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Day 07 – Least favorite plot device employed by way too many books you actually enjoyed otherwise

There are lots of plot devices I dislike, but the one that most irks me and occurs with frequency in books I actually enjoy has to be Magical White Guy Out Of Water. I'm shooting particular accusatory stares in Neil Gaiman's direction here. Neverwhere, Anansi Boys, American Gods, all revolve around a similar "Here is an ordinary guy just like you, and now look, he has entered a world of strange things, and I can use his naivete to explain the wonderful world I have created to you, the reader!"

And of course Magical White Guy always turns out not to have merely stumbled into this world but also to play some pivotal role or be somehow Very Important. Because of course the locals couldn't possibly match up to his awesomeness (unless the locals are the Marquis de Carabas, of course).

And it's not just Neil Gaiman that's guilty, Mieville did it as well with Kraken, and countless trashy "Modern day guy stumbles through portal to fantasy kingdom" fantasy novels. Also Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, but those books were toss anyway, as already mentioned.

Date: 2010-08-31 10:16 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] josy
As I mentioned over the weekend, I read Fat Charlie Nancy, the son of an African god, as black. It's not really race that's the underlying issue, I guess, but Fat Charlie's status as an outsider in the magical world.

The same trope is rather painfully (and obviously) exhibited in Avatar.


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October 2010

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