It’s that time again: that time every week where I round up links to articles written by marginalized people pushing back against oppression in publishing. I’m aggregated as many marginalized voices as possible from as many vectors as possible, and the more intersectional the better. As always if you’ve read something I missed please link it in the comments.
About that Clarion Tweet
Ann Leckie, Blog Post (1/19/2016)
Now, Gaiman has no obligation to worry about the emotional states of every new or struggling writer. He can quite easily ignore a day’s cloudburst on twitter. But a lot of struggling or aspiring writers? Can’t ignore him as easily. And by speaking, they send a message to other, silent folks on the sidelines–don’t let this stop you, do your best to put this tweet in your Insignificant bin, keep writing.
The point of this post– if it were to have a point, and not merely be a rambling collection of thoughts– is not that workshops are necessary to become a serious writer. The point is that for people who don’t have easy access to a support system, it feels like it’s necessary in order to break into the global SFF scene. And it shouldn’t be.
And science fiction and fantasy is incredibly expensive.
Because it’s expensive, it’s elitist.
It directly selects against those on low incomes. It directly selects against those living in countries with comparatively weak currencies. It indirectly selects against those groups who tend to have low incomes, or who live in such countries.
Personal Essays from POCs Destroy SFF Kickstarter
“Pushing Back Against The Wall” by Aliette De Bodard
I get up in the morning, and the same things keep happening with clockwork regularity. I see people who don’t understand how hurtful it is for minorities that writers take viscerally painful subjects and mine them for shiny elements that can be put into a story—how gut-wrenching it is when someone takes your wars and your oppression and makes them into bowdlerised theme parks that readers can dip into for a moment’s entertainment—when this watering-down becomes a lauded, awards-garlanded reference, and everything else is inauthentic, or unnecessarily grim, or too political by comparison to it.
I don’t remember the first book I grabbed. Probably Dune. The Bene Gesserit fascinated me. I—now a little eight-year-old black boy on the South Side of Chicago—wanted to be one of them. When my sister came home from college, I told her. We talked science fiction for days. Even today, we still do.
Science fiction is often futuristic but, to me, it’s kind of the opposite. To me, it’s about addressing the past. It is about looking at the present and thinking, “How did it come to this?” It is about looking at the page and thinking, “Where will it go from here?”
No. Miniscule increments aren’t enough. I demand more diversity in the genre I love most. I demand that more POC who write science fiction are given the opportunity to expose the wider world to their genius. I demand that science fiction incorporate more substantive characters of color. I demand these things because I don’t want my children and future grandchildren to ever feel like mere spectators to the genre I have taught them to love.
Give me characters that represent me, when you can, but also give me characters that are completely, mind-openingly other. Other does not mean just those that are not me, but also those that are not the fingernail-thin sliver of humanity depicted in the vast majority of mass culture.
“Asians are aliens and aliens are Asians,” he said, and it was like I felt a light switch flipping on inside my brain, whole seemingly unrelated puzzle pieces from my life snapping neatly into one big picture.