martes, 27 de junio de 2017

WILL THEY GET IT RIGHT?

Once upon a time, there was a young-adult series of girl-power-themed feminist fantasy with so much worldbuilding of an early-modern-style universe, so vivid characters, and so vivid descriptions of action scenes that the mistress of this blog fell in love with it at first sight. She purchased both the first and the second book out of four in her mother tongue -- but she kept waiting for the third one year, even though it had been released abroad (in the Anglosphere and Northern Europe, leaving it half-translated in the Mediterranean including France). This was a serious issue because none of the books was a stand-alone; there was an overarching storyline that opened in the first book and came to a satisfactory happy ending in the fourth.
She was instantly reminded of the last five ASoUE books by Lemony Snicket, which she never would have read if she never had left Spain for Scandinavia during the summer holidays.
If not for the intervention of her good fairy godperson --whose name I am inclined not to mention--, she wouldn't have come across the third and fourth books in this overarching story of the Waterfire Saga nor kept hanging on the edge of her seat.
Still, the Waterfire Saga wiki seriously needs more loving. And, in spite of being rife with various tropes left and right and everywhere, it utterly lacks a TVTropes page, aside from AO3 fanfiction, and the fanart is few and far between.
Nowadays, another young-adult series of girl-power-themed feminist fantasy (or feminist period piece?) sees the light in Spain. This one stars a multinational team of action girls with diverse personalities as well, including an Asian and a Scandinavian member. There are the eighteenth-century real-world cultures instead of counterpart cultures, but still the settings, characters, and action scenes are so vivid that you can feel them. ***Expect officers in period uniform!!*** The author is a well-travelled Finnish woman raised on a diet of Shakespeare that encouraged her to write fiction.
Planeta claims Mintie Das's Storm Sisters book series, whose first book I gave myself as a self-gift quite recently, is a duology, when in reality it's a five-book saga that is most likely to follow an overarching continuity like the Waterfire saga. And why?
Because Planeta has only bought the rights to the first two books. I believe they did the same with the Waterfire saga and left it untranslated halfway across the series. Just in case of... In case of what?
Girl-power-themed fantasy and period pieces are just not that high in demand, at least in this country (the diplomat and smart girl of the Five-Girl Band in Storm Sisters, Raquel, AKA "Embajadora", is a Spanish foreign service brat --will that affect the purchase of further rights?). Maybe it's because of the Girl-Show Ghetto stereotype. It is the nature of the general public to generalise...

The expectation here (at least of the mainstream) is that a show featuring a female lead might be preachy and/or tend to bash men a lot, and this perception is not without merit.

Again, just like the Fantasy Ghetto (even worse, the Flintlock/Gaslamp Fantasy Ghetto), the general public, the mainstream, has these stereotypes about certain media that appear to be intended for a niche demographic.

The roundabout "point," for me at least, is that this question comes up a lot, and it always bugs me because there seems to be this unspoken assumption that if this game is about Romance and it's For Girls then that makes it worse. Whenever someone asks me this question in an interview I feel like the unspoken question is more like "Games made for women can't possibly be good because they're about dumb things like romance, so can you explain why I should care about this game?" ... If you just aren't keen on romance, fine, romance isn't for everyone and there's nothing wrong with that. What I'd just like to see less of is this conflation of "for women" with "bad."
Ben Bateman, responding to a question about whether the romance aspect of Sweet Fuse At Your Side is "overdone."
"Let's be very honest about something. The quickest way for any work of art, fiction, or other pop culture ephemera to cease being taken seriously is for the broader culture to intuit that it was made for or enjoyable by women, especially teenage girls. This is not up for debate, we're not adding a feminist argument here, all you need to do is live in the culture and look around a little, and you already know this is a fact."
Bob Chipman discussing the backlash.

Before skipping on to the reviews of the two last Waterfire books and the first Storm Sisters book, I would like to ponder on the subject. Will the latter series get left untranslated half-way across its Spanish run? Or will the mainstream and Planeta finally get it right?

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