the basic failure of most all speculative fiction, both fantasy and scifi, is the failure to examine its societal pre-assumptions. they show worlds 1000 years in the future or the past or in a wholly separate universe, inhabited by people who, despite the presence of magic or hypertechnology & a completely different material circumstances, still basically live & think like 20th century westerners — and when they don't, it's virtually always shown as a moral or intellectual failing

not only is it boring and bad writing, it's a betrayal of the genre's potential to show completely different societies, systems of epistemology and ethics, etc. instead they end up reinforcing it, by implicitly presenting the 'western worldview', which isn't even universal on present-day earth, as a fact of existence that applies even when the actual laws of nature are different

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one of the worst manifestations of this is putting in modern-day sexism and racism to make it more 'realistic' (game of thrones / asoiaf is an obvious offender here). racism was only invented under colonialism, and is unlikely to outlast it; sexism did exist, but in different forms & based on a different understanding of gender. by showing them existing in a world with dragons or ftl spaceships, you're justifying them in the present by making them out to be necessary or unavoidable

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@esvrld humans have shitty imaginations though. we can’t even imagine alien creatures that aren’t just chimeras of earth animals. and our limits of understanding and acceptance of things different from our previous experience is extremely shallow, which is important if you’re trying to sell something like a book. or an ipad.

@zensaiyuki you do realise when you make a statement about what all humans in the abstract are like, you're talking about yourself, because that's the only direct evidence you have, right?

@zensaiyuki if you think 'our limits of understanding and acceptance of things different from our previous experience is extremely shallow', especially if this is your first thought on seeing someone say it's possible to write speculative fiction without being racist or sexist, that maybe tells us mostly about how you view oppression and how you are willing to excuse it?


@esvrld no, it was a statement about my observations of audience reaction to anything that isn’t racist or sexist, or has a concept that strays too far from cliche.

@esvrld scifi and fantasy sticks close to formula because that’s what publishers are able to sell. stuff that has actually new and weird ideas i see get rejected by audiences all the time

@esvrld see how much black female scifi authors struggle to be allowed to put their own name on their book, or put artwork that has a black woman on the cover, for isntance

@zensaiyuki wow, it's almost as if capital has an incentive to push works that do not question the underpinnings of capitalism 🤔

@esvrld okay, i am going to back out of this conversation because i am clearly not welcome. i appreciated your original thread and didn’t intend to start an argument over it. bye.

@zensaiyuki @esvrld I think you were very misunderstood in this thread, yeah it's obvious capitalism needs to push away these kinds of works and that's absolutely fair, and it's also a fair remark that we tend to write scenarios and people that mirror our own understanding of ourselves (hence the humanoid everything)

that does not mean of course your point is invalid, the opposite in fact! we should probably make an effort to make this a noticeable issue and give credit to authors who actually do write fiction keeping that in mind

at least I think it's way better than ranting about it and soon abandoning the discussion

@badmoxx thanks for sticking up for me. some people don’t appreciate comments from strangers on here and that’s okay. people can have their own boundaries and aren’t obligated to understand my intent.

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