One topic that came up after Realm Makers was one about diversity in the spec fiction community.
For me, I love reading books about people from diverse backgrounds. One of my favorite series in grade school were Sydney Taylor’s All-of-a-Kind family series about Jewish children in turn-of-the-century New York City. I loved learning about the holidays, traditions, and foods.
Two of my favorite non-speculative Christian authors are Camy Tang and Rajdeep Paulus. Camy Tang’s “Sushi series” had me laughing out loud more than once as the Japanese-Chinese-American cousins navigated life and love. Rajdeep Paulus’s Swimming Through Clouds and its sequels were gut-wrenching as the heroine and her brother were held captive in an abusive situation. While the situation could happen in any family, the main characters’ Indian-Dutch South African background added depth and texture. Another one of my favorite authors is Ronie Kendig. Her military thrillers have a diverse cast and several with interracial or intercultural couples that are organic and realistic.
As for speculative fiction, science fiction and fantasy can be a great place to explore race, culture, religion, country identity, and every other demographic. Right now I’m reading Kathrese McKee’s novella, The Healer’s Curse. It’s heroine is black but because it’s set in a different world, she’s able to explore cultural, racial, and political differences without the framework of 21st century America. It’s a prequel to Mardan’s Mark, which has an equally diverse cast and both are set during a time of two kingdoms on the brink of war.
Think about it. The Fellowship of the Ring is about unity among Hobbits, Elves, Dwarves, and Humans. Star Wars wouldn’t be the same without the strife between nationality, religion, race, species, even sentient beings versus artificial intelligence: Jedi, Sith, Rebels, Empire, Wookies, Gungans, clones, droids, and creatures I don’t even know their species name.
One of the things I love best about my steam punk Elf stories is that the worlds have their own people and culture. I get to explore how people are truly alike and different. And at the end of the day, really it only matters whether or not they have pointed ears.
What is your favorite book featuring characters who are from a different race, culture, or species?