Tag Archives: The Gathering

Cultural Diversity in Fiction

I tried writing a review on Kelley Armstrong’s The Gathering, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and it also made me think…about cultural diversity in fiction.

I like cultural diversity: different countries, different sexualities, different lifestyles, different viewpoints. It’s all interesting, and goes toward grounding fiction in reality, making it more accessible. But I prefer diversity to appear incidentally, and not just there to serve the plot.

You can have a gay character without making the story about sexuality. You can have a transgender character without making the story about gender studies. You can have a Christian character without making the story about religion.

And you can have a Native American character without mentioning shape-shifters. Though not in the case of The Gathering.

Maya Delaney was born and left abandoned as a baby in the US state of Oregon. She has Native American blood, but isn’t sure which tribe. Meanwhile, her adoptive father is Irish-American, and her adoptive mother is Canadian, from the Haida tribe of the First Nations. The Delaneys accepted jobs in the medical-research town of Salmon Creek on Vancouver Island in Canada, and Maya’s grown up here.

The medical research in Salmon Creek features Native American genetic manipulation, so Maya’s ethnicity serves the plot. But I don’t want characters to be a certain race to serve the plot – I want cultural diversity in fiction because we have cultural diversity in real life.

I live in Australia, and have Irish and Scottish ancestors. That doesn’t mean if I were a character I’d be all about the dreamtime, leprechauns, fae, or highlanders. Japanese characters wouldn’t just be about the samurai. Romanian characters wouldn’t always involve vampires. Norwegians would be about more than Norse gods. And hopefully there’d be more to Native American characters than shape-shifting.

It’s true that The Gathering couldn’t work without Maya’s Native American genes. But I want cultural diversity to not be a plot point. Can’t characters be diverse just because? Not to suit the plot, not to preach a message, but just because?

Characters, like people, should be more than the sum of their parts.

April 2011 Releases

Done with March 2011 Releases? Here are April 2011 Releases. To see further into the future, check Reading Wishlist.

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6 New Covers

Kelley Armstrong: The Gathering (UK) Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)
Stacey Jay: The Locket Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)
Tara Moss: The Blood Countess
Beth Revis: Across the Universe Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)
Angie Smibert: Memento Nora
Rachel Vincent: My Soul to Steal Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

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9 New Covers

Marta Acosta: Haunted Honeymoon Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)
Kelley Armstrong: The Gathering Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)
Megan Hart: Amidst a Crowd of Stars
Julia Karr: XVI Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)
Lora Leigh, Michelle Rowen, Jory Strong & Ava Gray: Primal Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)
Rebecca Lim: Mercy Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)
Yolanda Sfetsos: Touching Moonlight
Yolanda Sfetsos: Damaged
Alexander Gordon Smith: Fugitives Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

New US Pre-Order Links

Big apologies to my Facebook & Twitter followers who got all those pre-order updates today. I’m making this post with all the links, so I can delete the earlier messages on my Twitter feed. Should’ve thought to make a blog post in the first place, but I had no idea how much new stuff emerged during the past week.

Anyhoo, the following books are now available for US pre-order:

Ann Aguirre: Shady Lady Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (Worldwide)
Kelley Armstrong: The Gathering Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (Worldwide)
Anya Bast: Dark Enchantment Buy (US)
Leah Clifford: A Touch Mortal Buy (US)
Sara Creasy: Untitled 2nd novel Buy (US) Buy (CA)
Lauren Dane: Mesmerized Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)
Jeaniene Frost: This Side of the Grave Buy (US)
Kim Harrison: Pale Demon Buy (US)
Lora Leigh, Ava Gray, Michelle Rowen & Jory Strong: Primal Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)
Tracey O’hara: Death’s Sweet Embrace Buy (US) Buy (CA)
Joss Ware: Night Betrayed Buy (US)