Their tagline- The latest in Urban Fantasy from a Social Justice Perspective. This is one of those diversity blogs that more people should know about!So we're happy to have the bloggers, who bring us these amazing reviews and discussions, on our blog today!
1.We know we're talking blogs but first we'd love to know a little about the blogger/s behind Fangs for the Fantasy?
Renee: Disabled and a stunning example of Black womanhood, Renee is a freelance writer from Niagara Falls and a mother of two. When not chasing the children and hiding the cat she can be found reading the latest in Urban Fantasy
Sparky: Paul (always known as Sparky), is a gay lawyer in the UK balancing work, family, a few mental conditions and an ever expanding to read list
2.What inspired you to come up with the theme for Fangs for the Fantasy?
We both run other social justice blogs (both of us having multiple marginalisations and a cross section of them) and developed a friendship, as well as collaboration in the course of discussing marginalised issues which we’re both passionate about. We also found we have a shared passion for Urban Fantasy and more and more we were writing reviews, posts and discussions on Womanist Musings about the genre - which didn’t quite fit. We started with a podcast and it just grew from there; we just kept having more and more ideas and more and more to say and the blog exploded.
3.How long has Fangs for the Fantasy been around? What keeps you motivated to keep going?
Fangs for the Fantasy has been going since 2011. The simplest thing that keeps us motivated is simply that we love the genre. We love speculative fiction and Urban Fantasy in particular: even if we weren’t blogging we’d be watching most of these shows and reading most of these books.
We also have not just an endless list of ideas that keep cropping up, but also a respect for the genre. If we were reviewing, critiquing and analysing literary fiction or classics, no-one would question. People expect and respect you writing a 100 page analysis on the intricacies Mark Twain, Dickens or Bronte or Jules Verne - but will point and laugh when you do the same for Urban Fantasy. It’s fantasy, it’s silly, it’s fiction it’s not important.
Which is annoying - because Fantasy IS important. Especially now that it’s more popular than ever - speculative fiction is really in right now. That means it’s reaching far more people and shaping how they view the world and, in doing so, shapes society and culture itself. What does it say that authors can have such magnificent flights of fancy yet have difficulty including marginalised people in their stories? Speculative fiction is the mythology of our time and, we think, has far more power in shaping societal attitudes than much less well read, but respected classics beloved by English Professors. In the 21st century, our culture, society and attitudes are more influenced by J K Rowling than they are by Ernest Hemmingway.
And as marginalised people and people who care about social justice we need to critique this, we need to point out where it is failing and we need to assert our place within this powerful genre. Especially with the ongoing impression that speculative fiction is the hallowed halls of cishet, able bodied, white men; their marginalised fans, we do exist and we deserve better.
4.Seeing as how you pretty much review everything, what do you think is the most annoying/harmful trope in media that needs to be discarded of?
So many to choose from - honestly we debated this back and forth for a long time because there are so many that are so annoying and so problematic that it becomes hard to pick one
But ultimately we have to settle on Erasure; erasure afflicts the whole genre. There are so many books, TV series, movies and computers games that completely remove (or tokenise) entire marginalised populations. Now, we don’t expect a United Colours of Beneton advert or the Burger King Kids Club Gang in every single book, episode or movie - but some representation of the world as it actually is, with multiple marginalised characters being fully part of the world is really necessary in a genre that has an overwhelming problem with erasure. The zombies shouldn’t raise up and time and again manage to eat all the GBLT people first. Elves running around shouldn’t mean all Black people disappear into the ether. The presence of of vampires shouldn’t have the blind seeing and the disabled rising from their wheelchairs.
There are so many problems with stereotypes, tropes and offensive portrayals - and we can criticise them, but erasure is pervasive, normalised and impossible to build upon. You can critique a negative portrayal, but with erasure you have nothing to work with and nothing to build upon.
5. How do you handle review requests since there are two of you?Do you accept most requests?Do you two have any preferences?
We’d love to claim we have some kind of elaborate system - but it’s simply a matter of whoever is ready to read one of our requests picks the next one up on a first-come-first-served basis.
We accept a fair number of requests, but it depends a lot on the state of our terrifying backlog, this also dictates how likely we are to “bend” to Sci-fi and High Fantasy - or Paranormal Romance. Our preference is for clearly identifiable Urban Fantasy - preferably written by or including a protagonist who is marginalised (we also think the rise of self-publishing is giving many marginalised authors opportunities to be published that are normally blocked by gatekeepers).
6.What are some of you favorite books, movies and tv shows that get it right with diversity?
“Get it right” is difficult - frankly impossible. We’re all products of our society that is deeply prejudiced on multiple levels. We have critiqued everything on social justice lines, even things we love and give 5 Fangs to - nothing is perfect, there’s pretty much always something to mention and some room for growth
Some of our favourite books are awesome despite their erasure or terrible portrayal (Sparky loves the Dresden Files and Supernatural - despite the many many many oh-so-many things wrong with both and Renee loves the Game of Thrones despite the gratuitous rape and terrible racial representation and Jane True’s Nicole Peeler series which is overwhelmingly erased or problematic. We both adore Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Series but, again, it’s a cishet white story).
When we do find series that gets something right, they inevitably get it wrong on another axis. Diana Rowland’s awesome White Trash Zombie series is a truly excellent commentary on class - but POC and GBLT people are pretty tokenised or non-existent. Sleepy Hollow is one of the few series on television with a large dominant cast of POC and a strong female co-lead - but complete erasure of GBLT people.
Even on the axis where these get it right, there’s usually some elements of critique. Like Lost Girl is one of the few shows with bisexual and lesbian leeds but is not only highly problematic in terms of race, it’s also far from perfect on GBLT issues.
7.What has been your favorite or most popular discussion on you blog so far?
Oh this one is tricky - especially since some of our more “popular” posts are inevitably those that are “controversial” (i.e. a large number of people have swooped in saying “my previous, how dare you! How very dare you!”) Others, like our Drinking Game posts are somewhat commentary but mainly fun.
In terms of meatier posts, it’s hard to choose but our posts on Reverse Oppression, (we HATE those), the Leadership of Cishet White Men in Dystopians and the Evolution of Snow White are some of our favourites - but we’ve written so many it really hard to pick just a few.
8.If either one of you had control over the content in the next books you read(It could be a book that doesn't exist yet),What themes or kinds of characters are you dying to see?
Sparky: There is so much I want to see because there’s so much missing out there. But, if I had to pick one it would be a dystopian world, with a group that is NOT leader by a straight, cis, white man (and, if any straight cis white man screwed up he would be instantly eaten by whatever monster rules), there would be multiple POC who could actually exist at the same time without dying (in fact I’d be amused if the straight cis white men were afflicted by the “there can only be one!” token field) and there would actually be GBLT people who did something other than BE GBLT. And the women would not cook and clean because I don’t believe for a second that women in the 21st century west are inherently more experienced at cooking over and open flame or washing clothes in a river.
Renee: I don’t even want something specific, I just want the baseline: full inclusion without stereotypes - no angry black women, no mincing and lipsing gay men, no “crazy people” killing people because they’re “crazy” and no more grown women taking to their damn beds! Marginalised people with fully fleshed out personalities that don’t have their roots in problematic stereotypes! I want marginalised people who are people who are marginalised not embodiments of their particular minority status (which can be done without erasing all cultural or community markers).
9.Where can we find out more about Fangs for the Fantasy?
Oh let me count the places!
Obviously there’s the site: Fangs for the Fantasy
Here’s our youtube channel with our podcast(<---click the link :) )
We’re on twitter!
We’re on Facebook!!!
We’re on Tumblr!
We’re on Goodreads
We're on Librarything
We're on Booklikes
We’re kind of everywhere. I’ve probably missed at least one.