Fans are Slans?
June 14, 2014 10:17 AM   Subscribe

Who was it that spoke out against works of fiction with characters and plots similar to 'Slan,' in which the sympathetic protagonist is innately, biologically, invisibly superior or special for some reason, and is persecuted or otherwise struggles because of it?

I recall reading, years ago, an essay or blog post (perhaps written by a novelist or other writer) that criticized works of fiction with "Slan-like" plots: In which the protagonist is invisibly "special" for some reason, not through any effort of their own, but instead by birth. Examples cited in the essay included Paul Atreides in 'Dune' and Luke Skywalker in 'Star Wars.'

The author was worried by how common such works are, and thought they inspired poor attitudes amongst readers. It included a sentence that said something to the effect of "I am always wary of stories that show 'Slan-like' qualities."

Ring any bells? I thought it was an interesting piece of criticism, and I would like to find it again. (One would think this would be easy to find using Google because of the specific keywords, there are a hell of a lot of highly-ranked pages out there reference common science fiction titles. Google's silent fuzziness is not helping, either.)
posted by Verg to Media & Arts (3 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I don't know that he mentions Dune, but this sounds a lot like David Brin on Star Wars. Apparently Brin has a number of essays on this theme, so you might try searching with his name as one of your terms to see which of the others might be the one you're looking for if that's not it.
posted by immlass at 12:12 PM on June 14, 2014 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: immlass gets it in one!

In the meantime, the closest thing I found to the topic was this essay on "the anti-SF novel," which ends up being interesting on its own.
posted by Verg at 1:00 PM on June 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

This? (or the article it links to at the bottom?)
posted by Sys Rq at 5:58 PM on June 14, 2014

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