, to me it conveys the idea of stale, bland and second-hand without slamming my background and cultural tradition, thank you

Link to a wonderful post I reached through[livejournal.com profile] kateelliott that articulates this better than I can and sparked this rant of mine.

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