The Dark Fantastic
Reveals the diversity crisis in children's and young adult media as not only a lack of representation, but a lack of imaginationStories provide portals into other worlds, both real and imagined. The promise of escape draws people from all backgrounds to speculative fiction, but when people of color seek passageways into the fantastic, the doors are often barred. This problem lies not only with children’s publishing, but also with the television and film executives tasked with adapting these stories into a visual world. When characters of color do appear, they are often marginalized or subjected to violence, reinforcing for audiences that not all lives matter. The Dark Fantastic is an engaging and provocative exploration of race in popular youth and young adult speculative fiction. Grounded in her experiences as YA novelist, fanfiction writer, and scholar of education, Thomas considers four black girl protagonists from some of the most popular stories of the early 21st century: Bonnie Bennett from the CW’s The Vampire Diaries, Rue from Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, Gwen from the BBC’s Merlin, and Angelina Johnson from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. Analyzing their narratives and audience reactions to them reveals how these characters mirror the violence against black and brown people in our own world. In response, Thomas uncovers and builds upon a tradition of fantasy and radical imagination in Black feminism and Afrofuturism to reveal new possibilities. Through fanfiction and other modes of counter-storytelling, young people of color have reinvisioned fantastic worlds that reflect their own experiences, their own lives. As Thomas powerfully asserts, “we dark girls deserve more, because we are more.”

The Dark Fantastic Details

TitleThe Dark Fantastic
Author
ReleaseMay 21st, 2019
PublisherNew York University Press
ISBN-139781479800650
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Race, Writing, Books About Books

The Dark Fantastic Review

  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    I’m going to write a longer review for Research on Diversity in Youth Literature, but I want to put a shorter one here since I just finished it about 30 minutes ago.As a Black girl nerd, I was beyond excited when I heard that this book was going to be a thing. I truly felt seen, like someone was going to finally present some of the conversations that me and my friends have been having in private or in closed social media groups. I want to say that I was NOT ready for this awesomeness. First, the I’m going to write a longer review for Research on Diversity in Youth Literature, but I want to put a shorter one here since I just finished it about 30 minutes ago.As a Black girl nerd, I was beyond excited when I heard that this book was going to be a thing. I truly felt seen, like someone was going to finally present some of the conversations that me and my friends have been having in private or in closed social media groups. I want to say that I was NOT ready for this awesomeness. First, the scholar in me had my pen out, underlining key phrases that I could use to bolster and/or ground some of my current work. Second, as a nerd who has many conversations online, I greatly appreciated the way that Thomas infused the words of university academics and public scholars. I do this in my own work, but I don’t see many people who will quote tweets, blogs, fan fiction, etc. There are everyday people doing important analyses, and Thomas ensures that their scholarship is included alongside university professors. That is powerful. I especially loved that there weren’t distinctions throughout to separate who had “knowledge”. Like, instead of saying Dr. this and university professor that to contrast working-class student writer or business owner who reads comics, she just used their names and what they wrote. I just don’t see that too often. Third, as someone who grew up on the stories my grandfather told me, where he weaved personal life stories to the show we watched together or the news story that we both read, Thomas weaves the personal, the creative, and the academic in a similar way. Reading the chapters felt like I was listening to my grandpa analyze tv, news, etc. Lastly, as a Black girl, this work was validating. I, too, loved Rue and lost it when she died. I grew up reading the Harry Potter books and watching the films, but I was always too scared to dress up for fear of being ostracized. I always wondered where I could be located in fan communities that always showed Black girls on the sidelines, but never on the field. I found my space (in my twenties) in the fantastic writings of Octavia Butler, Nnedi Okorafor, Nalo Hopkinson, and numerous others - all authors that are mentioned as writers who break the cycle of The Dark Fantastic through emancipation. Basically, Thomas shows us the cycle, but she also shows us how the cycle has been and can continue to be broken. Thomas’ work is essential reading. It shows us what happens to the endarkened in the Western, mainstream imaginative that centers whiteness. It shows us what we can do to alleviate the violence that not only happens to fictional characters, but also to real Black girls. It asks us to respond to the call and assist in breaking the cycle of The Dark Fantastic. Breaking the cycle is essential, for, as Thomas says, “resolving the crisis of race in our storied imagination has the potential to make our world anew” (p. 169).
    more
  • Julie Bozza
    January 1, 1970
    I came to this book for two reasons. One is that I’m a fan of BBC "Merlin", and I was happy to see the show finally being considered in an academic work. The other is that I’m a writer, and a White person, who is interested in writing non-White characters and mixed-race relationships – and the more I learn, the more I realise I still need to learn. Back in 2008 when "Merlin" first screened, I was delighted by the ways in which the showrunners mixed things up. Arthur wasn’t a noble and just king, I came to this book for two reasons. One is that I’m a fan of BBC "Merlin", and I was happy to see the show finally being considered in an academic work. The other is that I’m a writer, and a White person, who is interested in writing non-White characters and mixed-race relationships – and the more I learn, the more I realise I still need to learn. Back in 2008 when "Merlin" first screened, I was delighted by the ways in which the showrunners mixed things up. Arthur wasn’t a noble and just king, but a spoiled brat-prince. Merlin was a naïve youth of the same age as Arthur, and not in control of his magic or indeed anything else. And Gwen was not only a lowly servant but also Black, in a place where the ruling family and most (though not all) of the aristocracy and knights were White. I loved all of that, and very much enjoyed all the fanworks that celebrated Gwen. While the end of the last series was heartbreaking, I loved that Gwen ended up as Queen of Camelot in her own right. Ebony Elizabeth Thomas shows me, however, that wasn’t enough. While I would quibble with one aspect of her description of Gwen’s bleak ending – Gwen is not entirely alone as she has life-long friend Leon and long-time friend Gaius with her, among others – that’s not enough either. As Thomas says, if "Merlin" had ended after season four, Gwen would have had a fully happy ending: married to Arthur, crowned as Queen, and surrounded by friends including her brother Elyan. It would have been the sort of happy ending that is so rare or even non-existent for young Black women in our stories. The showrunners mixed things up in terms of the Arthurian legends, and are to be applauded for gifting us with a non-White Guinevere – but they didn’t take it far enough when it came to gifting her a happy ending in season five. It’s not enough to point out that the Arthurian legends always end in tragedy. As Thomas shows in her consideration of young Black female characters in "The Hunger Games", "The Vampire Diaries", and the "Harry Potter" ’verse, Gwen is not an isolated case. It’s not enough to claim that many of us fans (I hope the majority of us) enjoyed and celebrated Gwen in all aspects of her identity. While I tried to steer clear of it, I’m all too aware of the hostility that Gwen (and actor Angel Coulby) attracted as a person of colour – and waving the #NotAllFans flag misses the point. It’s not enough that Thomas’s young niece is already used to identifying with characters who are White. As a queer woman (and non-American!), I am used to identifying with characters outside my own identities, too. Needs must! But I have also had the privilege of identifying with a few characters who match me very closely indeed, and time and time again I’ve had that privilege reinforced by the happy endings awarded to White characters. It’s not enough. On one hand, I am (partially) heartened by the fact that we are obviously meant to care about and grieve for all those non-White (and gay and lesbian) characters who are killed off as the stories progress. On the other hand, it’s not enough. They deserve their share of fully explored storylines and happy endings, too. Thomas challenges us with the idea that this lack of full representation in our creative works is due to a lack of imagination. We can do better. We can imagine better. Let’s get in there and write better, too!#The publisher kindly gave me an ARC of this book via NetGalley, and I have also preordered a hardcover copy for myself via Amazon. The views expressed are my own, and are (always) still evolving.
    more
  • Seema Rao
    January 1, 1970
    Exceptional ~ Thought-provoking ~ Importanttl; dr: Forget you! Read this.Ebony Elizabeth Thomas is a well-known scholar, so I am not surprised her book is fantastic. She does what the best of academics should do--reframe what we think we know. The book is ostensibly about literature. But, really, it is about our society, and the ways literature reaffirms social norms, many of which are pernicious and racist. Her book is powerful and truthful. My favorite part of this book is how she subverts sur Exceptional ~ Thought-provoking ~ Importanttl; dr: Forget you! Read this.Ebony Elizabeth Thomas is a well-known scholar, so I am not surprised her book is fantastic. She does what the best of academics should do--reframe what we think we know. The book is ostensibly about literature. But, really, it is about our society, and the ways literature reaffirms social norms, many of which are pernicious and racist. Her book is powerful and truthful. My favorite part of this book is how she subverts surface diversity initiatives and shallow liberalism. Thomas using very current literature, like Hunger Games, as part of her analysis. This is academic but readable. Well-read, or so-called well-read, people should find this book. Much of how you see the way literature isn't working (or functions now) will change. I cannot recommend this book enough.Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • Pascale
    January 1, 1970
    Disclaimer: I received a copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was totally drawn to this title by the beautiful cover, and by the fact that I to fangirled hard over Harry Potter and the Hunger Girls. The other fandoms covered here (Vampire Diairies and Arthur) I honestly have not been able (or interested) in watching more than the pilots which I thought were cheezy and lame. Though I didn't care for the last two fandoms Thomas' writing on the subjects was strong Disclaimer: I received a copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was totally drawn to this title by the beautiful cover, and by the fact that I to fangirled hard over Harry Potter and the Hunger Girls. The other fandoms covered here (Vampire Diairies and Arthur) I honestly have not been able (or interested) in watching more than the pilots which I thought were cheezy and lame. Though I didn't care for the last two fandoms Thomas' writing on the subjects was strong enough to keep me going with the book. This is a tad academic in style, the topics make a bit more accessible to people who may not have read extensively on philosophy, literature, feminism, critical race theory etc. But I think by virtue of having started out as a PhD thesis (which I assume this was originally, not explicitly indicated anywhere) this had to be quite high level. I have studies a tad in my undergrad days of feminism, philosophy and critical race scholarship (did not many English courses so lit theory people you've got one on me!) and I was able to follow the arguments reasonably well. I thought the use of block quotes was excessive however, and could have definitely have used some summarization by the author - they did not have to be cited in their entirety, and I don't know that they were necessarily strong in support for the author's arguments. I liked the chapters on the Hunger Games and Arthur, thought the chapter on the Vampire Diaries went a little too much into the plot details of a show that I have zero interest in, and was quite disappointed with the 'Harry Potter Chapter'. I say disappointed because I thought Thomas would go into the same or more detail as the other works, especially since it is by far the biggest fandom, but it really just served for her to conclude the book. If it weren't for the block quotes on almost every page I would recommend this to people looking for an intro into feminism/critical race studies in literature/video, but really I think this will only be truly appreciated by fellow academics which is a shame.
    more
  • Gianna
    January 1, 1970
    While this book was absolutely interesting and definitely a good exploration of race in young adult fiction and media, and I especially learned a lot from the chapter about The Hunger Games, I do think this book is better if you're familiar with the four different media discussed. I have never seen BBC's Merlin and I have only seen a few season of the Vampire Diaries, so those chapters were more difficult to read through, and the chapter about Harry Potter felt a little disappointing, since it w While this book was absolutely interesting and definitely a good exploration of race in young adult fiction and media, and I especially learned a lot from the chapter about The Hunger Games, I do think this book is better if you're familiar with the four different media discussed. I have never seen BBC's Merlin and I have only seen a few season of the Vampire Diaries, so those chapters were more difficult to read through, and the chapter about Harry Potter felt a little disappointing, since it wasn't as in depth as the other chapters had been.But leaving that aside, it was definitely an interesting read. I received an ARC of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • Susie Dumond
    January 1, 1970
    A really wonderful examination of black characters in white-led popular fantasy series, including the original text, adaptations, and fan responses. I love those critical examination of race in fandoms and the roles black female characters are assigned to by readers' biases. This book is a must-read if you're interested in diverse fantasy!Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
    more
  • Daphne
    January 1, 1970
    Code Switch podcast: Not-So-Simple Questions From Code Switch Listenershttps://one.npr.org/i/520150741:52019...
  • Kendra
    January 1, 1970
    I have mixed responses to this book. On the one hand, it's a very important study of how race is used, viewed, and created in children's and YA literature. Thomas discusses various authors' approaches to race in their works and in the adaptations and fan creations made of them, with studies on Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Merlin, and The Vampire Diaries. This discussion can be nuanced and thoughtful, but at times it is repetitive and superficial, relying on single statements by fans that are I have mixed responses to this book. On the one hand, it's a very important study of how race is used, viewed, and created in children's and YA literature. Thomas discusses various authors' approaches to race in their works and in the adaptations and fan creations made of them, with studies on Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Merlin, and The Vampire Diaries. This discussion can be nuanced and thoughtful, but at times it is repetitive and superficial, relying on single statements by fans that are cherry-picked to fit Thomas's hypothesis, On the other hand, Thomas's work is clearly influenced by her involvement in HP fanfiction and is still smarting from being criticized for using another writer's texts in her own FF. In any other field this would be outright plagiarism, but Thomas makes the case that in FF, it is acceptable. Her argument is weak, though, especially as now she is a PhD who should have some scholarly and personal distance from her own, younger, naive understanding of how ethics in fiction works, fan or professional. In any case, I found the book to be unready for publication: it needs better-integrated discussions of theory (not just dropping in a useful quote here and there, but real, deep engagement); it needs more clarity and focus in each chapter/case study (these read like student papers that had not been outlined well); and it needs editing, both developmental and copy-. The book feels rushed, unpolished, and rather simplistic. Thomas has a lot of important things to say about race, fantasy, and fanfiction, but this book was a big disappointment,
    more
  • Alice, as in Wonderland
    January 1, 1970
    I really like both the conceit of the book and the commentary that the book provides. It's a discussion that's needed by fandoms and fantasy fiction in general, and it's greatly satisfying to know that a book like this was published at all. Thomas provides a lot of personal and thoughtful insight to the place of black women in fantasy stories and fiction, and brings her shameless (a word I only use in the sense that being part of internet fandoms seems to often come with embarrassment in general I really like both the conceit of the book and the commentary that the book provides. It's a discussion that's needed by fandoms and fantasy fiction in general, and it's greatly satisfying to know that a book like this was published at all. Thomas provides a lot of personal and thoughtful insight to the place of black women in fantasy stories and fiction, and brings her shameless (a word I only use in the sense that being part of internet fandoms seems to often come with embarrassment in general society) connection to internet fan culture and allows those people to be better represented and heard. I've watched Merlin and read Harry Potter, so the discussion of Hunger Games and Vampires Diaries was new to me, and also extremely sad to watch her describe all the misery of wanting best for a PoC character that is underappreciated by fandom and then having that curtailed at every turn. A misery that I'm not unused to. Her connecting the future of these fictions to her niece and the painful cognizance a lot of creators of color have when new art is created and the influence it can potentially have was really well done, not to mention the underlying frustrations when a new work can be groundbreaking, but sidesteps its true potential.The downside is that I wish this book was a lot longer and a bit more broad. It's fair to say that it reads like many academic books do, i.e. like a final essay in book format, which is fine, but I wish there could be a section and a large elaboration on internet fan culture, and more examples than the major four, particularly because a lot of them are mentioned (such as Abbie Mills of Sleepy Hollow) but aren't given their own sections. In a way, I somewhat wish it wasn't so specific to those characters? Or to use those characters as archetypes of how other black female characters have been channeled into those 4 paths over and over again. I was expecting a little more commentary in the Hermione chapter about racebending - but maybe I just want to shake my fist at Rowling again. I was also expecting a little more about how "darkness" is used in fantasy fiction, starting from Tolkein and used fairly consistently everywhere in fantasy, but maybe another book?Overall, a book I appreciated reading a lot, but also wish I was reading more of. Maybe in the future! I hope to read so much more!
    more
  • Margaryta
    January 1, 1970
    “The Dark Fantastic” is an excellent, and in some cases eye-opening, book that as a White reader made me aware of complexities and perspectives that I hadn’t previously considered, especially in the case of Rue from “The Hunger Games”. However, despite Thomas’ revolutionary study in the spec genre which, understandably, means working with material that doesn’t have as much academic writing about it, “The Dark Fantastic” truly suffers from a rather jumbled structure that, especially in the last c “The Dark Fantastic” is an excellent, and in some cases eye-opening, book that as a White reader made me aware of complexities and perspectives that I hadn’t previously considered, especially in the case of Rue from “The Hunger Games”. However, despite Thomas’ revolutionary study in the spec genre which, understandably, means working with material that doesn’t have as much academic writing about it, “The Dark Fantastic” truly suffers from a rather jumbled structure that, especially in the last chapter about “Harry Potter”, feels like it was put into a blender, the good intentions and ideas overwhelmingly garbled. The book lacks a stricter structure, especially within each chapter, as Thomas often gets sidetracked by discussing something else, like in the last chapter where, sharply, she begins discussing comic books in more detail and with a greater context than was necessary for her argument. Probably the most frustrating aspect was my struggle trying to figure out whether Thomas’ frequent, and sometimes lengthy, biographical asides about her own fangirling past was that relevant to her argument. Sure, it was nice, and at times beneficial, to know she wrote fanfiction, especially when she used it to discuss problems within the various fan communities. But often it felt rather gratuitous and unnecessary and the space that could have been used to really flesh out her arguments and draw conclusions that would serve as jump-off points for future studies was instead used in a more biographical way than necessary. I didn’t understand nor see all of the issues that Thomas wrote about in “The Dark Fantastic”, part of which is because I will never be able to understand how a Black reader/viewer feels about issues of representations, but it made me want to work to make things better and to try to understand better. This book is a great introduction into the topic, especially when it comes to such popular series as “The Hunger Games”, “Merlin”, “Vampire Diaries”, and “Harry Potter”, yet it was much messier than I was expecting and somewhat less academic than I think the book deserves.
    more
  • Alison
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to NetGalley and NYU Press for providing me with an eARC!This took me so long to read because I was annotating. I am not a fast annotater. I enjoyed a lot of this book. I am a black woman who reads primarily fantasy, for reference.It articulated a lot of my gripes with the way that books with black characters are expected to operate, and do operate in literature. One of the things that stood out to me was the idea that so many things with black characters are about… sad shit. Oppressio Thank you to NetGalley and NYU Press for providing me with an eARC!This took me so long to read because I was annotating. I am not a fast annotater. I enjoyed a lot of this book. I am a black woman who reads primarily fantasy, for reference.It articulated a lot of my gripes with the way that books with black characters are expected to operate, and do operate in literature. One of the things that stood out to me was the idea that so many things with black characters are about… sad shit. Oppression, slavery, racism, etc. This book brings up how we use worldly expectations, and expectations from other, older media to shape our perspective of what media should look like. The writing is… on par with a lot of academic work. Interesting in subject matter, but slightly dry prose. The writing is accessible not particularly dense, so it wasn’t a total slog, but I did find myself having to reread passages occasionally. As an avid consumer of young adult books (yes, teens and YA) I wish this book delved deeper into that topic. Especially because the YA community is so active online, and responses to works are discusses so publicly. (This is touched on in The Dark Fantastic, but I wanted some more.) I appreciate her touching on the darker side of fandom culture. It can get wild in some of these fandom arguments, with accusations, and whatnot. I don’t feel that she explained what happened to her fully, though.
    more
  • Aryssa
    January 1, 1970
    I won't attempt to describe the Dark Fantastic here because I think the author does a much better job, but this book is a great deep dive into race, fantasy, fandom, and how the world reacts when you cast a black woman in a role you might expect to be played by a white woman, and how the show or book handles that. The major fandoms discussed include Merlin, Vampire Diaries, The Hunger Games, and Harry Potter. I'm only familiar with the later two, but it was still easy to follow along. The first I won't attempt to describe the Dark Fantastic here because I think the author does a much better job, but this book is a great deep dive into race, fantasy, fandom, and how the world reacts when you cast a black woman in a role you might expect to be played by a white woman, and how the show or book handles that. The major fandoms discussed include Merlin, Vampire Diaries, The Hunger Games, and Harry Potter. I'm only familiar with the later two, but it was still easy to follow along. The first three of these chapters follow a similar formula of looking at how the character is handled in the Dark Fantastic archetype, but the final chapter talks more about fandom and fanfiction. I was actually most looking forward to the final chapter on Harry Potter because I thought it would focus heavily on the choice of Cursed Child as a play to cast a black Hermione (and the backlash) but it just barely touched on that. I was a little disappointed, not gunna lie. I really enjoyed the discussion of Rue in the Hunger Games though and it definitely primed me for understanding the rest of the book. If you're skeptical about literary criticism, don't be scared away from this book. It's fandom heavy and well written and also pretty short, under 200 pages, so worth your investment. 
    more
  • Des
    January 1, 1970
    Thanking NetGalley and the Publisher for the ARCIt took me a while to finish the book. Well, don't take me wrong. It is not that the book is bad. It is just because it took me a while to get myself engaged to this book. The writing is good tho along with those interesting subject matters and the critical opinion from the academic works. But I just feel that those are dry and couldn't get the chemistry from it. I often would have to go back and forth just to reread the parts I could not get. I wi Thanking NetGalley and the Publisher for the ARCIt took me a while to finish the book. Well, don't take me wrong. It is not that the book is bad. It is just because it took me a while to get myself engaged to this book. The writing is good tho along with those interesting subject matters and the critical opinion from the academic works. But I just feel that those are dry and couldn't get the chemistry from it. I often would have to go back and forth just to reread the parts I could not get. I wish that the author could develop this book into an interesting narrow topic. I admire her ability to bring the sides either it is bright or darker side of the culture but she also needs to provide further explanation on it.
    more
  • Anna-Maria
    January 1, 1970
    Last year, and all through last January, I happened to read a variety of old and new fantasy novels in diverse settings, and I’m overjoyed at the emergence and success of more and more #ownvoices novels these days! Seeing these positive developments towards a broader range of speculative fiction stories, I sought to jump right into some non-fiction regarding the topic, to get a better idea about the theory behind representation in SFF, and found this book by chance.Now, „The Dark Fantastic“ read Last year, and all through last January, I happened to read a variety of old and new fantasy novels in diverse settings, and I’m overjoyed at the emergence and success of more and more #ownvoices novels these days! Seeing these positive developments towards a broader range of speculative fiction stories, I sought to jump right into some non-fiction regarding the topic, to get a better idea about the theory behind representation in SFF, and found this book by chance.Now, „The Dark Fantastic“ reads like a scientific paper at first, and I found the writing accordingly dull during the introduction, but Thomas already raises important questions in her opening chapter; those of accessibility of this „traditionally white“ genre to POC and especially young people of every ethnicity, of modern „participatory“ takes on stories and how they open up media to everyone’s personal but also collective interpretation, and of stereotyping characters of colour that already exist in speculative fiction (though this problem is not entirely explored in the following chapters). I found her concept of the Dark Other and the cycle she passes through fascinating.This read was far more engaging once it moved on to the analysis of specific franchizes, although, sadly, only four examples of POC in big fandoms were given, namely „The Hunger Games“, „Harry Potter“, „The Vampire Diaries“, and BBC’s „Merlin“, of which I am familiar with only the former two. This provides readers with only a limited spectrum of diverse story arcs, and I was disappointed to find things missing that I had been looking forward to when picking up this book: exploration of POC representation in fantasy in the past (I can’t believe Tolkien’s Middle-Eastern coded Haradrim and other fictional but real-world inspired peoples that are clearly written as villainous/foreign/other were not discussed), positive examples of representation – in particular by POC authors – to look up and support, or even mentions of non-black diverse characters, in times when international politics are encouraging islamophobia. But I understand that these aren’t the topics of this particular work, and Thomas explains her reasons for tackling only the stories of female black characters early on. I absolutely loved the chapter about Collins‘ Rue! To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I read such an eloquent analysis of a character from recent literature that was not posted on tumblr. Speaking of which, fandom reactions on social media and casting choices are also a prominent and important issues in „The Dark Fantastic“. This also was probably the first time I was confronted with fandom citations imbedded into academic text, which, as a more or less active fangirl, I found interesting yet disconcerting (this is probably not the right word to use though).The fandom references were too personal for my taste at times (there was a shift from the professional academic writing oft Thomas' earlier parts to the self-centred discussion of the last chapter), and I also thought that some fandom contributions stood out as less well-composed than Thomas‘ own writing. I’ll just assume they weren’t originally written for printed publication, which is fine. As frequently mentioned in the text, this author has been fandom participant for longer than I can read, I just personally would have prefered keeping that aspect in a separate section of the book.„The Dark Fantastic“ is a cool work of non-fiction that will make readers think and reconsider, and it encouraged me to re-examine my own, white perspective. But it also lacked some answers to the central questions posed, and therefore might be not persuasive enough, for me at least. It just didn’t give me what I had wished for prior to reading it, namely a broad range of (positive) fantasy examples.*I received a digital copy through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • Marti Dolata
    January 1, 1970
    In Anya's review https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...She asked "Can you imagine growing up without stories and characters that you can identify with? " AS a 63 year old woman, yes I can. The great majority of stories that I read in elementary school had boys or men as the subjects with girls as supporting characters or door prizes if they showed up at all. Stories about girls usually had as their main goal winning the approval of men, so the sexism can be subtle. But white women have come a In Anya's review https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...She asked "Can you imagine growing up without stories and characters that you can identify with? " AS a 63 year old woman, yes I can. The great majority of stories that I read in elementary school had boys or men as the subjects with girls as supporting characters or door prizes if they showed up at all. Stories about girls usually had as their main goal winning the approval of men, so the sexism can be subtle. But white women have come a long way during my lifetime (but don't think the job is finished!) and now it's time to spread the representation to WOC. They have the double burden of overcoming not just racism but sexism which is also tied up with classism. Just appearing isn't enough, the thoughts and attitudes need to represent their concerns. Stories about real people rather than approved stereotypes. I am so tired of the sassy black best friend, and magic negros. Hopefully more books like this will help writers get there, as it is difficult to identify your own wrong assumptions when the cultural mediasphere has so much unspoken messaging about people's places in the world.
    more
  • Anya
    January 1, 1970
    Can you imagine growing up without stories and characters that you can identify with? What if all characters looked different from the way you do and villains and slaves were the ones who had the same appearance as you do? How would that make you feel?This book was a necessary eye opener and biography that analyzed Pop culture and media and how it affects children and teenagers of color.An extremely interesting read! Pick this one up if you like Roxane Gay or N.K. Jemisin. I'm looking forward to Can you imagine growing up without stories and characters that you can identify with? What if all characters looked different from the way you do and villains and slaves were the ones who had the same appearance as you do? How would that make you feel?This book was a necessary eye opener and biography that analyzed Pop culture and media and how it affects children and teenagers of color.An extremely interesting read! Pick this one up if you like Roxane Gay or N.K. Jemisin. I'm looking forward to more black Sci-Fi, fantasy and books in general.Thank you Netgalley for providing me with an eARC.
    more
  • Breanne Gibson
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you NYU Press and NetGalley for this review copy. The Dark Fantastic started out a bit slow for me, but it picked up with Chapter 2 when Thomas started addressing specific books and films. This book is well researched and organized. It explores characters of color in The Hunger Games, The Vampire Diaries, Merlin, and Harry Potter. Thomas addresses issues with problematic representations, invisibility, and long-held systemic racist views. This is an important book for librarians and literat Thank you NYU Press and NetGalley for this review copy. The Dark Fantastic started out a bit slow for me, but it picked up with Chapter 2 when Thomas started addressing specific books and films. This book is well researched and organized. It explores characters of color in The Hunger Games, The Vampire Diaries, Merlin, and Harry Potter. Thomas addresses issues with problematic representations, invisibility, and long-held systemic racist views. This is an important book for librarians and literature teachers to read to help make informed decisions about the stories we make available to our students.
    more
  • Fanna
    January 1, 1970
    || Reveals the diversity crisis|| Explores race in popular youth fiction|| Black feminism and Afrofuturism LISTS OR POSTS I'VE MENTIONED THIS BOOK IN8 MOST ANTICIPATED NON-FICTION BOOKS RELEASING IN 2019 || HELP YOURSELF & LEARN THROUGH THESE BOOKSBlog/Website | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram |
    more
  • Dustin Vann
    January 1, 1970
    What a wonderful work of literary criticism! Richly researched and beautifully written, THE DARK FANTASTIC is a body of work that can (and should) be read by all those invested in children’s and young adult literature, even if they are not in academia. Can’t wait to read more of Thomas’ work in the future!
    more
  • Jamie
    January 1, 1970
    The Dark Fantastic opens up a necessary conversation about the social dynamics at play in the fantasy and sci-fi world and fandoms. It was a slower read, written for an academic audience; which I think is important to legitimize this topic in academic discourse. At the same time, there were times I wanted more from the analysis. Thomas is doing important work though, the beginning of criticism that will allow those involved in these social, literary and gaming spaces to examine the systems we ar The Dark Fantastic opens up a necessary conversation about the social dynamics at play in the fantasy and sci-fi world and fandoms. It was a slower read, written for an academic audience; which I think is important to legitimize this topic in academic discourse. At the same time, there were times I wanted more from the analysis. Thomas is doing important work though, the beginning of criticism that will allow those involved in these social, literary and gaming spaces to examine the systems we are complicit in.
    more
  • Thien-An
    January 1, 1970
    A necessary look at who fantasy serves in the real world and who it diminishes. For those who are looking to write fantasy, this is an important reference in analyzing the heroes and the monsters. Prompts writers to ask themselves, who and why are you creating these monsters and are these racialized ideas?
    more
  • Eve Landers Stark
    January 1, 1970
    The Dark Fantastic is a scholarly book and, as a result, it reads like one. I am not a literary scholar so this made for a pretty slow and laborious read for me as I acquainted myself with various terms of art in critical race theory in literature. That said, I found myself learning a great deal not just about literature, but also about how literature is influenced by social norms as well as how literature affects our worldview. Thomas's book is a must for anyone who loves the fantasy genre and The Dark Fantastic is a scholarly book and, as a result, it reads like one. I am not a literary scholar so this made for a pretty slow and laborious read for me as I acquainted myself with various terms of art in critical race theory in literature. That said, I found myself learning a great deal not just about literature, but also about how literature is influenced by social norms as well as how literature affects our worldview. Thomas's book is a must for anyone who loves the fantasy genre and is curious about deeper analysis of the characters and themes as they relate to race. That said, if you are like me, know that it is not an easy read unless you are willing to take the time to get up to speed as you progress.Thank you Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, NYU Press, and Netgalley for providing me with the eARC in exchange for my honest feedback.
    more
Write a review