Dealing with problematic classics

[…] many other authors have used their fiction to interrogate and offer a corrective to the aspects of their chosen genre that should be questioned and addressed, and this has been a tradition of fantastic literature from early on. Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea novels pushed back against the conception of the fantasy novel as violent quest, and also featured a dark-skinned protagonist in the first book, and a middle-aged woman as the central character of the fourth novel. Saladin Ahmed and N.K. Jemisin (among others) have pushed back against the idea that fantasy settings have to be Eurocentric just because that’s the traditional default. I’m currently reading The Bannerless Saga by Carrie Vaughn, which critiques and subverts the familiar post-apocalyptic narrative of humans collapsing into chaos, replacing it with an entertaining story about family, feminism, and the importance of community. There are also so many great feminist reimaginings or reinterpretations of fairy tales and folklore (by writers like Robin McKinley and Angela Carter, to name just two).

— from “Problematic Classics: Four Questions to Ask When Beloved Books Haven’t Aged Well” by Matt Mikalatos at