Fantasy – and indeed most fiction – often involves bitter rivalries. Fights over a kingdom or territory, long-standing feuds where people no longer even remember why it began… Such opposing forces are also a key ingredient in organised crime narratives, though they are rarer within fantasy fiction.

When it comes to organised crime, our reference points tend to be cinematic, clichéd as all hell, and about the Mafia. Something with Al Pacino or Robert De Niro, or both! But when it comes to fantasy stories that fall into the organised crime category, well, it feels like we could count them on one hand.

Fonda Lee’s Green Bone Saga is one of these rare beasts, bringing organised crime to fantasy, and more than that – stepping outside the Italian Mafia stereotypes and introducing us to an Asian-gang inspired world. Here we talk to Fonda about why she wanted to merge these two distinct genres and why we all find organised crime stories so fascinating.

Mentioned in this episode:

  • The Godfather
  • The Untouchables
  • Goodfellas
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Fonda Lee is the author of the epic urban fantasy Green Bone Saga (beginning with Jade City and continuing in Jade War and Jade Legacy) and the science fiction novels ZeroboxerExo and Cross Fire.

Fonda is a winner of the World Fantasy Award, as well as a three-time winner of the Aurora Award, and a multiple finalist for the Nebula Award, the Locus Award, and the Oregon Book Award. Her novels have garnered multiple starred reviews, been included on numerous state reading lists, named Junior Library Guild selections, and appeared on Best of Year lists from NPR, Barnes & Noble, Syfy Wire, and others. Jade City has been translated in multiple languages and optioned for television development.

In addition, she has written acclaimed short fiction and comic books for Marvel. She is a frequent speaker and instructor at writing workshops including Viable Paradise and Clarion West.

Fonda is a former corporate strategist and black belt martial artist who loves action movies and Eggs Benedict. Born and raised in Canada, she currently resides in Portland, Oregon.