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Talia Franks

Talia Franks (they/them) is a poet, writer, and translator born and raised in Massachusetts. They are an alum of the Bread Loaf Translators' Conference and of the Columbia Publishing Course, and earned a Master of Arts in Comparative Humanities from Brandeis University. Talia writes regularly on Word-for-Sense and Other Stories and they have contributed articles to both Black Girls Create and Nerdist. They've also written reviews of poetry and prose in translation for Three Percent, and their poetry has appeared in the Brandeis University publications Jaded and Ebony Axis. When not reading, writing, or translating Talia enjoys hiking, meditation, spending time with friends and family, indexing their personal library, and trying to find more time in their schedule to read. You can find Talia on Instagram and Twitter as @talia_franks and you can support Talia on Ko-fi or Patreon.

2 Comments

  1. Isa (thatwriter132)
    October 22, 2020 @ 21:10

    I’m definitely interested in seeing what your thoughts are on the rest of the series (and the related series) when you get there! In terms of queer representation, this is something that I don’t think Riordan was thinking much about in his earlier books, but he does have more representation in his later books (I’m thinking more of The Heroes of Olympus/Trials of Apollo/Magnus Chase). Without going into spoilers for Percy Jackson specifically, my feelings about his queer representation is mixed, though I’m glad that he has gone in that direction! (As opposed to retroactively queering characters or ignoring representation all together, like some authors. He knows he has a large audience of young people looking for representation.)

    For Artemis and her hunters, I loved reading about your take on them. My guess is that he chose the younger age range to appeal to that age group–as someone who was around Percy’s age when I first started reading these, bow-wielding teenagers definitely appealed. Which may not be the best excuse for aging down a group of females who could definitely be read as queer. If my memory serves me correctly, there are other characters from the mythos who he could have aged down, but kept in the adult age range, so it definitely would have been interesting to see what direction he would have gone in if he didn’t age Artemis and her hunters down. (Though, I guess that is what fanfiction/writing is for–answering the what ifs.)

    I haven’t really done a reread of any of the Percy Jackson books since they’ve come out, but it’s nice seeing an adult perspective on the books! I’m now considering a reread. 🙂

    Reply

    • Talia
      October 22, 2020 @ 23:26

      Thank you for this thoughtful comment! I’ve heard from a lot of Riordan’s readers that the later books get a lot better with regard to queer representation, which is a large part of why I am sticking things out as of right now but, whew, it’s hard at the moment. I was very frustrated as I noted in this post, but I agree that I prefer the approach of doing better going forward rather than trying to retcon past writing and try to claim that there is representation when there clearly isn’t.

      I do understand where you are coming from with regard to why he chose the younger age group for the Hunters, and from that perspective I totally understand it — they would feel otherwise out of place in a children’s story, and the narrative entirely relies on the Hunters existing as they are, but I cannot deny that I struggle with it just because it clashes so much with the ways in which I have personally interpreted the goddess from sources external to this work. I agree that a fanfiction which explored the ways in which the narrative changes in a world where the Artemis and her Hunters are not portrayed as children could be very interesting, and I would like to see it.

      I’m glad that you are enjoying my perspective as I make my way through the books! It’s tricky reading kids books as an adult because I have to remember that on the one hand they are not for me so I cannot hold them to the same standard as my own adult reading but on the other hand I want to protect all these children at all costs and am extraordinarily distressed that they have the weight of the world on their shoulders. One of the reasons I like Percy Jackson so much is that so far even with that weight of the world on his shoulders Percy is still given a lot of room to be the youth that he is, though I am getting the feeling that as these books progress we are getting to the point where a lot of that feeling of childhood is going to slip away.

      I do encourage a re-read because the adult gaze does give a whole new perspective. I’m calling this a read-through not a re-read because the first time I read PJO I was about 15 or so, and while I more or less remembered the first book that was mostly because I had also seen the movie. I barely remembered the second book, and only elements of the third. I think I read the fourth and fifth because I remember random scenes that weren’t in the first three and I already owned all five before I started this project, but I don’t remember the big picture, or even the clear details and anything about how they fit together, just bits and pieces. I’m excited to see how it all comes together because I remember not liking it the first time, but going through it now I really can’t figure out why except that I was a moody contrarian hipster of a teenager who didn’t want to like the thing everyone else liked. As far as I know these are the same texts now as they were ten years ago when I tried reading them as a highschooler, so it’s me that changed, not the books.

      Reply

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