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Sword and Soul - The Wordsmith's Forge — LiveJournal
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Sword and Soul
filkferengi tipped me to the genre of "sword and soul," which is sword and sorcery style fantasy with black characters, usually inspired by African lore.  It spans fiction, art, and other media.  I'm happy to find that this subgenre has a name!  I've always enjoyed it, along with other African-inspired speculative fiction.  Among my early favorites were the short stories about Dossouye and her war-bull Gbo, subsequently gathered into a novel.

A good resource is Wadagu on Ning or on Facebook.  There is also Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology.  Read about sword and soul in publishing.  African Science Fiction has a good description of sword and soul too.

This is a timely discovery for me, because the recent discussion of "Always Chaotic Evil" races in fantasy eventually inspired my poem "A Hole in the Blanket," about a warrior woman whose younger brother is captured by Caucasian-featured demons.  So that's a sword and soul piece.  I think The Steamsmith series is kind of more ... soulpunk, if you will.  I really enjoy exploring cultural motifs from around the world.  Anybody can be a hero; anybody can be a villain.  And when you pick things that haven't been done often before, you get fresher stories.

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Comments
judifilksign From: judifilksign Date: July 1st, 2012 01:57 am (UTC) (Link)
My favorite antagonists in novels and stories are those who have their own good reasons for doing what they do other than just being a monster inside, with justifications that are consistent with their core beliefs, and not just for story convenience.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 1st, 2012 02:10 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

Mine too. It makes the conflict more convincing. Similarly, I like it in romances when the characters have genuine differences, not "misunderstandings" that can be handwaved away. I want to see them actually work through problems together.

Over in the Aether Dancer project, someone pitched a villain who is honorable, just doesn't mind using violence in pursuit of his goals. I'll probably pimp him when the voting starts on Monday. I really want to see this guy in action.
marina_bonomi From: marina_bonomi Date: July 1st, 2012 09:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for this, I've loved Dossouye from the start and I'm always looking for African-inspired speculative fiction.

By the way, it was funny to go over to Wadagu's facebook page and be greeted by my husband's 'Spellfilching': http://thaldir.deviantart.com/gallery/?offset=24#/d2wj8e7
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 1st, 2012 07:06 pm (UTC) (Link)

You're welcome!

>>Thank you for this, I've loved Dossouye from the start and I'm always looking for African-inspired speculative fiction.<<

Yay! I keep an eye out for ethnic-inspired speculative fiction because I like the variety. I'm on a few different feeds for that sort of thing, so periodically I find goodies.

>>By the way, it was funny to go over to Wadagu's facebook page and be greeted by my husband's 'Spellfilching':<<

I love that picture. Your husband is one of the few artists I know of with a strong knack for using unconventional angles that work instead of just looking awkward. meeksp is another. haikujaguar can do it well, but doesn't do it as often.
neo_prodigy From: neo_prodigy Date: July 1st, 2012 02:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
thank you so much for this.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 1st, 2012 07:30 pm (UTC) (Link)

You're welcome!

I enjoy spreading the word about good fiction. It's especially convenient when someone coins a name for a batch of stories that have something in common, thus making it easier to discuss them and find more.
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