One of the most important functions of fiction is that it can be used to provide greater insight on reality. By reframing a real social problem in an entirely new and unfamiliar context, that problem can be portrayed more objectively, divorced from the society that may normalize or excuse prejudices or social division. As writers have addressed before, allegory is a very common and a very positive element of fantasy, but even the noblest and most direct of allegories are not the same as visible and relatable minority representation in fantasy. Social research indicates that for minority groups, visibility in media is critical in creating a sense of importance and self-worth, something that metaphorical representation, however well-constructed, does not provide. Fortunately, there is no reason that a story cannot contain both an extended social metaphor and some trans wizards or dark-skinned fauns. Continue reading
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No, Really, I’m From the Future: A Review of X-Men: Days of Future Past
Let’s get one thing out of the way right off: just as denizens of the internet had feared, Pietro’s goggles were really awful. Actually, let’s get two things out of the way: although he was referred to as “Peter” throughout the film, the mutant known as Quicksilver is actually named Pietro, and his goggles were really awful. Having said that, however, I was very pleasantly surprised to find that the rest of X-Men: Days of Future Past exceeded my expectations. In spite of all the time travel malarkey, the plot was cohesive, the casting was stellar, and lots of geeks got to geek out about their favorite less-famous mutants.
Spoilers after the jump.