Tag Archives: science fiction

This is what we believe

I’m putting together a teaching portfolio – whee, fun – and I’m going through whatever I can stick in there to make me look attractive. I’m including this essay I wrote for The Sociological Cinema (amazing resource) and I had forgotten most of it – and the last couple of paragraphs are still poignant for me. As I’m thinking more and more about why I write and what I really want to get out of it and why I think it’s important, I’m seeing more and more ways in which those things connect to the rest of what I do.

Writing is teaching and writing is learning. It’s a toolkit and the tools are incredibly versatile. We ignore this to our detriment.

Fiction in general – and speculative fiction in particular – is not merely escapism. It’s conceptual voyaging. It’s pushing beyond what we know into what we can grow to understand. Myths and legends are all-too-often dismissed as untrue; what this attitude fails to recognize is that the deepest, most foundational stories are persistent precisely because the best of them are vectors for the most profound elements of who we are, of how we understand ourselves to be, of where we imagine we might go. These things may be harmful, they may reproduce things that we find undesirable, but we need to understand them on their own terms before we can act.

In my course, I characterize most forms of social inequality to be based on myth – on origin stories. We’re better than these other people. This thing is bad. This is what it means to live a good life. This is what justice looks like. And when we find the worlds these myths create to be undesirable, we depend on the ability to imagine the alternatives to work toward those alternatives.

Sometimes understanding these alternatives involves spaceships and robots. Or it can. And sometimes it’s better when it does.

Screw MFAs; we need to tell richer stories.

by Kendra Phillips

badass image by Kendra Phillips

Rahul Kanakia has written an awesome post over on his blog about the tyranny of privilege inherent in the creative writing industry, especially the bits of it centered in academia. Go read that first. I’ll wait.

Back? Great. There isn’t much that I can materially add to this besides a huge PREACH but I like to talk about things that bother me, so allow me to go into some detail regarding why this bothers me so much. It’s not just that it’s obnoxious, all this whining about how hard being a creative type is, and it’s not just that I’ll probably never get a creative writing job in academia since all my published work is lowly genre fiction ( a. why would I even want to be around creative writing people anyway given that I’ve actually met some, and b. I’m also already in academia and I’m starting to keep an eye open for exit strategies). It’s not just that it’s monstrously unfair, this system that privileges a certain way of being a Writer that certain demographics find waaaaaaaay easier to adopt than others.

It’s that it results in a literary culture that is massively impoverished.

The stories we tell describe us as a people, as a collection of people, as a collection of cultures and beliefs and identities. But as a society we’re persistently bound to hierarchy, to systems of power and privilege that benefit some at the enormous expense of others. That means that our stories are bound to the same – the stories of some are privileged and the stories of others are lost in the shuffle. Stories by poorer people, by less formally educated people, by women and People of Color and queer people of all kinds, by people with disabilities and people who are neuroatypical and anyone who exists on the margins. Those stories, if they’re told at all, reach few. Those creative voices aren’t heard. Still.

And our genres are hierarchically valued. There’s literary fiction – inherently worthwhile, true, beautiful, valuable, possessing tremendous cultural capital. It’s a great thing to be seen to be a reader of literary fiction; it’s an even better thing to be a writer of literary fiction and get to whine about how hard it is. Genre fiction is low, unrefined, and the territory of the proles.

Those of us in SF&F know that it’s had its share of major problems with inclusivity. Even now we’re struggling to deal with the under-representation of anyone who isn’t white/straight/cisgendered/male, and the genre’s environment is still often hostile to people at the intersections of marginalized identities. But romance, which often seems to have it even worse than SF&F in terms of general disparagement, is overwhelmingly written and consumed by women and extremely popular, two things that don’t work in its favor.

And horror? How can horror writers ever produce great fiction?

So genre is frequently locked out of the academy. But again, this isn’t even just about genre, but about who can afford the luxury of being heard, of doing what it takes to be heard. If MFAs are a requirement in the academy’s gateways into the creative writing industry, that has some very problematic implications, as Rahul points out:

[T]he fact that MFAs are used as such a gatekeeper in the literary world adds several major biases into the whole pool of literary writers. It excludes all kinds of people can’t really afford to leave their lives for two years to get even a very well-funded MFA: people who have kids, people who have careers, people who discover writing late in life, people with disabilities.

Those people all have stories that deserve to be told. That need to be told.

This isn’t just about writing, even. This is a problem in any academic field, in any discipline, and it’s been a problem since the beginning of those disciplines: Who is producing our knowledge? What assumptions are they operating on? What standpoint are they working from? My field is sociology; what use is our research on race and class and gender and identity if the people doing that research don’t come from a multiplicity of lived experiences? How can we work to overturn power structures if our own institutional structure maintains the status quo of social power?

But this is about stories.

I love stories because they’re fun, because they’re escapist, because they’re beautiful, because  they’re joyful even when they’re crushingly sad, because they give me glimpses of what might be, because they teach me about who I am, because they teach me about who others are, because they have the potential to be uniquely revolutionary.

Stories change things.

But if stories are going to change anything, they need to be vital. They need to be alive. They need infusions of new blood and new knowledge and new ways of producing that knowledge. I don’t see how that’s likely in the world Rahul is describing. When you’re dealing with a system of gatekeeping that produces the same kinds of work from the same kinds of people over and over, then you have a literary world that’s impoverished. You won’t find the truly interesting things there. The people doing the interesting things are, as usual, on the margins, but they don’t get to complain about how hard the Life of a Writer is. There’s no romance in what they’re doing. And if they’re genre writers, even successful ones, no cushy academic job for them, unless – like me – they’re privileged enough to get into the academy another way (and cushy jobs ain’t looking too good there anyway at the moment).

So no, white middle class MFA student – with whom I share at least two things in common – my sympathy is not with you. And I think maybe you need to step aside and let someone else’s story get told.

Especially if that story is about cyborg dragons in love.

(Please allow a plug for a couple of antidotes to this kind of thing: We See a Different Frontier, a collection of post-colonial spec-fic that both I and Rahul have stories in – his is amazing – and the forthcoming Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History. I also have a story in that but that’s not why you should check it out. Look at that ToC. Look at it.)

LINE AND ORBIT ~*~*paperback*~*~ giveaway!

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This time next month, the trade paperback edition of Line and Orbit will be available to purchase. Isn’t that exciting? But wait!! YOU DON’T NECESSARILY HAVE TO PAY FOR YOUR OWN COPY. Because I’m giving one away, you see (one of those pictured up there, oh they are so pretty). And even BETTER: it will be signed by me and my lovely co-author.

Want to enter? Simply fill out this handy form. I promise to guard with my very life, and completely forget, via extensive sessions of hypnosis, all of your personal information as soon as the contest is over. At midnight on February 4th, the contest will end, and I will select one lucky person.

ENTER HERE

A reading of “A Heap of Broken Images”

I recorded this a while ago but never did anything with it, so – Happy New Year – here is me reading my short story “A Heap of Broken Images”, for those of you who like your fiction audible. Hope you enjoy.

So hey let’s talk about romance for a sec

Because I think it’s appropriate at this juncture.

Warning: This might be whiny, though I’m also trying to talk about what I see as a persistent and troubling issue in how genres are marketed and how Feelings in SF are seen by some. Skip if none of that sounds appealing.

A day or so on Tumblr I saw a post making the rounds wherein someone was begging for reqs for non-romance genre fiction that nevertheless had a romantic sub-plot (queer in nature). Like any good self-serving author I was tempted to jump in with HEY I HAVE THIS BOOK CALLED LINE AND ORBIT THAT FITS THE BILL MAYBE YOU MIGHT WANT TO CHECK IT OUT OKAY PEACE

I didn’t, partly because it seemed like it might be obnoxious, but also because Line and Orbit is a science fantasy/space opera novel that is both categorized and marketed as gay romance, and it would look like I was effing lying.

I find myself in this position a lot when it comes to trying to get more mainstream SF-crowd attention for this book, the position of feeling like I need to say LOOK IT’S NOT ACTUALLY ROMANCE DON’T GET SCARED WAIT WHERE ARE YOU GOING COME BACK. I hate the idea of saying that, partly because, while the romantic relationship between Adam Yuga and Lochlan d’Bideshi is not really the primary focus of the book, it is nevertheless very, very important, and it probably is fair to categorize it as SF romance. But I also hate saying it because it makes me feel like I’m complicit in the disparaging of romance as a genre, which – let’s face it – tends to be misogynist in a really gross way as well as being silly and baseless, especially coming from SF&F, a genre wherein no one should be putting on airs.

But either way, I do feel like – I could be completely wrong about this – I’m fighting a general probable reaction of “oh, romance, that just doesn’t sound like it’s for me.”

I also feel like I’m fighting a less general but nevertheless very existent reaction of EW LADYFEELINGS IN MY SF but you know what basically fuck those people. They aren’t my audience and I don’t want them. There’s plenty of stuff out there for them.

The thing is, I’ve read books recently that were every bit as heavy on the romance as Line and Orbit, but were marketed as SF, and I do feel like those books have an easier time of it in terms of attracting attention from that crowd. Which, duh, marketing counts for a lot and ends up meaning that certain things are on people’s radar and certain things just aren’t, and that’s mostly fine. I’m also aware that sometimes people just don’t like a book, and that’s fine too; I do not mean to suggest that I think that PEOPLE AREN’T READING MY THING BECAUSE SEXISM. But at the end of the day, I still feel like I’m in an uncomfortable authorial position brought about by relationships within genre that are intensely problematic and also unlikely to change anytime soon.

This is all to say: I wish lines between genres weren’t so damn robust sometimes. I wish it didn’t get really, really sexist. I wish I was less clumsy at promotion. I wish I had a million dollars and a pile of kittens.

But I do hope that writing these kinds of books might, in a tiny little way, help. There should be a place for romance in science fiction and fantasy (and also vice versa, because I also get the sense that a lot of romance readers – rightly – feel very unwelcome in SF and don’t tend to go there), and really I think the two are natural partners – it’s there already. There should be absolutely no shame in it. And people shouldn’t be afraid of writing it or talking about it or liking it or just checking it out sometimes.

2013: a Writerly Review

Two things happened recently that are very good.

First, Line and Orbit got a Top Pick in RT Book Reviews. The review is here, but is behind a paywall for the next couple of months. However, it includes words like:

[A] delightful romance with a brilliantly clever science fiction twist…A truly innovative story that will even reward after multiple reads.

Also, Lois Tilton has picked me as her “2013 new author of promise”, as well as selecting my story “Event Horizon” as one of her four standout pieces of the year from Strange Horizons.

Given those yay-worthy tidbits, it seems like a good time to review 2013, which was a pretty great year, all told.

  • Novels. I wrote four of these and most of a fifth. They are: Wordsinger, which is unpublished and is making the agent rounds; the first version of Fall and Rising (the sequel to Line and Orbit), which will probably never see the outside of my hard drive; Labyrinthian, which will hopefully get picked up for a 2014 release; Ravenfall (the sequel to Crowflight); and the fifth almost-complete one is the second version of Fall and Rising. I had two novels see publication, Line and Orbit and Crowflight. Line and Orbit earned me my first starred review in Publisher’s Weekly. Hopefully it won’t be the last. It also took silver in the Best Gay SF and bronze in the Best Gay Debut categories of the Rainbow Awards.
  • Short fiction. Seven stories published in all. Full list here.  Two of them – “Event Horizon” and “A Heap of Broken Images” – were given the status of “recommended” by Lois Tilton at Locus. “A Heap of Broken Images” was selected by Gardner Dozois for the 31st volume of The Year’s Best Science Fiction, my first and again hopefully not last appearance there. Other high points: I made my second appearances in Clarkesworld, Shimmer, and Strange Horizons. I’m probably most proud of “A Heap of Broken Images”, not only for the recognition it’s gotten but for the company it has in We See a Different Frontier, which is an amazing  anthology that I’m incredibly happy to have been featured in.
  • Coming up. The print edition of Line and Orbit will be out on February 4th, and I’ll be giving a signed copy away. Ravenfall will probably be out from Masque Books sometime this coming year, though nothing is finalized yet.  I have stories coming out in both Apex and Lightspeed, as well as a story in the anthology Long Hidden. Hopefully there will be much more on the way.
  • Goals. I hope to have Rookwar, the final book in the Casting the Bones trilogy, done in the next few months. I mean to write the final chapter of the story I and my co-author began in Line and Orbit. I don’t think Labyrinthian will get a sequel – I feel like I did all I want to with those characters – but there is another novel in the Line and Orbit universe that I want to write, probably concerning Ixchel’s past and her relationship with Adisa (ah, doomed love). I would really like to have an agent by this time next year. I have several short stories that I’m working on and of course I always want to be producing those. I love novels and I’m spending a lot of time on them these days but I will always need to write short stuff, I think.

So yeah, 2013 was pretty much awesome. If 2014 continues the trend, I’ll consider myself both happy and fortunate indeed.

Looking into the heart of light, the silence

Colonisation is violence, and there are many ways to carry out that violence. – Philip Gourevitch

It’s no small thing that I quote from Philip Gourevitch’s harrowing book We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families at the beginning of my story in We See a Different Frontier, “A Heap of Broken Images”. Read in a summer off from college, it’s a book that has stayed with me in all the years since. Some of it is naturally the sheer horror of the subject matter – wrenching and vivid without feeling prurient, the descriptions of the Rwandan genocide nevertheless slotted neatly into a blood-soaked part of me that has been there since I was very small. I think this is part of why I wrote the story that I did and part of why I continue to write the stories that I do – I’m fascinated by evil, and the evil that most fascinates me is not supernatural in origin but evil in all its everyday mundane banality, the fundamentally casual nature of an attempt to erase an entire people. Supernatural evil always seemed to me like a cop-out, a way to avoid the real problem.

So as a child I was fascinated by the Holocaust. I devoured books, though somehow I never had the strength for films; books were approachable and at the same time immensely more horrific, a kind of horror that I could soak in without the onslaught of images. And yet there were images too; in middle school I discovered Art Spiegelman’s Maus and Keiji Nakazawa’s Barefoot Gen, and my fascination with mass death expanded into the practice of warfare itself. These images were somehow a middle ground between film and prose – I could still use them to approach the truth, to go into dark places.

It was probably at this point that I began to intuit the second thing that has lingered with me long after finishing Gourevitch’s book: the inability to approach the truly evil, the desolate tyranny of silence that reigns when we run out of words – or can’t find them at all. We tell stories as a way to, in the words of Douglas Adams, “sidle up to the problem sideways when it’s not looking” but in the end it always sees us, and we look back, struck dumb.

It shouldn’t escape us, then: the violence inherent not only in silence but in words, not only in seeing but in being seen. Colonialism is an orgy of violence in every sense, violence physical, psychological, emotional, cultural, environmental. All colonialism is, to a greater or lesser extent, a kind of genocide in that the ultimate aim is to cripple or destroy an entire people; all too often throughout history it has been devastatingly effective. It’s a violence that is also fundamentally atemporal: as culture and history are erased, the past is destroyed, with the loss of the past, there is no sense to be made of the present, and without the past or the present the future becomes mutilated and distorted. It’s not enough to call these effects scars, because a scar only becomes a scar when it has healed – it would be more accurate to describe them as rips in the fabric of reality itself, bloody gashes through which something horrible creeps. It’s too simplistic to say that “violence begets violence” – violence is violence and violence devours everything. Violence erases meaning.

Years later, early in my graduate studies, I encountered Elaine Scarry’s The Body in Pain, another book that’s stayed with me. In the book’s first section, Scarry draws distinctions and connections between warfare and torture, and makes the point that nuclear war is where the lines become hopelessly blurred. Beginning with a singular devastating event, the effects of a nuclear strike don’t end with the fallout; as I had already learned from Nakazawa, the effects go on and on for years, lingering in cells and psyches, destroying lives long after the conflict itself is over. Scarry talks as if nuclear war was unique in this respect.

But I think we know it’s not.

How do we talk about this? Where do we find the words?

What I was trying to do in “A Heap of Broken Images” was not to approach the unapproachable but instead to capture the impossibility of approach. My main character, Shairoven, struggles to make sense of the massacre perpetrated on her people by human colonists, and she does do within the context of a culture that makes this nearly impossible – literally without words to describe the feelings of rage and loss that accompany such an atrocity, there is nothing to say about it. The humans themselves certainly don’t help matters, with their empty gestures and their clumsy attempts at owning what they’ve done while declaring that it’s all right now and clearly it will never happen again. They study the killing as if it were something separate from themselves, as if they were impartial and unconnected observers.

One of the story’s early scenes is nearly lifted wholesale from what was, for me, one of the most devastating images from Gourevitch’s book, where the bones of the dead are viewed where they’ve fallen in a classroom, scattered and clean and strangely lovely:

The dead at Nyarubuye were, I’m afraid, beautiful. There was no getting around it. The skeleton is a beautiful thing. The randomness of the fallen forms, the strange tranquility of their rude exposure, the skull here, the arm bent in some uninterpretable gesture there – these things were beautiful, and their beauty only added to the affront of the place. I couldn’t settle on any meaningful response: revulsion, alarm, sorrow, grief, shame, incomprehension, sure, but nothing truly meaningful. I just looked, and I took photographs, because I wondered whether I could really see what I was seeing while I saw it, and I also wanted an excuse to look a bit more closely.

We went through the first room and out the far side. There was another room and another and another and another. They were all full of bodies, and more bodies were scattered in the grass, which was thick and wonderfully green. Standing outside, I heard a crunch. The old Canadian colonel stumbled in front of me, and I saw, though he did not notice, that his foot had rolled on a skull and broken it. For the first time at Nyarubuye my feelings focused, and what I felt was a small but keen anger at this man. Then I heard another crunch, and felt a vibration underfoot. I had stepped on one, too.

In “A Heap of Broken Images”, what makes confronting the massacre so difficult for us as humans is that we face our own complicity, and our first and strongest instinct is to escape self-incrimination. But there are the bones and there are the broken skulls, and we can’t help but look. And here am I, a white Westerner, existing in the context of a society wherein I have benefited indirectly but greatly from colonialism as an ongoing historical process, as real violence done to real people who I will never meet. So I consider the humans in my story and I think that maybe they shouldn’t say anything at all. Maybe their task – and it’s the most difficult task in many ways, not that they deserve sympathy – is to listen.

And here is where I perceive a flaw in the story: Shairoven and her people don’t speak about the massacre because they lack the words, but the words were not taken away from them by the colonizers; they never had them to begin with. I am sitting here in a world in which my people have stolen words, violated words, erased words, and left our victims to scream into the tyranny of that silence, unheard.

It is possible to use stories to break that silence. They might be one of the few things that can.

Sunday Linkdump: Life is easier when one of us is dead

The Orbital Antares/Cygnus launching at Wallops Island on Sept.18. Photo by husband. Click image for full set.

It’s baaaaaaaaaaack.

  • “The New York Times, if Every Word Was Removed Except ‘Cyber'”. It used to be about sex. Now it’s about war.
  • “Why Today’s Inventors Need to Read More Science Fiction”. Actually, how about why everyone needs to read more science fiction?

    On the deepest levels, your consciousness doesn’t make a distinction between experiences you’ve had and the experiences of characters in stories you’ve heard. This is why fiction is so powerful and why human beings seem to need to tell, collect, and understand stories. Fiction allows you to live more lives in the space-time of one lifetime than you would normally be able to. It allows you to benefit from the outcome of simulations without being exposed to the dangers or time constraints that you would be forced to undergo if you had to live every experience that informs your reality by yourself. In a post-industrial society of tool using primates, like ours, technology is one of the defining factors, and so science fiction, with its tendency to emphasize technology, is a way of running exponentially iterative design processes to conceive and create new technologies.

  • So there was that time when an accident with a B-52 almost threw us into a nuclear conflict by accident and it turns out that “almost” is really goddamn almost.
  • “The Liquid Self”. Ephemeral social media has the potential to liberate us from the more static selves imposed by traditional social media profiles.

    Dominate social media has thus far taken a stand, a radical one in my opinion, for a version of identity that is highly categorized and omnipresent, one that forces an ideal of a singular, stable identity that we will continuously have to confront. It is a philosophy that doesn’t capture the real messiness and fluidity of the self, fails to celebrate growth, and is particularly bad for those most socially-vulnerable. I wonder how we can build social media that doesn’t always intensify our own relationship to ourselves by way of identity boxes. I think temporary social media will provide new ways of understanding the social media profile, one that isn’t comprised of life hacked into frozen, quantifiable pieces but instead something more fluid, changing, and alive.

  • Don’t do these things with professors. Just don’t. Don’t ever.
  • Writing cultures outside your own in SFF. Which can be tricky. So tread carefully.

    [N]ot discouraging you from writing what you want to write (I’d be the last one in a position to do so!); but it’s good to ask yourself why you’re writing what you’re writing; to be aware of the consequences; and to promote writings by people from the actual culture in addition to your own—because they have voices of their own, but more trouble getting heard.

  • “Fuck You. I’m Gen Y, and I Don’t Feel Special or Entitled, Just Poor”.

    You have no idea about student debt, underemployment, life-long renting. “Stop feeling special” is some shitty advice. I don’t feel special or entitled, just poor. The only thing that makes me special is I have more ballooning debt than you.

  • Digital libraries and the sensory experience of particular kinds of space.

    Those nostalgic for books with paper and bindings frequently reference the familiar musty smell of a book, the weight of the text in somatictheir hands, the sound of flipping pages. A traditional library, similarly, has a quite distinct sensory profile. Scents of Freshly vacuumed carpets mix with slowly disintegrating paper and the hushed sounds buzzing fluorescent bulbs. The lightly dusted, thickly bound books align row after row, adorned with laminated white stickers with small black letters and numbers, guiding readers to textual treasures organized by genre, topic, author, and title. These sensory stimuli may evoke calm, excitement, comfort, all of these things together. Indeed, being in a library has a feel. To fear the loss of this somatic experience, this “feel” is a legitimate concern. With a new kind of library, and a new medium for text, a particular sensory experience will, in time, be lost forever.

  • The boundaries between fandom and creators have always been weird and are getting weirder in lots of weird ways that people don’t quite understand and everything is just kind of really weird. And surprise, surprise, some people are being serious goddamn jerks about the weirdness.

    A reader disliking a book or having a problem with aspects of it and saying so in public is not bullying. A columnist talking about the potential pitfalls of authors coming into reader conversations and citing an example is not bullying. Concern for the degree of coziness that some blogs have with the industry is also not bullying. And it’s also not bullying to object to authors participating in discussions of their work when they haven’t been specifically invited to do so.

    It’s also not silencing or attacking and it absolutely is not justification for namecalling on social media. Some of that namecalling has included gendered insults and sexual assault threats. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by this development and yet I am.

I killed my baby with a bullet, one last shot right into her head
And I’m falling falling falling down

We See a Different Frontier – win a free copy!

WSADF-cover-3

Now that We See a Different Frontier has been released – and is getting some fantastic critical response, some of which you can read about here, as well as Aliette de Bodard’s mini review here – it seems to me that it might be a good idea to give a free copy of it away to you lovely people. So enter below and in two weeks (September 18) I’ll select one person at random to receive a copy of the ebook in their choice of formats.

And of course, if you do win the book, we definitely appreciate reviews on it on Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, etc. This is truly a fantastic anthology – we need to get the word out that it exists, in addition to being awesome. ToC is below.

  • Preface by Aliette de Bodard
  • Introduction by Fabio Fernandes
  • The Arrangement of Their Parts, Shweta Narayan
  • Pancho Villa’s Flying Circus, Ernest Hogan
  • Them Ships, Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • Old Domes, J.Y. Yang
  • A Bridge of Words, Dinesh Rao
  • The Gambiarra Effect, Fabio Fernandes *
  • Droplet, Rahul Kanakia
  • Lotus, Joyce Chng
  • Dark Continents, Lavie Tidhar
  • A Heap of Broken Images, Sunny Moraine
  • Fleet, Sandra McDonald
  • Remembering Turinam, N.A. Ratnayake
  • Vector, Benjanun Sriduangkaew
  • I Stole the D.C.’s Eyeglass, Sofia Samatar
  • Forests of the Night, Gabriel Murray
  • What Really Happened in Ficandula, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz
  • Critical afterword by Ekaterina Sedia

We See a Different Frontier – on sale now!

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Basically what the post subject line says: We See a Different Frontier, the anthology of post-colonial SF that I’m lucky enough to be a part of, is now available in ebook and paperback formats.

So far the book has gotten great buzz from critics. Publisher’s Weekly (which calls my story “haunting”):

Fernandes and al-Ayad, editors of webzine The Future Fire, have compiled an innovative and trenchant anthology of 16 postcolonial speculative fiction stories…all the stories, as Aliette de Bodard says in the incisive preface, center on the voices “of those whom others would make into aliens and blithely ignore or conquer or enlighten.” This is not just an interesting and entertaining collection, but also a necessary, convincing critique of the colonialist tropes that mark many of speculative fiction’s genre conventions.

Locus (which gave my story a “Recommended”):

[T]he anthology does not simply present a series of dreary, bitter polemics. There’s variety here, and quite a few of the stories are entertaining, a lot of fun – particularly for readers who enjoy revenge tales. There is also anger and tragedy, and looks back into history that may open the eyes of some Western readers.

It really is an awesome anthology. I also agree with PW that it’s a necessary one, especially given the conversations that are going on in the SFnal world right now. Check it out.

And an excerpt of my story “A Heap of Broken Images” is under the cut.

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