Mindblowing science fiction by women & people of colour
Jess McCabe // 25 August 2009
Check out this fantastic list of “mindblowing” science fiction by women & people of colour, pulled together by The Angry Black Woman, with help from readers at her own blog, Alas, A Blog, and Feminist SF: The Blog.
This list is a response to a book called the Mammoth Book of Mindblowing Science Fiction, which managed to put together a collection which put across the distinct impression that only white men have written “mindblowing” scifi, by failing to include any women, or any people of colour.
When we’re confronted by people who claim that there just aren’t very many outstanding women or POC writers in the field, we can point to this and say: bullshit, bucko. Try again.
We have to be responsible for keeping track of and highlighting and celebrating and giving notice to our own and recording the accomplishments of our best. Because no one else is going to do it for us. If they’re not ignoring, they’re actively suppressing. Neither of which is acceptable.
The full list is up at Tor.com. Authors on the list I’d also particularly recommend would be Octavia Butler (see here for a mini-review of Lilith’s Brood), Ursula Le Guin, Vandana Singh (see here for a review of one of her collections) – I liked that Ali Smith (one of her collections is reviewed here) was on the list too, she’s definitely one of my favourites but I wouldn’t generally class her in science fiction/speculative fiction).
One of the books on the list, you’ll be unsurprised to learn, is Margaret Atwood’s classic, The Handmaid’s Tale – via HarpyMarx, Atwood is staging a narration of her latest novel, “the story of God’s Gardeners, a religion devoted to preserving all species, which has long predicted the Waterless Flood, a global pandemic obliterating most human life”.
And, while we’re on the subject of fiction, although it’s about characters not authors, I loved this quote from a guest post by Neesha Meminger at Racialicious, which is in response to Justine Larbalestier’s piece on why the protagonists in her young-adult books aren’t white:
I create worlds in my books where people of color and women are at the center—not at the margins where we are habitually cast in the everyday world. This is a conscious decision. It is a political choice. Just as writing a book, film, or television series peopled ONLY with white folks is a political act, be it conscious or not. On white authors writing characters of color: because the power imbalance leans so heavily to one side over the other, white authors absolutely must support the efforts of authors of color. White authors absolutely must people their stories with characters of color to reflect a reality they often have the privilege of ignoring, if they so choose.