Over on Tor.com I collated the stories, novels, and authors suggested in my ABW and FeministSF posts on mindblowing SF by women and POC. The list is quite long but is far from exhaustive. If you want to add more, do! Or just co-sign.
Or so says Claire Light:
…how do you — not “become a good editor” but — change the way you do business so that your editing becomes more than an exercise in futility? Here are some steps:
- Go out an read diverse stuff. This is not hard. There is google. Go to google and look up “African American fiction anthology,” “Asian American fiction anthology,” “New Women Writers,” “LGBT Fiction” etc. Check these books out of the library. Read them. Then pick the two or three writers whose stories you liked the most AND WHOSE STORIES YOU HATED THE MOST, and read a book each by them. Look them up on wikipedia and find out who their influences and mentors were and read a book each by them. Etc.
- Go to Wiscon, Diversicon, Gaylaxicon, whatever, and talk to people who don’t look or talk like you. Ask them what they’re reading and what they think you should be reading (the answer to these two questions will usually be different.) Take notes. Then GO READ some of what they told you to read.
- Send your calls for submissions out to all the people of color you know and ask them to forward it. Follow up with them a week later and ask them where they sent/posted it. Sign up for those lists/groups and follow up on those lists/groups a week later with a personal invitation from the editor to EVERYONE ON THE LIST to submit work. Also go here and send calls for subs to these folks and follow up. ALWAYS FOLLOW UP!
- If you are a real editor, then you live in a real city with real readings. Go to them. Ask around for the POC/LGBT/Women’s/whatever readings and attend them. They will be mostly boring or painful. That’s how it is. You have to dig for gold. Keep going. Every time you go, talk to two people you don’t know, especially if they look like they’re in charge or if they know a lot of people. Ask them to recommend other readings in the city you should see. Carry cards and call for subs fliers with you. EVERY SINGLE TIME you see writer you think is remotely good, hand them a flier. In fact, hand them to writers you don’t think are that good either, and ask them to pass it around. Do this in every city you go to.
- Keep doing this. This is not a remedial course that will eventually finish, after which, you will now be diversified. This now how you do your job. Keep doing your job.
If anyone was looking for a primer on this subject, they would do well to read the whole post.
Yesterday at Tor.com I nattered on about what it takes to create better magazines. Was at work when it went up, so I didn’t get a chance to post about it. The conversation in comments is actually interesting, though there does seem to be one person determined to make me out as a person who hates white people! Or something.
Also, Mike Ashley STILL hasn’t answered my open letter! Sadness.
Though you have taken time to give a poor explanation of why there are no women in your anthology, I have yet to see you give any explanation as to why there are no writers of color in it, either. If you could please kindly provide this answer, as many of us would like to know, I would be grateful.
All the best,
Or: why the Male Only Table of Contents issue is about both Gender and Race
So over on Marguerite’s blog editor Mike Ashley of the Mammoth Book of White Men Fail Mindbowing SF explains that the stories he was looking for, those that blew his mind with science, aren’t usually written by women, and therefore that’s why he couldn’t find any to include. Women are writing about people, you see, not necessarily science. Whatever. But, as I pointed out there, even if this was a valid excuse for an all-male TOC, that does not explain the lack of POC. A white male friend then pinged me, privately, to say: but isn’t that confusing the issue? Are you criticising him for having only men or no POC? And the answer is: both. And, not surprisingly, the two issues are intertwined.
To wit: when anthologies like this hit the Internets and we look at the TOC it’s very easy to notice that there are no women. It is therefore very easy to comment on and get angry about this fact. It is also easy for editors to come along and address only this exclusion, usually by saying “I didn’t pay attention to the bylines” and “women don’t write the kind of stories I was looking for” or “I don’t want to include them just as tokens”. Because at that point editors can pass it off as taste, and not even one based on gender, but on types of fiction.
When one notices that these anthologies also don’t include any writers of color, either male or female, that complicates the issue, doesn’t it? It’s no longer just about whether men write these kinds of stories and women don’t. Because men of color write science fiction, too. Are we then going to even begin to say that they write more about people and not about science? Of course not. Stupid people are more likely to whip out, “But their stories are about race and only black people care about race!” Those people are wrong on both counts.
The same mindset is at work in both cases. It’s not “women/POC don’t write the kind of stories I was looking for,” it’s: I only like/read/understand/connect to/care for stories about white, male concerns.
That is a problem. Because SF, be it mammoth or mindblowing or sciencey, is not just about white, male concerns. And any anthology of SF or fantasy or horror that essentially posits the white male concerns as representative, normal, baseline, or default is an anthology made of fail. Because that is not what the genre is right now. Maybe 20 years ago. Hell, maybe 10 years ago. But not now. Not in the future.
As I said at Readercon, the future of this genre is women, people of color, people of different classes, people outside of the default American culture, people outside of America, period. When people ignore or suppress or marginalize this truth, be it intentionally or through laziness of mind, as appears to be the case here, you are In The Wrong in every way imaginable.
Did Paul Di Filippo just compare women and minorities to vegetables? I think he just did. (You’ll have to scroll.)