Marlon James Writing An "African 'Game of Thrones'" And It's Going To Be Amazing
Fans of both literary fiction and fantasy, now is the time for rejoicing. Man Booker Prize winner and Jamaican author Marlon James's new novel will be an "African Game of Thrones ." Like I said, get excited now!
When asked what he's working on, James, whose novel A Brief History of Seven Killings won this year's Man Booker Prize, said that he plans to "geek the fuck out" and write his own fantasy series. "I realized how sick and tired I was of arguing about whether there should be a black hobbit in Lord of the Rings," James told Man of the World magazine:
African folklore is just as rich, and just as perverse as that shit. We have witches, we have demons, we have goblins, and mad kings. We have stories of royal succession that would put Wolf Hall to shame. We beat the Tudors two times over.
James is most definitely not the first author to use non-European mythology and history as the basis for fantasy. There are countless examples of such writers, ranging from Nigerian author Nnedi Okorafor to Korean-American young adult author Ellen Oh to Indian fantasy writer Samit Basu among many, many others. However, it's still true that European-based fantasy is still seen as the "default" in the genre. Which is why it's incredibly exciting to see an author who's recently won the English language's most prestigious literary award not only decide to try writing a fantasy novel, but to root the novel in non-European mythology.
The planned title for the novel, which doesn't have a release date yet, is Black Leopard, Red Wolf. There's no further information on which branches of African mythology James might be drawing on — there are, as one would imagine, quite a lot — but the book does promise to be quite the epic with things like "one hundred pages describing a village” and “a big appendix on magic techniques," according to James.
Whenever this book is getting here, it isn't soon enough!