Friday, October 30, 2009

Yo, SignalBoost LJ Users

Go here if you have a problem with LJ News posting unattributed quotes of your responses to the Writer's Block feature. It will instruct you how to remove your replies/answers from their database.

Also of note:

To keep from overwhelming you, we only post the most critical happenings here. Other communities you might find interesting or relevant if you want to keep up on everything LiveJournal...

The quote describing the purpose of the news community as being to inform users, has been removed from the news profile along with its format change to an intra-lj gossip newsletter. If you kept subscribed to the community to keep abreast of what was happening technically behind the scenes you might want to subscribe to the_lj_monthly, the_lj_herald appears to be defunct.

Monday, October 26, 2009

O Morgan Howell


I started Book Two of Morgan Howell's Queen Of The Orcs saga. I put it down three, four days ago, maybe five, and haven't been able to bring myself to pick it back up. The first book was lovely - but I'm stopped right at the moment before the female protagonist begins to have possible romantic feelings for one of the Orcs.

I can't really say it's a spoiler, since I merely suspect given several years of reading books and gaining the ability to project the near possible future for characters based on setting, word phrases, mood, etc...

If I pick it back up, I'll report it here. But I will need some considerable strength to handle any kind of the unexpected beauty of the noble savage from a fading and unknown to be sophisticated culture.

Right now I forsee it going back to the library in 3 weeks unread.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Things I Should Have Noticed Sooner

Why are so many fantasy tales, road trips with an unlikely motley crew? From Edmund, Lucy, Susan and Peter to Harry, Ron and Hermione? Did people just feel that Tolkein and CS Lewis had created a template as well as a genre?

I mean even Avatar: The Last Airbender (Original Animated Series) was all about the roadtrip. Granted that roadtrip was not at all boring and it had Sokka and Toph. Actually I think A:TLAB(OAS) might be two roadtrips, that eventually converge.

Seriously though, what's up with that? Why are roadtrips in fantasy apparently The. Best. Thing. Ever! Huh?

Aside: I'm now giggling at the thought of:

1. On The Long Trip To The Land Of VERMONT, an unlikely but motley crew of travelers must balance a little antiquing with the fight against the forces of darkness.

Oh yeah, that brings up the other thing. Why are all these roadtrips headed towards a war? Who takes a roadtrip towards conflict? Are there any fantasy tales of the mad dash flee from crashing armies and firework like displays of spraying blood?

And yes, I know there's such a thing as High Fantasy, aka Epic Fantasy; though I was surprised to learn there's a description of Low Fantasy. Having the opposite would seem to make sense, and yet... Low Fantasy is not the opposite of The RoadTrip Scavenger Hunt Towards A Battle Of Good vs Evil. It's just apparently fiction with very little in the way of fantasy elements.

I think I need to do more reading because right now I find myself going but why is the conflict always involving some kind of Dark Lord or at least a selfish A-hole With Army?

Of course my reading and researching has yet to give me a good answer for why Artifacts exist. Why indeed do magicians place all their power in some doodad? Is that from Tolkein too? The need for jewelry/accessories? From the ring to horcruxes?

I mean if I were gonna find a way to live forever, I wouldn't be putting my magical energy into something shiny and theft prone.

Though I guess it's all of a piece; tiny shiny equals scavenger hunt equals need for a ROAD TRIP!

I wonder if Limyaael has rants about this?

[Comments Open]

Friday, October 23, 2009


Ashkok Banker Interview:


I won’t mince words here: SFF publishing in the US today is the Klu Klux Klan of the publishing world. It’s anachronistically misrepresentational in its racial mix, religious mix, cultural mix. The few exceptions to the rule only prove the endemic, systemic and deeply bred bias in the field...

...Because like the Klu Klux Klan, nobody respects a closed group of inbred rednecks and crackers. It’s about time the entire genre was dismantled, outed, exposed and shut down. SFF as a rigid, white-dominated, Judeo-Christian-pushing, American nationalistic genre has jumped the shark. The old guard is dead and gone and the young (and old) turks running the show are fighting a losing battle against the very progressiveness and futurism that the genre is supposed to espouse! Besides, SFF has permeated mainstream literature and popular culture. We don’t need to label a book SF or F to cater to the dwindling handful of snobs who think that the term SFF on a book means it’s superior in some way to other books.

For decades SFF has been accusing mainstream literary critics, readers and authors of being snobbish and denying them their due. In fact, it’s the other way around: SFF’s pathetic cries of outrage and refusal to change with the times are proof of SFF’s own snobbishness and bias. SFF is dead and rotting. Long may it stay dead! We who love the elements that make great SFF don’t need the label so Klansmen can recognize work by other Klansmen...

Emphasis mine.

I would fully add the gaming and comic industries right behind SF Publishing, but it's all of a piece now. It's all part of the Speculative Fiction Brand. They're all 'SyFy'; aiming for the dollar, losing the vision.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dragon Age: Origins aka Those F*ckers - Pt 2

It appears the problem I was having in creating a Character/Avatar in Dragon Age: Origins is twofold.

1. I do not associate full lips in a wide mouth, married to a broad flat tipped nose as distinctly black features.

2. I did not play around with the presets as much as I could have.

The latter is on me. The former is tired.

Dragon Age's darker characters are all high yellow leading into redbone. The preset 'black' males always have corn row. I find it very telling that preset needs that distinctive hairstyle to denote blackness. And there are still those 'slanted' eyes I find so offensive and one skin tone set is distinctly yellow.

Things are not as atrocious as I thought them to be (there is not a deliberate exclusion / a total lack of effort), but the racism is still there in the stereotyped features and in the lack of ability to be darker than a wet paperbag. It says something about 'acceptable blackness' and attractiveness/desirability standards that is extremely raw.

It prompts me to also say that redness is not blackness, although both are skin shades and undertones among People of Colour.

I'm not sure which is more enraging/painful - thinking they hadn't made a place for black avatars at all (just sunburnt white ones), or discovering they don't believe anyone would want to be walnut stained dark in a pretend fantasy world.

I find myself thanking Perfect World for at least allowing me the chance to have an avatar as dark as I wanted, and giving me the chance to also have black avatars with varied facial features. I might download it again just for the character creation. It might be healing.

Her Tagword: Mongolrocco

So speaking of white people...

A little birdy has told me that Elizabeth Bear is in the midst of a trilogy loosely based on The Silk Road. It will of course be published by The Original Racists. If you don't know who they are, you only need to follow some of the yellow bricks of fail in SF in 2009.

Meanwhile, there's Bear; I'm left thinking she thinks Asians are quieter than us riotous Black folk who object to white women misrepresenting us in modern myth and popular culture.

Obviously she has not been paying attention to the angry individuals spearheading the protest against Live Action Last Airbender. I don't think Asians are going to be any happier with Bear's media contributions of them in current (& common) zeitgeist.

Ooh look, I used five-dollar words. What is the world coming to when a negress dares to interpret the words and perspective of a white woman who can't. learn. the lessons of a five year old.

"It's an epic fantasy in three volumes, spanning the cultures and empires of something not entirely unlike our own Central Asian Silk Road, and it features so much shiny I can't even beging to talk about without devolving into capslock and bangs. Nongols! Weather-witching with gunpowder! Magic ponies! Passive-aggressive martial monks! Impossible bowshots! Feats of bravery and derringdo! Stubbornest Princesses!"

Hey Asian Peoples! Hear that? Elizabeth Bear thinks you're shiny! I'll be over here with washcloths and sympathy tea.

If a tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound?

If a white woman gets schooled by a herd of wild magic unicorns, does she learn anything?

The answer to one is yes, and to the other is a big fat No. No. No.

And people wonder why folk don't want to waste time or energy to lead them to the waters of information, enlightenment and education and then pinch force them to drink.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dragon Age: Origins - You Racist Fuckers

An additional note about Dragonage: Origins:

I downloaded the character creator, after perusing the wiki, to double check on the possibility of creating a Character/Avatar of Colour.

1. There is no possibility of creating a character of colour in DRAGON AGE: ORIGINS.

2. There is the possibility of creating an extremely sunburned white person.

3. With diagonally degree turned, yellow face, chinky eyes because epicanthic folds are just TOO hard.

And then there are the Qunari. Someone needs to let me know if I'm the only one thinking - Golden skinned, religious fanatics who get their enlightenment from something called the ‘qun’" {I. shit. you. not.}, who are technologically advanced and were one half of a religious war, and were resented for their strict protocols, might just happen to echo a currently maligned religious group.

Here, let me give you a hint:

They divided children from their families and sent adults to ‘learning camps’ for indoctrination in their religious philosophies...Those who resisted were slain, instantly and without mercy. Many who obeyed their new masters, however, claim that they were treated well and even given a large amount of trust provided they followed the strict qunari codes of conduct and laws.

Now, what current religously allied group of individuals are viewed by Eurocentric/White Westernized Culture in similar terms. Hmmm. Who could it be. M? M? It's on the tip of my tongue.

Meanwhile I just [sarcasm]love[/sarcasm] how corn-rows have been re-appropriated for white tribal types. Y'know despite the fact that if you see someone white in corn rows these days, one doesn't think CELT, one thinks BLACK CULTURE & HIP HOP.

ETA: Update here

Monday, October 19, 2009

Tolkien You Racist Eurocentric Fucker

Dragonage: Origins

A friend is really excited about it, so I was looking into it - cause knowing what has a friend excited and happy is a good thing. And I look and I look. And I see things I like - which is rare. But I see a cgi movie/storyline I wouldn't mind paying 30$ (yeah no, not gonna pay $50 for it) to see and play. The whole concept of pause in play would help it all not be a rush of noise and jabbing buttons for me. The possibility of same sex romantic storylines? For both men and women? Woot!

And then...And then - Asian team member (Jon Santos) working on Dragon's Age in a promo video. Another Asian team member (Stan Woo). Someone possibly Latino (Jose Illitzky). Haven't seen anyone black yet.

Is there anyone non white looking among the avatars promo material? I think there's one dude. With white/whitish blonde hair - he might be dark skinned. I can't tell because I find a lot of the captured video to be dark and oddly coloured. But the shape of his nose and lips and jaw tell me nothing. And I'm probably only assuming he's black because he's a big guy playing back-up in the trailers for a white hero.

For all the "Oooh Origins. So important. Who you are will factor into who you become! Blah Blah" - Who you are? WHITE.

I repeat: Tolkein You Racist Eurocentric British Nationalistic Fellatioing Fucker.

Because of you, you dead, decayed old white man, the land of fantasy remains in the Pseudo Europa. But not just that, despite the fact that SPAIN was influenced by the Moors and that Rome had dark skinned citizens, fantasy is all about white elves (whether or not some new representation has elves as 'ghettoized' - cause really how fucking Othering is that. Yeah, we have slums for non-humans) and white dwarfs and white men.

Though I guess places like Feministing would be happy to see white woman avatars and white women in the promo vids as part of the design team. Woop de la fucking do la and a bottle of Tear Champagne.

Dark Heroic Fantasy = White Fantasy. Same as what came before. Meanwhile look at our even more deformed Trolls and Ogres & Evil Savages.

I can't choose to put aside the part where I'm multiracial black and go - at least they have gay people-. Because no matter how much I'd want to, the sucking wound at my side will keep on bleeding, whether I pay attention to it or not. Being uncounted and unrepresented still fucking hurts.

This year... this year - really, is the lesson I'm supposed to learn and have reinforced is utter, total disrespect and hatred for unthinking, racist white fuckers - selfish pigs who can't imagine a far off future, or a fantasy land (OMG Avatar: Live Action - Stop STABBING ME) without anyone but white people. Just...

Not just Schrodinger's Rapist, I have to juggle Schrodinger's Racist - time after fucking time, after fucking time again.

The Conversation I Want To Have, is not happening. Other conversations are and they're good and blessed and halllujah that they're happening. But the conversation I want to have, hasn't. Isn't.

Me. Specifically.

Me. The Non White Fantasy Fan.

Whether it's only one part of a conversation, or one conversation in a series of conversations - right now the one I want to have is; is it worth the effort of ignoring so much history and pain and continued invisibility via ignorance and 'doing what's easy' - is it worth the effort to put our own stamp in the fantasy playbox? Or should we cast it all aside, drop troll, ogre, dragon, elf, monster, orc - all of it? Do we start from scratch based on non-white, ancestral origins mythology? Do we give up trying to see our faces in those pseudo lands regardless of the spilled blood, rape, and servitude/slavery in their real life analogues?

I don't have an answer yet for myself. I've spent the past few months wrestling with the question, trying to come up with a solution other than screaming at the idiots I encountered at the beginning of the year. Cause those idiots don't give a damn about any pain but their own. This year has made that unquestionable.

But there is something, some teasing thought in my head about how our ancestral lineage is used as accessory and dressing for their tales. Some baby thought about picking and choosing.

I'm going to give it some time.

I tried to find a way to end this without saying I hate you all, you smug unthinking white monsters. I can't; you genocidal, story/culture serial killers.

NB: While I am depressed, I refuse to believe 'Resistance Is Futile', no matter how much has been lost or how many have been eliminated.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pagemarker - October 2009

Privilege!Fail continues. Scared white men (& one woman) complain that SciFi has become femminized and thus weak.

It's like the Digivolution DNA Recombination of & E.ll.i.s.o.n.

One old white man (Scalzi) mentions Shelly.

ETA: The panic of these men at losing even a shaving of privilege is echoed in WWT in their panic at no longer being idolized on their way to touch the HetCisMale brass ring. Fear and loathing at no longer being obliviously accepted as the only people who are human; who ('s stories) count.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Nolanverse Ramble

Over at The Fortress of Soliloquy, Foss brought up up possible villains in a future third Nolan Batman film.

I finally got around to reading that post and had a few thoughts of my own, while greatly appreciating his. But as I started to reply I kind of answered myself, seeing the complications that could happen. But I wanted to preserve the thought.

I'd really love to see Edward Nigma done Nolan-style. Clean cut suit, bowler hat, distinctive cane. But as someone brought in instead of 'Robin'. There are too many connotations and expectations with Robin. And I actually don't want to see Nolanverse introduce Dick Greyson. The Nolanverse experience had reached this very darkly philosophical and grey ethics place and Dick Greyson's story is all about the lost of innocence in the death of his parents. Gotham's already lost that innocence, seeing it again would feel like a repeat.

But then I end up thinking that Edward Nigma would end up a Harvey Dent repeat, either as a colleague going bad, or in the reverse as an anti-hero trying for good. I can't quite see something new to say about the mythos of the Nolanverse there.

Which makes me think that as much as I'd like to see Jason Todd as a confused and troubled teenager that Batman puts hopes in - that path too leads to possibly losing a colleague and a rehash. Though part of me does actually like the thought The Red Hood onscreen.

And no doubt part of me giggles at audiences seeing a high wire kid, and then NOT hearing the name Dick Greyson. And now there's this whole story in my head of lost on the edge youth, and Foss' inspired Royal Flush Gang led by Harleen Quinzel.

Except for the part where Harley is being manipulated by the Joker - I like Timmverse too much where it was proven that Harley has what it takes to capture Batman. So I quite like the thought of her as either Joker's already acquired Right Hand, coming to rain down anarchy on Gotham by utilizing the Firebug and who knows what else. Or her becoming mesmerized, due to an already created obsession, after one meeting, and just going out there and raising unholy hell in a story about a fourway war:

Gotham Police fighting remaining Mobsters
Mobsters fighting Freaks coming to wipe them out
Freaks hunting down Batman for 'playtime'
Batman avoiding Police, and dealing with Freaks and the Mob.

Seriously, something like that? I can just see Ra's al Ghul spinning and laughing in his grave at it being Bruce bringing Gotham to its knees after all, with half the city burning to the ground.


These are the moments I love imagination and fanfiction. So much better than giving DC money too.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Thought

I'm probably giving away all sorts of cool ideas by bringing this up - but I find myself needing to comment. Surely, surely I cannot be the only one who's noticed that orc tusks are vampire fangs turned upside down.

So, animalistic creatures who cause dread in the hearts of fighting men - inhuman predators whose identification is marked by teeth.


In other news, I forgot I had comments waiting moderation. Went 'Doh!' Attempted to publish them, pressed reject instead. This is the second time that's happened. I seriously think the reject button and the publish button should be on opposite sides of the comment moderation page - for those moments when fingers and brain aren't communicating well. Meanwhile, have c/p-ed from my inbox.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Deeper & Wider Than The Marianas

My computer is experiencing difficulties. I'm still trying to figure out what's wrong. But what this means right now is limited and distracted time periods wherein I'm online.

Still this thought popped into my head and I couldn't help but write it out. It's two thoughts actually.

First, I found myself thinking of the movie I ROBOT - yes, the one with Will Smith and maybe some breadcrumbs of Asimov in the Three Rules. I found myself wondering if anyone in that reality thought to extend scholarships and support for those who could make a career out of being care-givers.

Or if instead it was a reality wherein those with disabilities that require care-assistants were simply given a robot and told to be grateful - but no one was encouraged into a career that meant caring for another human being and silently reminding them that humanity didn't wish they didn't exist; didn't want to consciously forget them. I found myself thinking of disability activists in that fictional world - one of our many possible futures - and wondering if they were still struggling for those with disabilities not to be invisible.

And that led to me thinking about SURROGATES. I've only read snippets of the graphic novel and I didn't (and won't) see the movie. But I wondered if the original creator thought about citizens with disabilities who might have had their lives enriched by a surrogate. Then I wondered if that was just another type of invisibility; another kind of 'Ugly Law' where those with disabilities lived their lives hidden away with only their societally approved proxy bodies interacting in the world.

Then I started to wonder what having a proxy surrogate body would be like for the blind. Would there be members of the blind community against something that made it easy for someone to hide away from their house and not learn to cope/adapt and live a fulfilling life despite not having a temporarily fully functional and able body?

If there is speculative fiction out there that thinks about the world from a point of view besides; temporarily able bodied, cis, heterosexual, individuals - I would appreciate a head's up in comments. (Please don't include the raping leper)

I've spent much of 2009, thinking and resting and dealing with personal life stuff and coping and dealing with general stuff (Racefail, Privilege Fail - The Year Long Saga, etc) and feeling frustrated at how my mind could only go in two or three directions at once with none of those directions related to writing. In fact I think I've been spending the year talking myself back into a love of writing because I was so incredibly turned off by what I saw in Jan, Feb, March and what I've continued to see throughout the year.

Now, right now that is, I'm hoping even if I'm not the one who does it, that there is more speculative, amazingly imaginative fiction written about disabled protagonists and characters of colour and transgendered and genderfluid individuals. Because how amazing would those stories be? Really, I get chills just thinking about it.

It's so broad, this, all this that has been left by the wayside of the surge of primarily white, cisgendered, hetero males (and now women in leather with guns) pushing and claiming the dreamscape.

[[ Comments On ]]

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Pissed? Moi?

I saw this yesterday on livejournal by user rhosyn_du :

...why is someone who fetishizes homsexual relationships more morally obligated than someone who does not to approve of homosexuality, but someone who fetishizes, as an example, torture is absolutely not morally obligated to approve of real life torture, regardless of what they get off on?

And then I saw these:

I've figured out that any attempt on my part to talk about the actual underlying issues in more depth than I did here turns into my part 4 - me saying "the only oppressions that all g+l+b+t+q+i++ people have in common are ones that women face too - and they are only aimed at queer people because of the need to keep women in their place - so I support glbt activism, but if glbt & feminism conflict, I viscerally side with feminism, sorry."...
- melannen @ JF/LJ/DW

...But at the same time, it's possible to swing too far, and I think fandom is going there: the growing casual usage of dismissive phrases like "white women's tears," the unchallenged assumption in a lot of the lambda posts that straight women have no idea what it's like for their sexuality to be marginalized, the way that anti-misogyny posts *do* use less of the methodology you're calling "anti-oppression" here and are less likely to be made by the same people who work on intersectionality, a variety of other subtler things and simple erasures like your original post.

And being taught that their own oppression is less real than other peoples', and they should spend their energy on others before themselves, is part of a long pattern of how women - and especially white women - are silenced. Which only makes me angrier...

- also by melannen @ DW/LJ/JF/ (who later apologized some)

And I spent too many hours trying to make this "nice" post about how furious those thoughts made me and of course, I couldn't. I was tripping over my words as I tried to juggle sounding neutral and contemplative and not pissed beyond nature's wildest angry dreams.

So in short:

1. The objects of a fetish are not considered real, even if they are people. The trials and tribulations of their lives are only more fodder to wank with.

2. White people (specifically white women) are seriously selfish bitches.

Other thoughts I had:

1. I mean, sure it looked like support to be asked questions and listened to - but that was just research. And putting up icons and stickers and lawn signs that are pro-equal marriage is simply good PR. Equal marriage recognition brings m/m writers closer to the RWA doesn't it? I mean, then they can add 'wedding' genre romance and also go 'We get white lace and three tier cakes at the end of our romances too. Let us in!'

Somewhere along the way, some of us took as given the 'reclamation of female sexuality and erotica' to mean 'the progressive reclamation of all sexuality from shaming' - but that was our mistake. Though, although I say our, that isn't really the best descriptive pronoun. Because I'm certain there were some who saw the writing on the wall ages ago, who had historical precedent, even; Black Lesbians and other Women of Colour, for starters, have likely been sitting with iced tea and sandwiches, waiting for reality to hit. And those who are Trans undoubtedly connected the dots from this 'reclamation of women's erotic space' to the Wimin's Music Festivals and the Wimin born Wimin movements which were all about Wimin's / Womyn's Space.

2. I'd say we've become odd sexual accessories; her magic wand, her rabbit vibrator, lube and m/m. But m/m misses a few letters from GLBT. Do any of those m/m presses publish female/female works? Was there ever a push for 'Original Femmeslash'? Though heaven knows I've got the power of lesbian invisibility amped up with missing black woman syndrome, so I shouldn't even be whispering. And Trans? Trans what? Meanwhile certain people pitch back their heads and groan and moan and get sweaty to the thought hot pretty men and throbbing penises and all that heterosexual fixation on the male body.

3. Just in early September, while missing or ignoring the transphobic statements of a once-upon-a-clueless-not-really-a-behaviorist:

Well, slash is kind of the female equivalent of the straight male interest in transsexuals. That is, the opposite of what culture would predict. So it probably reflects a more direct subcortical effect. Also, there's already data out there about romance novels we can use, which probably overlaps with relationships in fan fic, but we do have a few questions that aren't specific to slash. Maybe we'll have more in the next round.
- Comment since deleted

Many did bring up "The true comparison should be men looking at lesbian porn!" -- Transphobic statement? What transphobic statement?

4. I am disturbed at a racial level, because the majority of men who're oggled, are white. This appreciation of the male form is a mirror of white men appreciating the white female form. And while white women may be 'getting their own back' mentally undressing certain males, and giving the appearance that everything is now 50/50 and fair now - it isn't. White women aren't the only women in existence and white men also 'appreciate' women of colour. In fact, they think it's their right to look at, touch, manhandle and molest women of colour.

And white women oggling men of colour is best explained by one word: Mandingo.

5. I can't help feeling that freedom to lust as men do -- better rephrased freedom for white women to lust as white men do is a trap that divides a potentially strong intersectional base into white women (fingers brushing the brass ring that is white, cis, het, maleness) and everyone else who isn't a white, cis, het, male.

My conclusion: alliship/being an ally is something that is earned via a very, very, long trial period. Moreover it shouldn't be something you claim, but something those who're oppressed use to short-hand the work you are actively doing. No more self-labeling for passive cookies. No more stamps and buttons and trendy/in causes of the month/week/year/moment. And it doesn't matter if the cause directly relates to you - if there's another cause you hold more important, then you are no true friend, comrade or support.

Intersectionality Social Justice is about recognizing that all oppressions are equally oppressive. Why is that so hard to understand? What else could make that concept unpleasant to hold but selfishness?

CORRECTION: Someone rather smart has pointed out that intersectionality is rather about the crossroads between oppressions - the intersect in intersectionality. I put down my earlier definition to pain, grumpiness, anger and frustration.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Klingons with Tusks

What is subtlety and nuance within a story?

I greatly enjoyed Queen of the Orcs by Morgan Howell. As I read the reviews, however, I'm seeing mentioned several times that the book was preachy or that the theme of 'all men are evil' was too much, or too stereotypical. And I'm finding myself thinking of bright lights and fine print.

There are distinctions in the book made between top soldiers and dreg soldiers; distinctions made between the corruption of the King's personal court, and his general servants and even distinctions between members of his personal guard. The line of corruption is weaved from the lowest mercenary all the way to the King and his highest/closest advisor - showing how said darkness affects the world around it.

It's all right there. And alongside it is all the information needed to comprehend that our viewpoint character has been so affected/victimized by this corruption, despite her strong will to survive that she can't believe anyone, any man who would interact with her could be uncorrupted or even a little less tainted.

That is by no means a theme of 'all men are evil' or 'man bashing'.

Then there are some in the reviews who noticed or acknowledge the specter of the 'noble savage' trope, but they ignore so damn much; the lack of empathy the Orcs have to non-Orcs, the twisted turns of their thinking when it comes to inclusivity and exclusivity and also several underhanded developments by an Orc. Compared to corrupted human men, yes, the Orcs are noble; But only in comparison. And the Orc culture, though matralinieal is by no means perfect - the very fact of an Orc regiment belies that.

And then there is the term savage itself - just how are these reviewers using it? Is savage standing in for original peoples of the land/indigenous peoples? Is it standing for warrior / warrior culture? Or does it simply mean not white human or not human? What stereotypes are they attaching to the term savage when they claim to see 'the noble savage' trope? Because I think there are several aspects of Orc culture and civilization they're ignoring when they invoke that trope. Maybe those aspects will not be fleshed out and further fulfilled in the subsequent books, but what's revealed in book one does lay a basis for more than meets the eye - more than traditional, cliche, assumptions.

These reviews leave me thinking that people are recognizing patterns in their reading and thinking that the ability to recognize a pattern is actual analysis and not merely the first step in comprehension. Like some blogger I read said about the recent batch of spoof movies; they have no substance and don't actually parody anything, the audience is just laughing because they recognize the pop-culture reference; a Pavlovian reaction?

Meanwhile I have recognized the pattern of 'What These People Need Is A Honkey' but smile at the twist that the needed gifts the white person will bring are the understanding of and capability for; lies, guile, treachery, betrayal and deceit.

In fact the only thing that really makes me uneasy to continue to read the series, is how the author will handle the tricky line between; potential human love interest (because of course love/relationship can't happen with an Orc) and the pitfall on the other side of that which is - woman falls for noble savage and becomes honourary member of savage tribe with its purer ways.

I don't hold out hope these days of finding fantasy that won't hurt and offend me. Right now I am just pleasantly surprised that I want to read more of this universe which echoes the broken treaties between early American colonialists and First Nations tribes and English colonialists and Scottish & Irish tribes while having as the stars; Klingons with Tusks.

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