lonely planet for the fantasy set | OUTVisions for LGBT Professionals

lonely planet for the fantasy set

rising above cliche

lonely planet for the fantasy set
alex johnston

Child of a Hidden Sea, by A.M. Dellamonica; Published by Tor Books, Available in Hardcover (2014)

In time honoured genre tradition, Sophie Hansa has been plucked from her normal existence in contemporary San Francisco, into a fantastic world of trackless oceans; renaissance cultures, daring pirates, and omnipresent feudal intrigue. Somewhat adrift and rootless in our world, in this newly discovered world she is… well okay she’s not actually a princess, but she’s certainly a Person of Interest in the high level political maneuverings of The Fleet – a sort of Holy Roman Empire / United Nations for a world made exclusively of island kingdoms.

When using tropes as well as established as these, the fiction rises above cliché on the strength of two things: the world and the eyes through which we see it. Dellamonica’s viewpoint character is quite well equipped for her displacement – she is resourceful and quick to apply herself to solving some of the many problems her sudden appearance seems to have caused. Her passionate engagement with her surroundings makes her pleasant company and a good companion for exploring. The world is also solid and interesting: a world of vast oceans, it is alive with lovingly rendered flora and fauna… and no giant mid-Pacific garbage patch full of plastic bags. If Tolkien’s Middle Earth is a Baedecker’s guide to a lost idyllic England… with orcs; surely Dellamonica’s world of Stormwrack is the Lonely Planet handbook for eco-tourist fantasy lovers… with magic.

As LGBT lit, it is definitely in the “gay foil” rather than “gay protagonist” category, but there is an awareness of sexuality and tolerance that runs through the book and demonstrates that her queer characters are always more than just tokens.

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Authoralex johnston

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