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Aired 11 months ago 29:32
Marlon James Builds His Own Damn Universe
When the cast of the film â€œThe Hobbitâ€ was first announced, Marlon James was dismayedâ€”though hardly surprisedâ€”by how white it was. A long-standing complaint of black fans of fantasy is that authors can imagine dwarves and elves and orcs, but not black characters. â€œI got so tired of this whole question of inclusion, and the backlash against asking to be included,â€ James tells the staff writer Jia Tolentino, â€œthat I said, â€˜Iâ€™m going to make my own damn universe.â€™ â€ That was one origin point of Jamesâ€™s â€œDark Starâ€ trilogy, which he describes as â€œan African â€˜Game of Thrones.â€™ â€ The first book, which is about to be published, is called â€œBlack Leopard, Red Wolf,â€ and it centers on the search for a missing boy by a disparate cast of characters. Another origin point for him was the TV show â€œThe Affairâ€; James borrowed the structural device of a story related by multiple characters whose perspectives donâ€™t quite add up. James talks about writing fantasy from a Caribbean perspective, where â€œmagical realismâ€ may not seem so magical.Â Plus, a successful C.E.O. says that activist investorsâ€™ quest for one quick stock bump after another is wrecking companies and eroding American competitiveness.