Interlude 3: A Recommendation – Brandon Sanderson

As a slight diversion from politics and scandal, I don’t know if anyone that follows my blog reads the sci-fi/fantasy genre. I first read The Hobbit when I was six years old, and it was all downhill from that point. I currently have the habit of alternating fiction and nonfiction, as reading any one genre for too long tends to wear on me a bit. Also, my appetite for reading is a bit voracious – I once described it as “chugging” books – so I’m always looking for new authors.

However, I don’t know if you’ve noticed how few really quality female fantasy authors there are. In many cases, even if the authors were probably talented, I was just never able to relate to the characters the women wrote – they were all somehow too stereotypically “feminine” to me with far more introspection and emotional reaction to every situation than I ever experienced.

Male authors are often little better. There are authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien, who just avoided the issue almost completely, and only really told the story from the point of male protagonists with very few female characters. Even The Silmarillion focuses greatly on fathers and their sons, both of Elves and Men.

Then there are others that seem to have no subtle gradients between the haughty, cold, beautiful princess that is eventually swayed by the heroes good will, or the tomboy sidekick that makes sarcastic comments and keeps the male protagonist “in check.” Then you have the female antagonists, who are invariably of the dominatrix mode, and almost always wear red leather and carry some sort of magical whip-like weapon. If an evil person wants to threaten a female character, they simply threaten them with sexual abuse and even the most powerful Sorceress quake in her boots and give up the fight.

Also, so many authors turn to blatant preaching and politicizing in their books when they run out of plot points, but still have books remaining in the series. I don’t know if anyone ever read the Sword of Truth, but while I loved the series in the beginning, it turned into a series largely about sexual warfare and preaching Ayn Randian philosophy. And I love Ayn Rand, but it was just…too much. And it isn’t what I want when I’m reading my escapist fantasy novels.

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Universal Order 1

Is anyone else a little quirky, and tiny things being off just make your skin crawl?

Things that give me a little ache in the base of my neck and make my skin crawl #1: when a room has two light switches, the lights are off, but both switches are flicked upwards. I always have to go back into the room and flick both switches to make sure they’re in a downward position.

Then order is restored to the universe.