Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Balancing Urban Fantasy and Beliefs

Two posts in one day? I know, it's hard to believe you get a double dose of moi. But since I'm trying to keep up with my own 30 day challenge and I missed one yesterday (the second day no less!) I'm doubling up today.

I wanted to see how other writers dealt with sensitivity when it comes to religion within their writing. When I wrote a blog about Urban Fantasy and using other backdrops rather than vampires an interesting comment came up. I would like to paste the comment made by Rosehips because I think it brings up an interesting point and a good topic for discussion.

On the suggestion you made to mine Indian "mythology"--here's the thing. Many Hindus have worshipped the deities and believed in the demons, etc., of this cosmology for thousands of years (which I realize you alluded to in your post). My concern is that by using it in fiction, I may disrespect the faith of those people. Did you ever watch Xena? She eventually starts traveling the world, and there's a series of episodes in India. And as I recall, a lot of Hindus objected to the episodes.

So the question would be, regardless of the religion or myth, how do we as writers give religions the reverence that the followers would expect and still use the ideas in our stories?

I know that for myself I have tried to use a blend of many cultures, myths, religions and my own smattering of ideas when it comes to belief in the otherworldly to make sure that I don't pick on any one theology. That said, I think that I still have the potential to offend by doing that very thing, by blending beliefs.

I am very curious to hear your thoughts on this as I at least want to show respect for other cultures and religions yet still be able to tap into the uniqueness that each culture brings and blend that with my stories.


Dr Kathie said...

Research, research, research. Making sure you accurately represent the views of the group.

nindogs said...

I agree with Kathie, but I think that as writers, we need to come to terms with the fact that even if you become an expert on the topic, you won't please everyone. There will always people that object to the use of religious deities and myths in fiction, and even your singular representation of such.

Given that we are talking about Urban Fantasy here though, I also think that readers should be going into this knowing that any creature or fiend found within would be a representation of the author's perspective as well.