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10/6/2008 #1

Dear Reviews Galore, I am sure you are very busy with your own life and this is not necessarily a complaint but I just wanted to point something out about your review on my story the Sunlight after the Storm. There was a part where you mentioned that there it was way too modern and americanized. Does that mean it doesnt sound too british or it doesnt make you feel like it is in the 1940's? Now I admit that I have some problems with writing this story because the is my first time writing a story for Narnia and I know this is a epic movie that cant be overdone or doneover. Honestly I had no idea of how americanized it was until you mentioned it. And another thing is about the characterization of the story, I know that I don't exactly know or understand the narnia characters or how they act but it seems I may need alot of help with getting to know those characters like Susan and Lucy more to get them right. I thank you for taking the time to read this.

12/7/2008 #2

In the case of your story, there was nothing too glaring like putting a CD player in the 1940s or anything, but nothing, nothing about the story evokes a feel or flavor of the time or place. And the feeling of 1940s Britain is a fairly important element in both the books and the movies. If you hadn't said at the beginning that it was 1945 and England or something then I wouldn't have any idea when and where the story takes place, but if I had to guess I'd say modern day America. Part of this is just that you aren't descriptive enough, especially about setting. I can't really get a clear picture of Narnia either.

But the culture that your characters are from shoud come through in how they talk, their attitudes, their topics of conversation, how they interact with one another in general. Authors who are really good in the believability department will also generally research what kinds of foods they eat, how they dress, what types of objects they use, what they do for entertainment, etc.

You make a big deal out of your main character being black (she isn't properly "African American" as that term generally only applies to people living in the USA and wasn't used in the 1940s at any rate) but you don't give any sort of indication of what being black in 1940s England means. Or, for example, what being an immigrant in 1940s England means. Or what this girl's social class is (much more important in England than it is here)? You keep saying that she is from Jamaica, but in your story, Jamaica is just a name; you don't bring in anything about her culture.

12/8/2008 #3

Hello again, I know you are busy and I don't want to bother you about the story but I have had something bugging me on my mind lately and I just wanted to get it out. First thing about it was when you said that I made a big deal out of Laila being black, do you mean that I made it too obvious that she was a different race? Because I have tried to research as much as possible and didn't find anything about whats its like to be black in 1940's england. To tell the truth I came up with this idea because I went to go see the movie in theaters and i thought to myself ( I am black by the way) what if there was someone like me included in the Narnia stories and what would it be like. So I decided to give it a try. I know there is a very low possiblity that a black girl will enter narnia and become best friends with a british girl like Susan because obviously there is no black people at all in any of the Narnia stories. Not that that's a problem or anything but to me I just thought what if maybe things changed alittle and I brought a completely new face or race to the stories. How would people react and what would they say. I understand that this is a childrens story and none of it is real anways but I for one love to read about adventure and fantasy like Narnia and if I were the director or producer of these movies than I would add someone like Laila to the screen just to prove a point.

12/18/2008 . Edited 12/18/2008 #4

When I said that you make a big deal out of your main character being black I mostly meant that you seem to go on and on about it in the author's notes. At one point, I think that you even imply that people aren't reading your story because they are racist. I don't think it that unlikely that a black girl could come into Narnia and I don't know if the claim that black people are never portrayed in Narnia is true. Fan writers often depict the Calormenes whom Lewis simply described as "dark skin" as black, although others seem to picture them as Arabic or Indian. Also, the centaurs in the second movie were black. Granted, I do agree with you that Narnia could use more diversity, but I don't think that this is the ONLY story out there with a black character in it.

I understand that it is perhaps a hard topic to do research on. Oftentimes a memoir or autobiography from someone who lived in the time can be helpful in this area, though I don't know if anything like that is available. Or maybe you could find a forum to ask people who live in Britain about it. I know that Harry Potter fandom tends to have forums where people who live in America can ask British people about British things.

I think that it is great that you want to put a black character into Narnia, but I think that it is odd that you keep making such a big deal out of it in your author's notes when in the story itself it means little more than a character's hair color -- it is just a physical description. You don't give us an idea of what it means to be a black immigrant in 1940s England.

I would help you, but I don't know much about the topic. My general impression is that there were racist laws against black people in Britain during the period though racism wasn't as severe as in America and certainly not as severe as in the American South. I've heard that there were some black people living in Britain since the time of Elizabeth I, but that there was heavy immigration of them following World War II.

12/20/2008 #5
Sookies Best
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4/26/2012 #6
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