All the horrible drama recently of professionals behaving badly on the internet as a part of Race/Cultural Appropriation Failure '09 has oddly reminded me of the novel Magic Street
by Orson Scott Card.
I read it a few years ago and always had it in the back of my mind to ask people on Livejournal for their opinions on the book, both as a novel overall (story, characters, readability) and for its handling of a POC community and cast by an author who isn't a POC. Magic Street
is urban fantasy, not classic sci-fi, but it definitely falls under the discussion umbrella of recent months.
I know many people have felt (strongly) that it isn't safe to discuss race in sci-fi/fantasy literature on the internet, that online fandom is just as hurtful an enviornment as face to face discussions can be, sometimes more harmful because of the pervasiveness of information by people who abuse it online. But I'm still interested in hearing people's thoughts about the book, and I don't want to give up on the internet as a place to talk about race in literature, because I've learned more about literary race and gender analysis from fandom than I ever learned in an English class. And I'm still learning.
So... I'm keeping this post public to start, with the opening caveat that I will f-lock or close it entirely if I feel it has become a negative or unwelcoming environment
. However, my LiveJournal contact list is much smaller than someone like the eloquent coffeeandink
(whose insightful book & tv reviews I admire), so I expect that I'll get a couple of replies and that will be the extent of it. That's assuming anyone who reads my journal has even read the book; it's not one of the works Card is famous for.
So... Magic Street
An urban Shakespearean fantasy set in a middle class Southern California community with its main cast of POC, by a white author
. Did you like the book? (for the record, I did. I am such a geek for urban fantasy that borrows from A Midsummer Night's Dream)
What do you think worked well or worked poorly? If you disliked the book, were your complaints about generic stuff such as plot and prose, or did you have positive or negative reactions to portrayal of black characters? Is this a good example or a bad example of an author writing about characters of a different race or background? Why?