Dart-Thornton (was Australian Fantasy)

Nat Case ncase at hedbergmaps.com
Tue Jun 25 13:52:47 EDT 2002


On Tue, Jun 25, 2002 at 11:36:12AM +1000, Sally Odgers wrote:
>  That's what I was getting at, only from the other direction.  It's the old
>  "write what you know" chestnut. Unfortunately, what Euro/Australians "know"
>  is Euro/Brit/Celtic Roman/Greek mythology, *and* Australian setting.
>
>  If we give up the existing mythologies, we have lost a huge chunk of of
>  fiction-well, but if we set books o/s we reinforce the wretched idea that
>  "Australians don't write fantasy".
>
>  One way to do it is to use the characters in a fish-out-o'-water story...
>  i.e. I have a w.i.p. (which may be forever i.p.) about an Irish girl
>  transported as a convict who is accompanied to the colonies by the family
>  leprechaun. Since Leary O'Leary is at least partly a figment (um - I mean
>  partly "created" by the family) he settles in the colonies and begins to
>  take on aspects of his new environment.

At 9:33 PM +1000 6/25/02, Kathryn Andersen wrote:

>Ooh, sounds interesting.
>
>Another way of doing it is the other way around; to start the story off
>in the Australian landscape, but have the Australian protagonist be
>transported Elsewhere (like the Pevensie children to Narnia, or Alice
>down the rabbit-hole).  That, of course, merely side-steps the problem,
>since we leave the Australian landscape as a lost second-cousin, but the
>possibility is still there to have a non-European perspective on it all,
>because the protagonists aren't from Europe.

Seems to me that fantasy that reflects the actual mongrel situations 
of Euro-Australians, Euro-Africans, or Euro-Americans can be a really 
powerful thing. Gaiman's American Gods is one example that really 
explores the kind of thing Sally is talking about. Going further 
back, isn't The Wizard of Oz like Kathryn's suggestion, except it's 
from the point of view of a Euro-American child? And that book, and 
even more the movie, has been a really powerful icon for Americans 
over the years.

Perhaps part of the problem is that if fantasy is to reflect the real 
inter-cultural situation, it is likely to be a violent and bloody as 
American Gods, and not everyone is up for writing or reading that 
kind of wrenching stuff. In pretty much all former colonies, there's 
a lot of really nasty history, which I would think would makes it 
hard to write old-fashioned, hero vs villain, epic-and-ballad-based 
fantasy.

Nat
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