Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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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.
Tags: art, ethnic studies, fantasy, networking, reading, writing
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