1. afrodite7
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    afrodite7 Senior Member

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    ethnicity in fantasy novels

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by afrodite7, Nov 2, 2010.

    -i found myself writing my story and the aliens winded up different ethnicities! XD

    -the aliens ion my novel lived on earth so they kinda look like us:

    afraa'kaatra/shades=african

    val eura/lights= european

    no-eishun/toner =asian

    (also in my novel ,eye color has nothing to do with race,
    also some afraa'kaatra have red or blond hair,and some
    no-eishuns have red hair)

    melano/mixes=(latino,caribean,poly ethnic more than two races)

    -the characters (main couple)are tsuki-to (a no-eishun) and i'mani (an afraa'kaatra)

    does anyone else do that in fantasy novels?
     
  2. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    I do occasionally have ethnicities in my fantasy stories -- it's a neat bit of worldbuilding, because other worlds might divide ethnicity differently. I mean, one phenotype might be associated with a particular god's land, or perhaps people with straight black and brown hair are assumed to come from the same forebears, but the instant a straight-haired person has green or blue eyes their clanmates assume that something weird happened with magic or fae trickery, and the blue-eyed one is assumed to not be fully human...

    I don't know that I've ever seen aliens who're masquerading as humans call one another by different ethnicities based on the disguise. I suppose I'd believe it if "light" and "toned" and such referred to the ethnicity of the humans being mimicked, rather than the ethnicities of the aliens themselves.
     
  3. tcol4417
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    tcol4417 Member

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    It's rare to pick up a fantasy text - or any other grand narrative, really - where there isn't some sort of cultural divide. This isn't necessarily limited to skin colour or language.

    Hardcore fantasy titles usually have the discreet races, usually with some bad blood between them but it's not too difficult to have a single race divided by ancient vendettas.

    As often as it happens accidentally (Ishibalans in FMA, the armies in Adv. Wars, the culture in the Ice and Fire series) fictional races are usually attributed characteristics of existing cultures today, though which one is cause and effect is entirely up to you (Did the writer invent the philosophy or vice versa?)

    I personally prefer to avoid explicit parallels between existing world cultures because it boxes in your ability to grow and develop them later and if the readers catch on they may feel a bit cheated.
     
  4. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well mix it up a bit more. Skin colors is bound to climate, if the people have been stationary there for a few thousand of years, but things like slanted eyes, broad/thin noses, hair quality (Afro curly, Asian slick etc), body size isn't.

    I you will get a better result if you mix it up a little laving earths standard combination of the non color traits and doing something new. Pale folk with big blond afrohairs and so on.
     
  5. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Actually, body size and mass distribution are linked to climate. In cold climates a large body has a smaller skin surface to mass ratio and thus better able to retain heat. In a hot climate a smaller body or a thinner + taller body has a higher skin surface to mass ratio and can thus radiate heat more effectively. When you look at morphology in human groups living in their native climates, this is precisely what you see
     
  6. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yea but not as closely linked. Much of Asia has a mild climate and small people, in tropical climats all around the world you often find small people, Sweden is a could climate country but got the second tallest people in the world, and Kroatioa gor the tallest people in the world as a nation, and dont got an extreme climate either way.

    There is some statistical trusts in that, but body size demands on loads of other factors than the temperature of the climate.
     
  7. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    I'm writing a fantasy story that doesn't directly involve humans. But if and when I do, I will try this :D

    C.S. Lewis did create different races in his children series of books. I think he used them very well.
     
  8. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ursula K. Le Guin was also one of the early fantasy authors that addressed race and used a non Caucasian as main character.
     
  9. afrodite7
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    afrodite7 Senior Member

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    they actually only slightly look like humans,simular bone/body structure and hair types but:

    -they have wings on their heads
    -they have no pupils in their eyes
    -they have either black or white nails (vampires have retractable nails and fangs)
    -they're tears are red or black

    -i guess you have a point.they mostly look somewhat like us from living here for thousands of years,so hey evolved like we did.so there are ancient ones who look completely different...

    -as far as names like lighs,tones,shades,its a casual name they call one another even though there are in fact pale aafraa'katraa and no-eishuns,and very tanned val-eura.

    also,there is another subcategory of race:
    -water/ice users
    -fire users
    -earth/healers
    -wind/air users
    -ghost/phantoms/revanant (i'mani is one of these)

    --
    thanks though.i wanted to know if the division of character types would be too out there.i personally think it makes things more interesting,the
     
  10. TobiasJames
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    TobiasJames Contributing Member

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    If it's important to the story, try it out. If the distinction adds nothing to the story and only introduces unnecessary extra vocabulary, then don't.
     
  11. afrodite7
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    afrodite7 Senior Member

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    -okay,thank you everybody! it is ,in fact one of the important elements of my novel :)
     

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