the basic failure of most all speculative fiction, both fantasy and scifi, is the failure to examine its societal pre-assumptions. they show worlds 1000 years in the future or the past or in a wholly separate universe, inhabited by people who, despite the presence of magic or hypertechnology & a completely different material circumstances, still basically live & think like 20th century westerners — and when they don't, it's virtually always shown as a moral or intellectual failing

not only is it boring and bad writing, it's a betrayal of the genre's potential to show completely different societies, systems of epistemology and ethics, etc. instead they end up reinforcing it, by implicitly presenting the 'western worldview', which isn't even universal on present-day earth, as a fact of existence that applies even when the actual laws of nature are different

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one of the worst manifestations of this is putting in modern-day sexism and racism to make it more 'realistic' (game of thrones / asoiaf is an obvious offender here). racism was only invented under colonialism, and is unlikely to outlast it; sexism did exist, but in different forms & based on a different understanding of gender. by showing them existing in a world with dragons or ftl spaceships, you're justifying them in the present by making them out to be necessary or unavoidable

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@esvrld can I get your take on an idea? I've been playing with the idea of writing a mouse-guard fic that leans into the idea of a matriarchy. does that feel like leaning into the idea of this thread to you or more reproducing the problem? I'm genuinely not sure

@secretlySamantha oh, absolutely. i've never read mouse guard, but if you'd like to describe your concept in more detail, i can certainly give my opinion. dm me; i've this conversation muted so i won't get notifications from replies in it

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