Alternate universes and faraway lands are homes of sci-fi and fantasy stories, but they all have one thing in common; it doesn’t matter if the setting is in King’s Landing or the Middle East, pretty much everyone is white. Marlon James has an upcoming trilogy that will be a fantasy with much more diversity. That is the exact thing this genre needed.
James is the winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize for his book A Brief History of Seven Killings. His The Dark Star Trilogy is said to be the “African Game of Thrones.” The Boy, the Moon and the Tracker will be the main three characters in the book. They will try to find out what happened during a search for a missing child.
Our three main characters are mercenaries. They were hired to find a kidnapped child by a slave trader. At the beginning, there were eight mercenaries, but at the point where the book takes place, five of them are already dead, as well as the missing kid. Using not that reliable witness testimony, the book tries to realize what the missing pieces are. We are looking forward to some new magical techniques, underworld darkness, new dwarf race and much other geeky stuff.
Entertainment Weekly had an interview with James in which he stated that he is frustrated that there are much less characters of color in exciting fantasy books. So that inspired him to write The Dark Star Trilogy. James said:” Originally it came from a fight that I had with somebody. I think it was when they announced the casting for ‘The Hobbit’. I remember saying, ‘You know, if an Asian or a black hobbit came out of the Shire, nobody would have cared. We would have just moved on.’ And my friend said, ‘Well, Lord of the Rings is all this British and Celtic mythology.’ And I said, ‘Well, you know … Lord of the Rings isn’t real.’ It just turned into one of these arguments we have about diversity and inclusion.”
James talked about the Man of the World magazine about his standpoint and among other things, said:” I realized how sick and tired I was of arguing about whether there should be a black hobbit in Lord of the Rings.”
Some of the works that influenced on James to create the trilogy are Marvel’s Luke Cage, Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber and even some Salvador Dali paintings. But, the things that helped James the most to shape his books are The Epic of Askia Mohammed and The Epic of Son-Jara, the African epics. They were made around the time when Beowulf was created.
James also said to the Entertainment Weekly:” It made me start to think about the fantastic African epic traditions — some of the stories I grew up with, like ‘Anansi the Spider.’ I just realized that there is this huge pool of fantastic stories to draw from. It’s sort of like my being a scholar of African history and mythology, and my being a total sci-fi/fantasy geek who rereads things like The Mists of Avalon, they just sort of came together.”
By the end of 2017, James should finish the trilogy and their release is expected in the fall of 2018. 12-year-old geeks and sci-fi heads, prepare yourselves!