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 aggregating 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.
“Sleeps With Monsters: There’s A Counter In My Head” by Liz Bourke for Tor.com
It counts incidences where things follow a trend, and where they diverge. It recognises patterns. Dead women. Sexual objects. Motivating objects. Objectified. Tragic queerness. Queerness-as-a-phase. Women sidelined. Elided. Present but only significant for how they relate to a white able-bodied cisgender man.
It counts whose story gets to be told, and by whom.
It counts opportunities to include people.
And opportunities to include people NOT TAKEN.
“on tragic queerness in sff” tweets by Foz Meadows
Moar from the Lightspeed POCs Destroy SFF (now Horror!) Kickstarter
“The New Frontier Is the Old Frontier” by Tamara Brooks
We do this because there is a core question that eats at us, one that hasn’t changed from childhood: If we can imagine long-term space travel and rifts in time and androids that can have human emotions and beings who can alter reality with the snap of their fingers, why is science fiction having such a hard time reflecting the diversity of the world—current or future?
“In the Middle” by M.C.A. Hogarth
The science fiction and fantasy of my youth was a very black-and-white sort of genre. Like society, it didn’t know what to do with someone in the middle, with one foot in one culture and one foot in another. It taught me the virtues of individuality, but not the virtues of community. It understood the alien and the human, but not the halfbreed. What I read growing up taught me how to survive, but not how to thrive.
“An Army of Claudia Kishis” by Sarah Kuhn
And Claudia was revolutionary in a way I didn’t even comprehend at the time: Japanese-American, artistic, bad at school, temperamental, always dressed outrageously, and often reading a Nancy Drew mystery. She didn’t just reject model minority stereotypes—she stomped them into the ground, usually with some kind of bedazzled high-top sneaker. Plus, she was definitely centered, in that she had entire books in the series named after her (and as early on as Book #2, Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls).
Claudia was my protagonist spark, I realized, and it’s characters like her that I want to bring into and see more of in SF/F.
“The Biggest Tent of All” by S.B. Divya
Science fiction is where we break new ground. This is where we push the boundaries of what is possible, stretch our imaginations to their limits. This is not a genre that belongs to any one subset of human beings. Let’s not forget our roots. Let’s not forget that even today, certain elements of the world look askance at our favorite books and movies. We don’t need petty in-fighting. Our tent is the multiverse, and it’s big enough for everyone.
“Recounting in Rainbow” by Shveta Thakrar
But trying to get other writers and editors to take that seriously hasn’t been as easy as I’d hoped. How do I successfully retell a narrative when my target readership (the North American market) isn’t familiar with the original? How do I avoid being told “your names are too hard”? How do I dismantle the bias-dripping assumption that “your brown protagonist doesn’t have universal appeal”?