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Making a race out of "Cartoon Characters"


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#1 DHTSFWriter

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 12:18 AM

In a completed science fiction novel I am trying to publish, there is a race of artificial beings called "Cartoon Characters". They look like the ones you'd see on Saturday Mornings but they have grown beyond that and are not fighting for the same rights we humans take for granted. I was told by someone I can't turn cartoon characters into a race and that it was like a "crack pairing". I reference slavery and oppression of minorities going so far as to mention the Jewish holocaust. This person says that would be tasteless but why. I didn't make light of it and it was just one of the characters reading about it.

 

 

The other criticism is why didn't I use humans or androids or genetically engineered humans. I don't want to I want the race I created.

 

 

What's the opinion of the court?



#2 Anna L. Walls

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 04:00 AM

Toons - There's movies like that - I'm having a brain-freeze moment cause I can't remember the names. Why not? You might have a copy-right issue with familiar toons though


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#3 Leigh Teale

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 01:33 PM

Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Space Jam, I'm sure there are others.


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#4 A M Pierre

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 05:11 PM

I'm wondering whether they are literally cartoon characters from famous things come to life or creatures that either look like they are painted outlines or have the abnormally distorted proportions of cartoon characters and were so-named by humans that discovered them.

 

If they just have cartoonish proportions, you might call them an official name, like "Andraxians" or any other made-up sci-fi name, but have the humans that see them call them "Toons" or another derivation as a derogatory slang term - kind of like "prawns" in District 9.



#5 LucidDreamer

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 05:29 PM

You also need to make sure that your "cartoon characters" are NOT copies of actual cartoon figures that we all know and love. (I assume this it true). Otherwise you will encounter serious copyright problems.

 

As far as the "race" issue -- I think you are okay creating a new race of beings (this has been done with robots, androids, etc. in other stories). If they are fighting for their rights I think that's fine too. I don't know if I personally would reference the Holocaust though, unless you are really dealing with issues of genocide in your story. (I mean, Jews and other victims of the Holocaust were killed and imprisoned NOT because they were fighting for their rights, but simply because they existed). It really depends on the main themes of your book -- is it more about civil rights and personhood, or more about genocide and irrational predjudice/hatred?



#6 Elsinora

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 03:52 PM

I agree with your friend. As a Jew, I get really, really uncomfortable when Gentiles use the Holocaust as fodder for speculative fiction, and I know many black people who feel the same way about slavery. There's two main reasons for this: (1) there is so little representation of actual Jews and black people in literature--particularly in speculative fiction--that making up fictional races so you can address our very real issues without having to actually include us is a bit of a slap in the face, and (2) unless the writer does a lot of research (most don't) and is very, very careful (most aren't), it comes across as heavy-handed and profiting off the victims.

 

If you want to write about oppression, go ahead. But unless you are actually using black or Jewish characters (which you should consider--we're an underserved market!), please leave our history out.

 

Good luck.



#7 Midnight Whimsy

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 04:34 PM

I agree with your friend. As a Jew, I get really, really uncomfortable when Gentiles use the Holocaust as fodder for speculative fiction, and I know many black people who feel the same way about slavery. There's two main reasons for this: (1) there is so little representation of actual Jews and black people in literature--particularly in speculative fiction--that making up fictional races so you can address our very real issues without having to actually include us is a bit of a slap in the face, and (2) unless the writer does a lot of research (most don't) and is very, very careful (most aren't), it comes across as heavy-handed and profiting off the victims.

 

If you want to write about oppression, go ahead. But unless you are actually using black or Jewish characters (which you should consider--we're an underserved market!), please leave our history out.

 

Good luck.

 

I would agree. Don't specifically mention real historical events. After all, if the parallels in your novel are that strong, readers will be able to see them without having them shoved in their faces -- and you won't offend anyone in the process. Writing isn't about making every person love you, and you'll inevitably offend someone, but if you can avoid bringing real, tragic history into a spec fiction novel, I say take the tactful road on that particular issue.

 

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#8 CFAmick

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 09:56 AM

After all, if the parallels in your novel are that strong, readers will be able to see them without having them shoved in their faces.

 

Bingo.

 

Think many episodes of Star Trek.






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