People of color are too often relegated to supporting roles in mainstream urban fantasy. I just read this about Researcher Keith Green who is creating a course at Rutgers University about Black Science Fiction through the ages.
I really related to this statement:
“He explains that blacks were often relegated to ancillary roles, while white, heterosexual males were portrayed as the protagonists and heroes. Historically, he adds, black characters have maintained what Toni Morrison called an “Africanist presence” in American literature, portrayed as sidekicks who provide emotional support or guidance for the main characters.”
So even though they’re there, they don’t really have their own story. Here are some works that come to mind to demonstrate what I mean. Can you think of others? List in comments section.
- Guinan on Star Trek
- Trez and Iam in the Black Dagger Brotherhood
A very brief perusal of discussions on sites like Goodreads will give authors a good idea of what readers are hungry for.
- Dreams. They can go a lot of ways, like foretelling, alternate worlds, astral projection, etc.
- About aliens on earth.
- I’m fond of characters with extra or enhanced senses. They can feel or see things that others can’t, or are more in tune with the world.
- My favorites are stories that are original but realistic, with just enough magic in it to make it interesting
- Shifters other than werewolves.
- Other magical creatures and realities. Like revenants, Selkies, fae, mermaids, djinn, the far-eastern and African mythological creatures. There are a lot of world mythologies out there besides the same, tired old European ones.
- Based on the 7 deadly sins; perhaps a series?
- Fairy Tale, Cyborg, and/or Alien Romances
- Angel-themed paranormal romance
- Asian and other racial main characters
This pertains to romance novels, specifically, but I think it is an indication of a growing movement.
Devotees of romance fiction, predominantly female, are demanding that their favorite category be ethnically as diverse as the real world. One of the newest branches of the popular genre is interracial romance, which just a few decades ago would have been too hot to handle. After all, the first African-American romance imprint came on the scene less than 20 years ago. “Readers are able to say through social media and direct interaction, ‘I want to see myself in a romance,’ and not every romance reader is white,” says critic Sarah Wendell, author ofEverything I Know about Love I Learned from Romance Novels.
Discussion of the article on Goodreads.
If you’d like to discuss some of the issues in getting more diversity in speculative fiction, please contact the editor. Paperbackdiva@gmail.com.
I’m especially interest in anime and manga.
Harriet Tubman initiates her pupil to the Underground Railroad in this action-packed excerpt!