When you think of Fantasy, what elements immediately spring to mind? Perhaps a vaguely medieval, pre-industrial setting, for starters-- thatched cottages, castles, a feudal system, and so on. A young, questing hero, or maybe a team of adventurers wielding longswords and magic. An evil witch or wizard. For variety, let's toss in a few noble Fae folk, a stolid dwarf, and a troublesome halfling or two. And it's not a proper fantasy without some fabulous beasts, right? How about a fire-breathing dragon? Classic... why is that, though?
Now, before you get too upset at me for reducing all fantasy fiction to a stereotype, I do have a point. Potentially, the fantasy genre has a near-limitless scope-- it's not bounded by science or reality, only by the author's imagination. Despite that latitude, what fan hasn't read a dozen books containing most of the elements I listed above? My concern is that the American fantasy landscape today is suffering from a sad lack of diversity.