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Portal fantasy has long been a popular subgenre of fantasy, from classics such as The Chronicles of Narnia to Alice in Wonderland and newer interpretations like Lev Grossman’s The Magicians. One of my favourite novels published last year was Foz Meadows’ YA portal fantasy, An Accident of Stars. The novel played to many of the conventional tropes while also offering up some interesting and original subversions. Not only that, I felt that she explored issues of gender and sexuality in interesting ways. As a result, I wanted to talk to Foz about writing within this specific subgenre and the possibilities and limitations it presents for storytelling.
During our conversation, we touch on the idea of portal fantasy being the ultimate escapism, characters taking their own cultural baggage with them to a new world, dealing with consequences of a portal adventure within the story, and creating settings that deal with sexism head-on.
Foz is a regular blogger and can be found on twitter and tumblr at almost all hours. An Accident of Stars is available from Angry Robot books, with the follow-up, A Tyranny of Queens, due out in March 2017.
Texts mentioned in this episode include:
- The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
- How the Aliens From Alpha Centauri Invaded My Maths Class and Turned Me Into a Writer…and How You Can Be One Too by Jackie French
- The Wizard of Oz
- Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
- The Hidden Sea Tales by A. M. Dellamonica
- Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
- The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente