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Martha Wells

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Too Many Tomatoes

Yesterday at around 6:30 in the morning there was a giant boom, followed by more giant booms. A 17-story building (an old Ramada Inn built in the 60s) had been demolished by implosion a couple of miles away from our house. It was a crappy building almost from the beginning (they had to close the top two floors not long after it was opened because they were structurally unsound) and no one liked it, so this was a big occasion in town. Here's a link to a blog with a video clip of the implosion.

In garden news, our tomatoes are out of control:

Question answer:

tex_maam asked Just one question: what do you think there desperately needs to be more of on the bookshelves?

To clarify: we all know that great characters and riveting stories are always in high demand, but like, for example... what kinds of protagonists do you feel are under-represented on the shelves? What kinds of settings or story ideas have you wanted to read about and not found much of?

In some ways this is always kind of a hard question to answer, because the SF/F genre is so large and our views of it tend to be so limited and so subjective. We see the books we read, the books our friends talk about online, and the rest tend to fade into the background. (This is how you get people confidently asserting that women don't write fantasy, or that all fantasy is a young beardy guy with a sword fighting orcs and dragons in faux England. People say that because those are the books they read and the books they pay attention to and the books they see mentioned and reviewed. They assume nothing else exists.)

That's why surveys like this I have numbers! Stats on LGBT Young Adult Books Published in the U.S. – Updated 9/15/11 with actual hard figures are important. I also think thematic lists are helpful. (Which is one of the reasons we did the List of Non-European Fantasy by Women Writers -- when you know you want to read more of certain types of fantasy, it's helpful to see lists of what's already out there.)

I know I want more settings that are not based on western Europe, more stories that use non-Western mythology and folklore and historical events, more characters who aren't white, more characters who are LGBT. I also want characters who are older women, in their 40s or 50s, and I want more books that are blends of science fiction and fantasy, like I grew up reading. I know there are already books out there that have those elements and characters, but I want more. I want more weird stuff, too.

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Grocery list for fantasy novels: Weird stuff, older women, non-McEuropean setting, queer, implosions, magical tomatoes. I think I got it.

Edited at 2012-05-25 03:03 pm (UTC)

Especially the magical tomatoes!

In the dark and vasty, eldritch deeps, the ancient tomatoes imploded, weirdly.

We'll get right on it.

I really wish I lived next door to you, so I could snag some of those tomatoes.

Two of my favorites books involving older women were Remnant Population by Elizabeth Moon, and the two Lois Mcmaster Bujold books about Miles Vorkosigan's parents, who met and married whilst no longer in the first blush of youth. Shards of Honor and Barrayar were the titles. I still re-read all three of those from time to time.

I love Barrayar, it's one of my favorites in that series.

Also from Bujold with an older heroine, Paladin of Souls.

And I'm in favor of weird, non-western, imploding tomatoes.

I liked that one a lot, too.

Stats on LGBT Young Adult Books Published in the U.S. – Updated 9/15/11

Thank you for this, it's absolutely fascinating. I'm a bit surprised that boys are twice as common as girls in LGBT YA fiction, I had expected the greater homophobic panic over gay men than lesbians to somewhat outweigh the greater acceptance of novels with male protagonists. Also, the serious dip in 2010 is interesting, disturbing, and presumably a reaction to sad & scary political developements.

Thanks so much for your answer - I've enjoyed seeing statistics on diversity in YA from Amy Boggs, and this is every bit as great!

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