I think most fiction focuses on uncomfortable settings because that's interesting.
It's the way the human brain works: when enough events occur in a pattern, we stop thinking and go into macro mode.
Reconciliation is a part of the healing process, but how can there be healing when the wounds are still being inflicted?
Reconciliations are for after the violence has ended.
With epic fantasy, there is a tendency for it to be quintessentially conservative in that its job is to restore what is perceived to be out of whack.
Actual Victorian mores and politics were a reaction to a specific series of historical events, technological and scientific developments, and ethical trends in which the commodification of people was de rigueur.
As a black woman, I have no particular interest in maintaining the status quo. Why would I? The status quo is harmful; the status quo is significantly racist and sexist and a whole bunch of other things that I think need to change.
I don't really understand why so many fantasy writers choose to focus on worlds that just seem strangely denuded. But to them, I guess it doesn't seem strange. And I guess that's their privilege. It isn't mine.
In the 'Dreamblood' books, I'm focusing more on what I like about epic fantasy: the layering and depth of tension; the chance to really delve into the minutia of an alternate society and its politics; a large cast of characters to love and hate.
It's hard out here for a fantasy writer, after all; there's all these 'rules' I'm supposed to follow, or the Fantasy Police might come and make me do hard labor in the Cold Iron Mines.
It's human nature that we come in our own flavours, and it doesn't make any sense to write a monochromatic or monocultural story unless you're doing something extremely small - a locked room-style story.
Magic is the mysteries into which not everyone is so lucky, or unlucky, as to be initiated. It can be affected by belief, the whims of the unseen, harsh language. And it is not. Supposed. To make. Sense. In fact, I think it's coolest when it doesn't.
This is magic we're talking about. It's supposed to go places science can't, defy logic, wink at technology, fill us all with the sensawunda that comes of gazing upon a fictional world and seeing something truly different from our own.
Within the sphere of steampunk, there seems to be a rapidly growing subsphere of gadgetless 'neo-Victorian' novels, most of which attempt to recapture the romance of the era without all the sociopolitical ugliness.
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