Well, I set off a bit of a firestorm last week, didn’t I?

I want to follow up on a point that came up in the discussion.

Kat said:

Ruth, I don’t like rape scenes, either, but it’s a fact of life just like murder, war, animal cruelty, and child abuse. If we wiped it out of our books, they’d be more pleasant, but they wouldn’t be real. Why not wipe out all the other distasteful stuff, too, then?

And then Greg responded:

I agree with Kat’s point about the medieval settings. To me, there are a lot of authors that just can’t make me buy it when they make women being warriors too common. I mean, in many fantasy stories it just doesn’t jive with the world the story is in. Heck for that matter look at the ratio in our world for women cops or combat soldiers to men. And we live in a society that has been motivated to be more accepting of that. Most fantasy worlds don’t have that motivation.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsSo, I just have a question: What is the benefit of realism as a rating mechanism for fantasy? Isn’t the point of fantasy that you can do things that aren’t real? If the society is internally consistent, why does it matter if it doesn’t look like our history? There are elves and trolls running around and you are concerned about realism as defined by historical earth standards?

Dear readers, what do you think? Do you care about realism when it comes to fantasy? Or are you looking for internal consistency? Or is it something else entirely? Let me know what you think and we’ll enter you into a drawing for the book of your choice from our stacks!


  • Ruth Arnell

    RUTH ARNELL (on FanLit's staff January 2009 — August 2013) earned a Ph.D. in political science and is a college professor in Idaho. From a young age she has maxed out her library card the way some people do credit cards. Ruth started reading fantasy with A Wrinkle in Time and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — books that still occupy an honored spot on her bookshelf today. Ruth and her husband have a young son, but their house is actually presided over by a flame-point Siamese who answers, sometimes, to the name of Griffon.

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