Wild Unicorn Herd

A POC/non-white/mixie nerd scrapbook. Because we’re awesome.


The Grossest Elf Sex Scene Ever


I am trying explain to a friend exactly how awful the fantasy books I read as a kid were, and this scene came to mind. If you don’t want to read about a human slurping glitter off an elf’s ears, don’t click this.

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Blame anotherwordformyth, who started talking about horrible fantasy with summer-of-supervillainy after…oh wait…after I posted that photo that reminded him of some Dresden Files book. So I guess it’s all my fault.

S H A R E  M Y  P A I N 



The constellation Orion—or, possibly, among some Mayan peoples, a turtle—rising over the temple of Kukulkan in the Mayan city of Chichen Itza…

And I cannot read this without thinking of Changes. Fuck Jim Butcher and his racism.

  • omg why did I google that?
  • so glad I never got into The Dresden Files
  • kids, just say no to boring-ass urban fantasy starring witeguise
  • what 
  • I thought I was already following you
  • well, fixed now

Author Scott Lynch responds to a critic of the character Zamira Drakasha, a black woman pirate in his fantasy book Red Seas Under Red Skies, the second novel of the Gentleman Bastard series.


The bolded sections represent quotes from the criticism he received. All the z-snaps are in order.

Your characters are unrealistic stereotpyes of political correctness. Is it really necessary for the sake of popular sensibilities to have in a fantasy what we have in the real world? I read fantasy to get away from politically correct cliches. 

God, yes! If there’s one thing fantasy is just crawling with these days it’s widowed black middle-aged pirate moms. 

Real sea pirates could not be controlled by women, they were vicous rapits and murderers and I am sorry to say it was a man’s world. It is unrealistic wish fulfilment for you and your readers to have so many female pirates, especially if you want to be politically correct about it!

First, I will pretend that your last sentence makes sense because it will save us all time. Second, now you’re pissing me off. 

You know what? Yeah, Zamira Drakasha, middle-aged pirate mother of two, is a wish-fulfillment fantasy. I realized this as she was evolving on the page, and you know what? I fucking embrace it. 

Why shouldn’t middle-aged mothers get a wish-fulfillment character, you sad little bigot? Everyone else does. H.L. Mencken once wrote that “Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.” I can’t think of anyone to whom that applies more than my own mom, and the mothers on my friends list, with the incredible demands on time and spirit they face in their efforts to raise their kids, preserve their families, and save their own identity/sanity into the bargain. 

Shit yes, Zamira Drakasha, leaping across the gap between burning ships with twin sabers in hand to kick in some fucking heads and sail off into the sunset with her toddlers in her arms and a hold full of plundered goods, is a wish-fulfillment fantasy from hell. I offer her up on a silver platter with a fucking bow on top; I hope she amuses and delights. In my fictional world, opportunities for butt-kicking do not cease merely because one isn’t a beautiful teenager or a muscle-wrapped font of testosterone. In my fictional universe, the main characters are a fat ugly guy and a skinny forgettable guy, with a supporting cast that includes “SBF, 41, nonsmoker, 2 children, buccaneer of no fixed abode, seeks unescorted merchant for light boarding, heavy plunder.”

You don’t like it? Don’t buy my books. Get your own fictional universe. Your cabbage-water vision of worldbuilding bores me to tears. 

As for the “man’s world” thing, religious sentiments and gender prejudices flow differently in this fictional world. Women are regarded as luckier, better sailors than men. It’s regarded as folly for a ship to put to sea without at least one female officer; there are several all-female naval military traditions dating back centuries, and Drakasha comes from one of them. As for claims to “realism,” your complaint is of a kind with those from bigoted hand-wringers who whine that women can’t possibly fly combat aircraft, command naval vessels, serve in infantry actions, work as firefighters, police officers, etc. despite the fact that they do all of those things— and are, for a certainty, doing them all somewhere at this very minute. Tell me that a fit fortyish woman with 25+ years of experience at sea and several decades of live bladefighting practice under her belt isn’t a threat when she runs across the deck toward you, and I’ll tell you something in return— you’re gonna die of stab wounds.

What you’re really complaining about isn’t the fact that my fiction violates some objective “reality,” but rather that it impinges upon your sad, dull little conception of how the world works. I’m not beholden to the confirmation of your prejudices; to be perfectly frank, the prospect of confining the female characters in my story to placid, helpless secondary places in the narrative is so goddamn boring that I would rather not write at all. I’m not writing history, I’m writing speculative fiction. Nobody’s going to force you to buy it. Conversely, you’re cracked if you think you can persuade me not to write about what amuses and excites me in deference to your vision, because your vision fucking sucks.

I do not expect to change your mind but i hope that you will at least consider that I and others will not be buying your work because of these issues. I have been reading science fiction and fantasy for years and i know that I speak for a great many people. I hope you might stop to think about the sales you will lose because you want to bring your political corectness and foul language into fantasy. if we wanted those things we could go to the movies. Think about this! 

Thank you for your sentiments. I offer you in exchange this engraved invitation to go piss up a hill, suitable for framing.

“If there’s one thing fantasy is just crawling with these days it’s widowed black middle-aged pirate moms” \*dying\*


a rec list of subjectively awesome under-appreciated YA bc all i get on tumblr is john green and thg and lately the mortal instruments and there is good YA i swear

  • White Cat by Holly Black: modern day urban fantasy noir with a MOC what else do you need ETA: HOLLY BLACK IN GENERAL OK
  • Liar by Justine Larbalestier: a beautiful mindfuck of truths you won’t believe by a bi WOC narrator
  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater: for an understanding between souls who eat and breath man-eating horses of the sea some like to call romance (do not go in expecting the hunger games whatever the description reads)
  • Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey: SUBVERTED PERSEPHONE - not explicitly but still. this book is entrenched in its New Zealand setting and built entirely on Maori myth
  • Bartimaeus trilogy by Jonathan Stroud: it’s abt magicians and stuff and w/e ACKNOWLEDGEMENT THAT THAT THEIR POWERS COME FROM SLAVERY AND BARTIMAEUS XEMSELF JUST READ
  • The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan: Supernatural set in the UK and this amoral pair of brothers get blackmailed by a pink-haired girl (who eventually becomes the heroine yay!) into helping her brother.
  • Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor: a collection of short stories based on Western fairyfolk written to wring out tears of awe.
  • Skin Hunger by Kathleen Dueythere are no words [tw: torture, abuse, it’s extremely disturbing so prepare for everything tbh]
  • Star Crossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce: a YA ASOFAI where religious sects fight for the throne centered on a thief with blood on her hands and magic in her veins. (it’s also a perfect winter read.)
  • Ash by Malinda Lo: a lesbian retelling of Cinderella and this is intensely biased as i have a crush on cinderella’s love interest
  • Eon by Alison Goodman: i can’t say anything for its authenticity but its world is based on ancient China and is a good deal less offensive than other ancient china recs i’ve seen, so for a change of setting.
  • Devil’s Kiss by Sarwat Chadda: also set in the UK, it stars a Middle-Eastern girl Templer Knight raised in the business.
  • Rampant by Diana Peterfreund: killer unicorns and the cloister of huntresses who kill them. that is all
  • Everything by Courtney Summers: her protagonists range from the terrible to the flawed and it’s a breath of fresh air in a genre where all main characters must be Good. [tw: for some transmisogyny in cracked up to be]
  • idk if she’s truly underappreciated on tumblr but i feel like no one reads her anyway and this is my list so
  • Everything by Melina Marchetta: it’s the soul nourishment you didn’t know you needed. i advise you buy half her books if buying bc you’ll be lost after the first one.

Samsara: a free indie game »

India, 1757: politics, power, ancient magic. You are an honoured adviser to Nawab of Bengal at a dangerous time. You are a low-caste Hindu, raised up because of your rare and powerful talent: the ability to walk in dreams.

The Afghan empire threatens war in the North, the Marathas to the West, and the British and French play games of deception & war on your land. At such a moment, someone with your - particular talents - could change the very course of history…

Works the same as Fallen London, if you’re familiar with that game.

Britain's first black community in Elizabethan London »


Most of us tend to think that black people came to Britain after the war - Caribbeans on the Empire Windrush in 1948, Bangladeshis after the 1971 war and Ugandan Asians after Idi Amin’s expulsion in 1972.

But, back in Shakespeare’s day, you could have met people from west Africa and even Bengal in the same London streets.

Of course, there were fewer, and they drew antipathy as well as fascination from the Tudor inhabitants, who had never seen black people before. But we know they lived, worked and intermarried, so it is fair to say that Britain’s first black community starts here.

There had been black people in Britain in Roman times, and they are found as musicians in the early Tudor period in England and Scotland.

So, tell me again that it’s not historically accurate to include POC in media set in Europe before slavery. Go on, reality & I will be here mocking you.

Srsly guise, even your precious northern/western Europe was not monochrome. Even when there weren’t actual communities, guess what? People travel.

The Bigass Things I Hate In Fantasy Maps Post


Most fantasy maps are really, really horrible. Here’s some of the worst offenders:

Eragon-world: The At Least One of Everything Fantasy Map.

Goodkind-land: The All the Borders Perfectly Follow Geographic Features Fantasy Map.

Kushiel-world: The Not Trying Hard Just Like Earth Fantasy Map.

Middle-Earth: The God Made It Fantasy Map.

Narnia: The Inconsistent Travel Distance Fantasy Map.

Valdemar: The Place Names Sound Really Made Up Fantasy Map.

Westeros: The Conveniently Paper-Shaped Continent Fantasy Map.

Randland: The Copying Stupid Things Tolkien Did Fantasy Map.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms: The Fantasy Maps Are Mainstream Fantasy Map.

  • OK i hate fantasy maps
  • i will literally check the book and put it back if it has a map
  • but still
  • a hundred thousand fucking kingdoms
  • and you don’t include a map?
  • if you had to make up a hundred thousand country names to put on the map
  • maybe you’d rethink the title of the book






you know those things that feminists and social revolutionaries who mostly consume fiction and analyze it to death (aka tumblr) are always wishing for

like gosh it would be fabulous if we had young adult fiction where all the main characters were of color

or where the most important relationship was between two women

or where no women were demonized or hated or belittled or unrealistic or scapegoats, where all women were treated with compassion and respect

or where the love interest actually genuinely respected and listened to the protagonist

or if fantasy used its freedom to investigate the shitty things that bind our world, colonialism and racism and misogyny and a thousand forms of structured oppression that we’re so deeply trenched in that it’s hard to see them properly

like ALL OF THOSE THINGS, if you told me that a book could give me ALL OF THOSE THINGS, I probably wouldn’t believe you, and if I did, I would be satisfied with it, I would be bloated by it, it would be all I would need or want

and I know I sound like an infomercial, but Cold Magic has all of that— AND MORE

it’s steampunk— genuinely steampunk the way steampunk was meant to be, reconstructing history from the ice age onwards to make you think about the way our history happened and how it formed the society that we assume is unavoidable and authentic and real

and this ice age went on longer, and the Roman Empire didn’t fall till the year 1000, and one of the principle arguments of the book, which takes place 800 years later, is that the Romans told lies

and plus there are sentient dinosaurs. 





and the heroine is brave and rude and a little cocky, and she holds her secrets tight to her chest, and she thinks with her feet and keeps going

and she gets the dreamiest unlikeliest most besotted love interest you’ve ever met, who takes an absurd amount of pride in his clothing, about whom the line exists “He was still very much in love with me. He looked angry about it.”

and let me remind you that both of them (plus everyone else of importance!!!) are of color

and there is magic, and magic interacting with politics, and with it investigations into freedom/power/safety/oppression/obligation/choice, and also it is sexy

and there are plagues and ghouls and a beautifully drawn spirit world, actually the most complete world building I’ve seen since His Dark Materials or Harry Potter

and the talking heads of poets

and also kissing, and hilariousness, and thrilling action, it’s described in the blurb as an Afro-Celtic Roman icepunk, like DO I HAVE TO BEAT YOU OVER THE HEAD WITH THIS BOOK TO MAKE YOU READ IT


this sounds like a dream come true


I Read it. Go read it. Go. Buy a second copy to lend to someone because it ain’t coming home.

And then go get the sequel and do the same thing.

People I have strict rules about buying series before they are done. Stop tempting me!